Firstly, let me say, great choice! The Hobbit is a wonderful story and all the different versions of The Hobbit audiobook are a lot of fun. But it can be a bit confusing that there are so many available.
Let me tell you the difference between the three most noteworthy The Hobbit audiobook versions so you can pick the one you will enjoy the most!
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of 13 dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on a journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon….
The prelude to The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most influential books of the 20th century.
Andy Serkis who voiced Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies just recorded a brand-new version of The Hobbit audiobook and the Lord of the Rings series.
This one is definitely a good choice! Andy Serkis is a fantastic voice actor and you might even recognize some of the characters if you have watched the movies.
This is an unabridged version, meaning this The Hobbit audiobook gives back the entire original book by J.R.R. Tolkien word for word. And since this is the most recent recording, you can be sure to get a very high-quality audio production.
If you are not a regular Lovely Audiobooks reader, you might not know that Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s library subscription, includes audiobooks as well. And among thousands of others, it also includes The Hobbit audiobook, read by Rob Inglis!
This version is my personal favorite. I love Rob Inglis’ warm voice and he even sings all the hobbit songs! If you want to feel like Gandalf sits next to you and tells you this epic story, this is The Hobbit audiobook you should get! And it is a nice bonus that Kindle Unlimited subscribers can listen to it for free. So if you have a subscription you can simply borrow the book with narration and listen to it in the Audible app without having to spend an Audible credit.
The Hobbit Audiobook free with Kindle Unlimited is also unabridged, like the version by Andy Serkis. You get the full experience of the original book!
By the way, The Fellowship of the Ring read by Rob Inglis is also free with Kindle Unlimited!
Related article: The Best Fantasy Audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited
This full-cast production of The Hobbit is an abridged version, meaning the original story was shortened and changed to make it more suitable to be read as a radio play by different voice actors.
Radio plays are a lot of fun! If you are new to audiobooks and find it difficult to stay focused, this might work particularly well for you. It’s like listening to a movie. Since Bilbo Baggins and his friends all have different voices, your mind is more likely to stay engaged.
The audio play is less than 4 hours long compared to the over 10 hours of playtime of the previous two unabridged versions. If you have read The Hobbit in the past, this is a fun way to revisit the story. But if you want to experience the original book as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote it, I recommend you get an unabridged version and not this one.
I really enjoy BBC radio plays and they are a great way to revisit a story you have read before or to get started with audiobooks. But if you want to experience The Hobbit book properly, maybe before or after watching the movie, I recommend that you get an unabridged audiobook. You could listen to a sample of the Audible book to see which voice you like better, Andy Serkis or Rob Inglis. But if you have Kindle Unlimited or have considered subscribing, I think you shouldn’t pass up on the chance to get The Hobbit audiobook free. Especially since Rob Inglis’ narration is so lovely!