9 of the Best Audiobook Subscription Services
There are so many audiobook subscription services out there that claim to do the exact same thing. It can be overwhelming to look for a service that best fits you and your lifestyle as well as your budget. That’s where we come in! I’ve assembled a list of the best audiobook subscription services and we’ve got the skinny on what makes these subscriptions unique (or lack of uniqueness), as well as some pros and cons of each.
So whether you are looking for a service that provides more than just one book a month or if you want to be able to purchase multiple, these services are also great for one-off purchases, as well as unlimited listening if the subscription allows. You’ll see some titles you recognize and some you may not!
Now, onto the best audiobook subscription services for all your audiobook needs.
Audible is known as one of the best audiobook subscription services for a reason. With a monthly subscription, you have access to an expansive collection of audiobooks available in two main membership types: Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus. Each month, users receive a credit that can be used to purchase audiobooks from Audible’s catalog. Additional books may be purchased by buying more credits. Audible can also be used without a subscription and purchased on a book-by-book basis.
You can learn more about Audible and get our take on the Audible service.
Pros: Large selection, exclusive content for members (Audible Originals), purchased titles are yours to keep even if you cancel your subscription, and credits can be kept for up to a year after accrual.
Cons: Pricier option, and if you still have unused credits when you cancel, those will be lost.
Price of subscription: Audible Plus offers access to select Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts for $7.95 per month (after a free 30-day trial). Audible Premium Plus is $14.95 (after a free 30-day trial) and includes one title per month from an extended selection that you get to keep.
Trial? 30-day free trial (Prime members can get two credits).
With a similar setup, users are given monthly credits that can be used to purchase an audiobook of choice. A recent addition to their subscription model includes monthly access to their VIP selection. Each month, there are around 150 books in different genres you can choose from to download for free in addition to your monthly credit. Note: VIP selections are not yours to keep and will be returned if you cancel. Similarly, extra books may be purchased throughout the month if you want another book.
What currently sets audiobooks.com apart from other services like Audible is the unlimited access to 72,000+ podcasts.
Pros: Purchased titles are yours to keep, also includes access to podcasts, the library is comparable to Audible
Cons: VIP books accessed with a subscription are returned (you must purchase with a credit to keep it).
Price of subscription: $14.95 monthly, which includes one credit and access to a VIP book from a curated selection.
Trial? 30-day free trial includes two books and a bonus VIP book.
Nonfiction lovers, unite! This subscription combines accessibility and efficiency to bring you an experience unlike others. Not only can you only find nonfiction titles such as educational, self-help, mindfulness, or business books, they are professionally summarized into 15-minute audiobooks for easy comprehension and digestion. You can also get a written summary of the book if you prefer to read it that way. Blinkist’s library includes 5,000+ bestselling titles and exclusive content insights from podcasts for members.
Pros: Unlimited listening for a flat rate, time-efficient for people who struggle to find time to read
Cons: Access to the books is only available with a subscription
Price of subscription: Blinkist does have a free basic plan which allows users to access one Blink (or summary) each day. But the efficiency of the 15-minute summaries often leaves you wanting more, which is where their paid tiers come in. For $15.99 per month, you can upgrade to a premium plan and have access to unlimited summaries. They also offer an option to pay for a year in advance, which is $99.99 – a 45% discount from a year’s total of monthly payments.
Trial? Seven-day free trial with the premium yearly subscription.
Instead of a credit system, BookBeat offers an all-you-can-listen type service with a flat flee and unlimited access to their library. In addition to audiobooks, the service also offers ebooks and the ability to download to your devices for offline reading. Note: BookBeat is backed by Bonnier, so the service is primarily available in Europe. Availability of titles can also differ per country as well.
Pros: Unlimited listening for a flat rate.
Cons: Smaller selection, could be limited by country.
Price of subscription: Depends on which country you live in. On average, users pay ~$13 for their monthly subscription.
Trial? Two weeks free access.
Think of Chirp as the best combination of a library and audiobook subscription. Like a library, Chirp has no membership fees and is budget-friendly, but as a subscription, titles are available immediately and are yours to keep. So where does the subscription part come in? Technically, it’s an email subscription. When you sign up for Chirp, you will fill out a survey that indicates an email digest of the best deals for you. You can also freely browse their website to find deals on books you didn’t receive alerts for.
Pros: Personalized emails with titles you may be interested in, great for finding deals, low prices, able to return for a refund.
Cons: Smaller library, but has most of the popular audiobook titles, currently only available in U.S. and Canada, deals are available for a limited time, books must be purchased on a desktop before they become available on the app.
Price of subscription: Emails are free to sign-up for and titles are purchased on a case-by-case basis.
Chirp is one of the best audiobook subscription services based on its free sign-up options. Read our full review Chirp’s service here.
A service from the parent company, Blackstone Audio, Downpour hosts a sizable library of 75,000 titles across a variety of genres. Also available through the service are CDs, MP3s, and digital rentals, which can also be purchased without a subscription. Uniquely, much of Downpour’s content is DRM (Digital Rights Management) free, which allows for usage across platforms or even able to be burned to a CD. People still do that, right?
Blackstone Audio is considered a major player in the audiobook industry, having been founded in 1987 with the sole purpose of providing books in the form of CDs and MP3s.
Pros: You may still access your library even if you cancel your subscription.
Cons: No free trial. Some books require two credits. There is only one tier of subscription, which doesn’t allow for flexibility for individual needs.
Price of subscription: Membership is $12.99/month for one credit. Additional credits may be purchased for an additional $12.99 per credit or you may use a combination with another form of payment.
Trial? None offered.
With over five million titles in their library, Kobo provides a cost-effective way to find e-books and a curated collection of audiobooks. Originally known only for ebooks and tablets, Kobo and parent company Rakuten shifted into the audiobook subscription game in 2017. Purchased titles are yours to keep even if you decide to cancel the service.
Pros: The guaranteed price of audiobook preorders, great subscription price for credits.
Cons: Availability of subscriptions also depend on your location. Audiobook plans are currently not available in Mexico.
Price of subscription: $9.99 per month after a free 30-day trial.
Trial? Free 30-day trials are offered as part of a subscription plan, and your card on file will be charged if you don’t cancel before the 30 days are over. Note: Quebec residents receive two free audiobook credits in place of a 30-day trial.
Libro.fm is very similar to Audible in terms of process and size of library, but with one main difference: every purchase comes with an option to designate a portion of your sales to an independent bookstore of your choice. This is a great way to continue to support indies even through the purchase of digital audiobooks. Their library includes 250,000+ titles and carries nearly all new releases and bestsellers.
One thing that makes Libro.fm unique is the presence of communities such as book clubs; currently there are three: Kids Club, YA Club, and Kiss Club (for romance readers). There’s no monthly monetary commitment for these book clubs, but titles are available to members at a discount. You also do not need an active membership to participate or purchase these titles.
The prices of audiobooks can vary by publisher, but can also be purchased at 30% off the list price if you decide to buy additional titles. Similarly to Downpour, all audiobooks are DRM-free, so you can access your purchased titles in the way that works best for you.
Learn more and read our take on Libro.fm here.
Pros: Robust sales section with very marked down titles, titles can be returned but you must contact them directly. Credits never expire and can also be shared with others as gifts. Credits can be used to make purchases in the iOS app.
Cons: In-app purchases are currently not supported. Only U.S./Canada-issued credit cards can purchase memberships at this time.
Price of subscription: $14.99 per month for one credit
Instead of a credit system, think of Scribd as a Netflix for audiobooks (and a ton of other forms of media as well). Calling themselves the largest digital library, Scribd is all about using the written word to change the way the world reads. Scribd was originally conceived as a document-sharing service but has slowly grown over time to become one of the largest platforms for audiobooks. With a membership, Scribd also comes with access to other platforms such as MUBI, Pocket, and FarFaria. Continuing with its roots, users are able to contribute to Scribd’s library by uploading documents to the platform. It’s one of the few places left where you can find books, audiobooks, magazines, podcasts, sheet music, documents, etc. through one easy subscription
Read our review and get more specific breakdowns of Scribd’s service.
Pros: Unlimited access to audiobooks, ebooks, sheet music, magazines, and more, cheaper price point.
Cons: Unlimited comes with a small asterisk. Depending on your consumption level and popularity of the title, catalogs can start to change books’ statuses to “Available Soon.” If you end the subscription, you lose access. The library is not updated often.
Price of subscription: After a free two month trial, membership is $8.99 per month or $84.99 for a yearly subscription.
Trial? Two months free access.
Happy listening, Rioters! Which of the best audiobook subscription services interests you the most?