Oh, Spotify. It grants us free access to our favorite music and podcasts, but sometimes finding the stuff we want can be tricky. For example, where are the best audiobooks on Spotify?
Because audiobooks don’t have their own genre on Spotify, finding one can feel like going to a garage sale and rummaging around, trying to find the books, and then, when you find a box of books, turning it upside down, trying to find one you like. In short, it’s a pain. But no worries! I’m here to tell you how (and where) to find free audiobooks on Spotify.
I’m going to do this in a couple of steps:
- First, I am going to tell you where to find audiobooks on Spotify.
- Then—because listening to an audiobook on Spotify is not as easy as, say, downloading an Audiobook from audible, or popping an old-school Book on Tape into your car stereo (I am old, guys)—I am going to explain how to actually listen to them.
- Then I’ll give you a few recommendations.
One last note before the tutorial begins: all of my screenshots are from the free desktop version of Spotify. Why? Well, because the free version of the Spotify app doesn’t let you choose and listen to specific tracks on your phone. Instead it shuffles the tracks on a playlist or album. This is okay with music, but utterly impossible when you want to listen to a book from start to finish. (I assume that if you’re looking for free audiobooks on Spotify, you’re also using the free version of the app.)
Okay. Let’s get started.
Where to find an audiobook on Spotify
Start with a basic search
I find that the best place to start searching for audiobooks is in the playlists. So go ahead and type “audiobooks” into the search bar on the top of your Spotify screen.
You’ll see right away, from the Top Result, that Spotify has its own Audiobooks playlist. It’s fine, but not terribly helpful if you have something specific in mind. It’s just kind of a big list of audiobooks. Chapter 1 from an unmarked Kafka book is thrown right in there with Alice in Wonderland.
So what I want you to do is scroll down the page, past the top result and past the “Songs” until you see “Artists” and “Albums” and “Playlists.” This is where the real search results are.
Check out the playlists
Let’s start with the playlists. Click “See All” to browse them.
There are a lot of audiobook playlists, many of which are maintained by individuals who have very specific tastes (Audiobooks in the Queen’s English, for example). These users have already gone through the trouble of curating audiobooks for you, so you may find stuff you like right there. If not, scroll though and find some that are similar what you’re looking for. See who posted them, or who the artist is. Click on the artist. Chances are, they will have more audiobooks on their own page.
Check out the artists
Audiobook “artists” on Spotify are a varied bunch.
Some audiobook narrators have artist pages. Some artists are simply sites that post a lot of audiobooks. And then there are actual author names used as artists—H.G. Wells, for example, or Virginia Woolf—the nice thing about artist pages for authors is that all of their audiobooks are listed on those pages, and also that other author pages are suggested in the sidebar. So, if you’re a fan of Jules Verne, Spotify might suggest that you also check out Arthur Conan Doyle.
This method is by no means foolproof. Not all your favorite authors have artist pages, or if they do, there are only a few books up. And sometimes, because these audiobooks are uploaded by individuals and not publishers, they’re not in English. I got excited to see Terry Pratchett listed as an artist, but all of his audiobooks were in German. As were Neil Gaiman’s.
Also, as with free ebooks, you will have to wade through a lot of public domain novels. Expect to see a metric buttload of H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft. But you’ll also find some unexpected treasure troves (see below for a couple suggestions).
How to listen to an audiobook on Spotify
Okay. So you’ve found a playlist you like, and an audiobook you like. But all the playlists pretty much list just the first chapter of every audiobook. How do you listen to a whole book?
Come with me. I will show you.
Find the audiobook you like. Then look to the right of the title. You will see three little dots.
Click on the dots. A menu will pop up. You want to find Go to Album. Click on that and it will take you to the full audiobook, which is technically an album on Spotify.
Then you can listen to the whole thing, in order!
Some good places to find Audiobooks on Spotify
In the course of researching this piece, I found some intriguing audiobook sources. Here are some of my favorites, but look around on your own, and you’re certain to find something that appeals to you.
Audiobooks: I really like the Audiobooks artist page, which maintains playlists of audiobooks by genre. And when I say genre, I mean everything. The playlists there range from nonfiction about wellness to new books to best sellers to children’s books. It also includes a short audio track, describing the process of finding and listening to full audiobooks, in case my explanation above made no sense.
Doctor Who: If you’re a Whovian, you are in luck! Doctor Who’s artist page has a several playlists of Doctor Who audiobooks.
DBS Audiobooks and Wordscape: Some profiles are sources for lots of classic audiobooks. Think Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and other old works. If you like classics, it’s definitely worth poking around on these two pages.
Various Authors: Various Authors is, hilariously, the name of an artist page. I’m recommending it because they release various collections of short stories from different genres, written by, well, various authors. So if you’ve just got a short amount of time, or you’re listening on the free mobile app and are stuck with shuffle, you can listen to a short story at a time.
Spotify’s Women’s History playlists: Last year, Spotify complied playlists of books, stories and poetry for Women’s History Month. Those are still there! Check them out!
Happy listening! And hit the comments if you have any other questions about audiobooks on Spotify!