Hey, Listen Up: I‘ve Got the Top 5 Audiobook Apps You Should Know About

Do you love diving into a captivating new book but struggle to find the time? Do you feel overwhelmed trying keep up with your constantly growing reading list? As an fellow active reader myself, I get it – with work, family, friends and everything else going on, sitting down to read a physical book often takes a backseat.

But what if you could bring the magic of books into the small pockets of time spent commuting, waiting in line, walking the dog or washing dishes? Well friend, that is why I‘m so fired up to tell you about the top audiobook apps that will change the reading game for you.

Why Audiobook Apps Are Having a Moment

The audiobook market has practically exploded over the last few years. According to PwC, audiobook sales shot up 40% in the first six months of 2021 alone – that‘s lightyears faster than the overall book market.

What‘s fueling this surge? Well as life returns to normal post-pandemic, people still want convenient ways to enjoy books on busier schedules. That‘s where audiobook apps come to the rescue!

These clever apps allow you to download or stream top titles spanning every genre – think best sellers, compelling memoirs, binge-worthy sci-fi series and more. You can listen anytime, anywhere whether exercising, commuting or waiting in a long line (aggravating errands suddenly don‘t seem so bad right?).

Below I‘ve compiled my barbel-dropping top 5 favorite audiobook apps I swear on my bookstack will upgrade your reading game. I‘ve nerded out on all the details from library sizes and pricing to fancy features so you can find the perfect match quicker than bowling over the sale table at the Strand.

Let‘s get listening!

#1 Audible – The All Star MVP Audiobook App

With over 15 years dominating the scene, Audible (owned by the almighty Amazon empire) still stands tall as the biggest fish in the audiobook sea – and for dang good reason.

Boasting by far the most ginormous library I’ve ever seen (over 700,000 audiobooks, podcasts and originals last I peeped), diehard readers like myself would need multiple lifetimes to plow through their catalog. Add in fancy extras like sharing clips on social media, listening across devices, and earning book credits by hitting monthly listening milestones and this MVP has features coming out the wazoo.

And you even have flexibility on pricing which I ‘ppreciate:

  • Monthly: $14.95 for 1 book credit a month
  • Annual: $149.50 for 12 book credits upfront

If that seems steep, Amazon Prime members can nab sweet discounts. And pro tip: if you toggle between monthly and annual plans grabbing those signup perks, you can strategically save some big bucks!

Hands down Audible takes the gold medal 🥇 for biggest bang in overall listens. Now cue that victory music… 🎶

Best For: Voracious power listeners plowing through audiobooks at sonic speed. You gotta feed the read beast! Also ideal for existing Amazon / Kindle ecosystem inhabitants.

#2 Scribd – The All You Can Eat Buffet of Listens

If Audible’s menu feels a smidge lacking for your diverse reading palate, feast your ears on Scribd – the unlimited all-access reading pass of my dreams!

For one monthly price ($8.99 at last check), this bookworm buffet allows you to devour over one million audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, sheet music, podcasts and more til your ears pop. I’m talkin’ bingeing ‘til you slip into a food coma folks! 🤤

And while Scribd’s audiobook library itself skews smaller at ~100K, that’s still bigger than some countries I bet! I’m thrilled they offer way more nichey genres and niche nonfiction titles I nerd out on but are tougher to find elsewhere.

Points off for no fancy features or ownership of books. But still – bottomless options for under $10? Whaaa?! You had me at all you can eat dear Scribd! 😍

Best For: Voracious readers with diverse interests from sci-fi to celebrity gossip rags. Or anyone super price-sensitive.

#3 Libro.fm – Best Bet for Indie Bookworms

While Scribd and Audible duke it out serving up mainstream reads, feisty underdog Libro.fm is my top choice for supporting independent authors and bookshops. I just adore their mission y’all! 🥰

When you buy any audiobook in their 100K+ catalog, a cut goes to sustaining local indie bookstores instead of enriching some billionaire’s pockets. And their prices are super reasonable too ranging from $10-15 bucks per la carte title depending on length.

For frequent listeners they also offer monthly and annual subscription plans granting credits towards free books. But however you slice it, Libro.fm keeps local bookstores alive allowing us quirky readers to keep getting our fix of fresh niche finds I’d miss otherwise. That earns them a gold star ⭐️ in my bookblog any day!

Best For: Conscious consumers who want quality reads and to fund indie bookshops. Casual listeners welcome too!

#4 Storytel – The Netflix of Audiobooks Abroad

Alright this next pick may seem outta left field given Storytel hails from Sweden originally. But lemme tell ya – this hip European audiobook startup has been giving US platforms a real run for their money with their unique Netflix-style business model.

Rather than pay per book, Storytel offers an all-you-can-listen monthly "streaming" subscription granting unlimited access to their 80K+ audiobook library (expanding by 500/week!). Plus they produce original titles and feature local books allowing you to explore other cultures through listening #cool.

Pricing feels on par with competitors – usually a 14-day free trial then ~$13/month after. I really dig Storytel‘s model focusing on discovery from personalized recommendations to spotlighting undiscovered gems. So if supporting fresh voices and expanding your literary borders sounds fun, Storytel brings some wow factor!

Best For: Open-eared readers craving to discover their next booklove and explore different creative cultures.

#5 Apple Books – Best for iPhone Loyalists

Last but not least – you didn‘t think I could leave out the magic of Apple did ya?? As an Apple fangirl since my first iPhone in college, it’s a no brainer to shoutout their stock Books app preloaded with every iOS device.

While the 50K+ audiobook catalog pales next to the heavy hitters above, Apple Books wins points by seamlessly integrating with the iPhone/iPad interfaces we already know and love. Everything feels intuitive – browsing titles, downloading books for offline listening, adjusting playback speed etc.

Plus if you already own ebooks or audiobooks purchased through Apple Books, it’s a cinch to access them without starting from scratch. And at $5-$15+ per pay-as-you-go title, pricing stays competitive depending on length.

All in all, Apple Books offers a streamlined, familiar option for us Apple lifers.

Best For: People already cozy in the Apple ecosystem looking for simplicity.

Beyond available book titles, there’s other cool functionality that can seriously enhance your listening experience. Here’s just a sampling of slick features to look for:

🔈 Listening Acceleration: Having the ability to tweak playback speeds up to 3X lets you plow through books quicker when cramming!

🔁 Seamless Playback: Whether switching devices or offline to online, your app should sync listening progress automatically so you never lose your spot.

📚 Smart Recommendations: The best apps get to know your favorite genres and authors, then suggest the hottest, best matching new releases to explore next!

🔖 Bookmarks: Need to hop off a cliffhanger chapter? Strategically placed digital bookmarks let you easily mark and revisit key portions later.

🏆 Reading Challenges: Gamifying reading with friendly competition against other users – whether targeting book counts, pages or hours listened – will rocket fuel your reading!

😴 Sleep Timer: Listening as you doze off? A handy sleep function will automatically pause playback after a set time so your audiobook isn’t cranking all night.

I don’t know about you, but after geeking out on all these amazing apps, I’ve got audiobook FOMO! 😅 It may seem daunting choosing where exactly to begin.

My advice? Start with your reading preferences and schedule. Bookworms inhaling a ton of titles will get the most bang from unlimited all-you-can-listen platforms like Audible or Scribd. If you tackle just a few books a month though, pay-as-you-go models let you save.

Regardless what app you pick, audiobooks represent an exciting new chapter to satisfy book lovers on the move. Happy listening friend!

Jenna Schwartz
Professional Bookworm 📚✨

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