Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. That being said, I acknowledge that some people prefer listening to a tale to reading words in a book, and you might be one of them.
So, consider using some of the best free audiobook apps the Internet has to offer.
When you think about it, oral storytelling isn’t new since it’s been around for centuries. It even predates written languages.
An audiobook happens to be a 21st-century version of how people have been sharing tales since the dawn of humanity. (I remember back when I listened to stories on tape cassettes and CDs. Talk about old-school.)
Nearly 40 percent of Americans subscribe to at least one audiobook service. You don’t have to limit yourself to one with the list I offer.
Here are 15 audiobook apps you might want to add to your listening library.
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What will I learn?
Top 15 Best Free Audiobook Apps
Some of these audiobooks are completely free, while others include a monthly subscription.
eStories grants you a selection of more than 120,000 audiobooks.
Sync up to 10 of your favorite mobile devices, and if you own a car with Bluetooth capabilities, you can listen to a story while you drive.
Once you become a member, you get special discounts, credits, and unlimited cloud storage.
Why is this audiobook app at the bottom of the list?
I’m kind of disappointed that eStories doesn’t offer a free trial. I think it’s essential for companies to offer free trials because they allow customers to test drive a product/service without spending their money. Then, they only pay if they’re satisfied and want to continue with said product/service.
Nevertheless, eStories charges you half the price of the Basic Plan for the first three months. (eStories also has a Plus Plan and a Premium Plan.)
Even though it’s not free, I thought I’d add it to the list since it has a vast audiobook collection and awesome member incentives.
- Price: $5.95/month for the first three months; Basic Plan: $11.99/month; Plus Plan: $21.99/month; Premium Plan: $49.99/month
- Download: Android/Apple
Audible is an Amazon-related feature that offers audiobooks and more.
What do I mean by more? Besides audiobooks, Audible has sleep tracks, podcasts, meditation programs, and Audible Originals.
Despite its vast catalog of listening options, there’s one problem I have with Audible, which is why it ranks No. 14.
Though it does come with a free trial, Audible’s membership plans are quite expensive. (They range between $8.00/month and $230/year.) Additionally, you receive a free credit upon signing up. However, it costs extra to purchase more credits. Although there are ways to get free Audible credits!
Moreover, you need to sign up for an Amazon account to use Audible in the first place.
- Price: Free 30-day trial; Audible Plus: $7.95 per month; Audible Premium: $14.95 per month; Audible Premium+: $22.95 per month; Audible Premium+ Annual: $149.50 to $229.50 per year depending on the number of credits you buy
- Download: Android/Apple
Through Audiobooks.com, you can listen to over 350,000 titles as well as access news, sleep/meditation audio, podcasts, and audio magazines.
Audiobooks.com does require a monthly subscription, but you get three free audiobooks during its free trial.
Scribd possesses a collection of more than 300,000 audiobooks, two million e-books, one million magazines, and news articles.
In addition, this app provides sheet music, documents, and podcasts.
Want to keep up-to-date on the latest trends, new releases, and Scribd in general? Read Scribd’s blog Literally to stay informed and take part in reading challenges.
Scribd charges a monthly fee, though you can try it out for a month at no cost to you.
When you shop via the AudiobooksNow app with its Club Pricing Plan, you get half-price off your first audiobook each month. (Subsequent books are 35 to 40 percent off.) The plan also entitles you to select free audiobooks during its free trial.
And even if you don’t sign up for the Club Pricing Plan, you can take advantage of its bargain prices.
- Price: Without Club Pricing Plan, depends on the audiobook you purchase; With Club Pricing Plan, 30-day free trial, then $4.99/month
- Download: Android/Apple
10. Spotify (Spotibooks)
Spotify is known for being a platform for music and podcasts. But it now offers audiobooks, too.
You might be glad to know that you don’t need a premium account to buy Spotify audiobooks. Just make a one-time purchase of a novel you want to listen to, and locate it in Your Library.
Self-published author? Post your book on Findaway Voices so Spotify members can find and listen to your story.
As of now, the app’s only available on Google Play.
- Price: Varies from audiobook to audiobook
- Download: Android
If you want to listen to audiobooks without fretting about subscription fees, then Chirp’s the app for you.
Its books aren’t free. However, they’re the only items you pay for, and you can get up to 95 percent off per title. You also receive personalized recommendations sent to your email.
Chirp even works with Alexa-programmed devices, enabling you to request stories on demand.
LitRes has over 1 million e-books and audiobooks across 142+ genres.
This Russian-based company provides works in more than 33 languages and offers both free and paid books.
The LitRes app allows you to switch between audio and text with a single click, create customized bookmarks, and set a document in nighttime mode.
Though YouTube doesn’t have a specific service dedicated to audiobooks, many channels offer free audiobooks to consume to your heart’s content.
How do you find them? Type “YouTube audiobooks” into your favorite search engine or enter “free audiobooks” into the YouTube search bar and click on a story to get started.
6. Loyal Books
Loyal Books’ motto is “Books Should Be Free,” and there are over 7,000 free audiobooks and e-books in its collection.
When searching for a certain book, enter the author’s name, title, or keyword into the search box or click on genres like mystery, science fiction, and poetry. You can even filter your searches by languages like Japanese, Spanish, and Italian.
While Loyal Books advocates for free books, it does provide paid books listed under “Best Sellers,” “Oprah’s Book Club,” and other sections.
Access over 10,000 titles through Bookamo!
Search for your favorite audiobooks and then gather them to create your personalized library.
Bookamo also offers story suggestions, book reviews, and social listening options.
Have kids? Download Storynory to entertain them!
Storynory features myths, fairytales, tales from classic authors, educational stories, and much more.
As I clicked through its website, I noticed that each story and chapter comes with a transcript in addition to an audio file. (This feature makes it simple for visual learners to follow along, which I find important as a visual learner myself.)
Storynory is an audiobook app that’s perfect for school or bedtime.
3. Overdrive (Libby)
Overdrive’s Libby app partners with many public libraries to offer over 273,000 titles on 166 various subjects.
Whether you’re in the mood for an e-book or audiobook, you just need to download the app, find your library, and sign in.
You can listen to or read stories via phone, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an e-reader, and other devices.
Note that about 90 percent of libraries in North America use Libby, so consult your local library first to see if it’s a Libby partner.
What’s the hoopla with Hoopla? The fact that it provides all sorts of entertainment!
Like Libby, Hoopla partners with several libraries to offer:
- TV shows
Its flagship product is the BingePass, which grants you unlimited access to digital content. Think of it as a virtual library card. Use it to borrow books, movies, TV shows, and music for up to a week. Once the week is up, you can use the BingePass to borrow again.
I chose LibriVox as the best free audiobook app for the following reasons:
- It (obviously) costs users nothing.
- LibriVox has thousands of stories that are in the public domain.
- No ads to be bothered with while listening to stories
- Works are available in 46 languages
In addition to the aforementioned features, LibriVox provides a forum to discuss favorite stories or request assistance from fellow members.
Have you always wanted to narrate a story? LibriVox offers volunteer narration opportunities, and you’re not required to possess prior experience to participate.
Wrapping Everything Up
Listening to an audiobook app is akin to having your own personal storyteller.
Well, what are you waiting for?
Download some of the best free audiobook apps and enjoy a good story while working, traveling, or reclining on the couch.