Since podcasts have become a part of mainstream media consumption, users’ appetite for consuming audio content has been slowly increasing. Also, although podcasts are great for short duration and serialised content, there are not ample options for people looking for long form content. This is where audiobooks come in. They fill the gap left open by the podcasting world. Think of audiobooks as binge watching your favourite shows or a spectacular movie. Also, for the book lovers, it provides another medium to consume their favourite books. Now, people can consume their favourite novels in situations they could never have done before. I am telling you, doing household chores and cooking has never been this much fun.
Now, whether you are coming from podcasts and just exploring the world of audiobooks or you love books and want to consume them everywhere, you will need some good apps to assist you. Apps are the gateway, if you use the wrong one, you might not enjoy your experience. I have used some pretty bad ones and hated the experience myself but don’t worry, I will not let the same happen to you, our readers. So, if you are ready to explore the world of audiobooks, here are 10 best audiobooks apps for iPhone and Android you should use:
The Best Audiobook Apps You Should Use
Let’s start with an app which is one of the most popular and one of the best audiobook apps out there. Audible was acquired by Amazon for about 300 million dollars back in 2008 and since then it has improved a lot. Audible is to audiobooks what Amazon’s Kindle is to ebooks, which means, it’s the best place to find and discover new books. It has over 180,000 audio titles for you to choose from with more titles being added every day. You can be sure that your favourite book’s audio version will be available here. This is the place where the new audiobooks are published first. When it come’s to the interface, the app sports a beautiful dark theme. Your library is where all your purchased audiobooks will live.The Store is where you can buy the books.
The playback controls are pretty good with adjustable playback speeds, bookmark support, sleep mode and more. You can use the app for free and purchase the audiobooks which you want to, or you can buy a monthly subscription ($14.95/month) where you will get one book for free every month. It’s a great deal if you are a regular listener as most of the books will cost you more owing to the higher cost involved in the production of the audiobooks. To make the premium version even more lucrative, Amazon has also started producing Amazon Originals Podcast series, which you can only get here. It’s kind of like their Prime Video service. This is an all round audiobook app, and there’s none better.
Audiobooks.com is another service which is similar to audible. Its title selection is a bit lesser than that of Audible (around 50,000) but most of the major titles can be found here. Like Audible, you can use the app for free and buy the books or you can pay a monthly subscription and get one book for free every month. The service is pretty good with cross device syncing and variable playback controls. It supports both Android and iOS platforms, so all your purchases will be with you even if you switch your device. However, it is hard to recommend this over Audible considering the fact that it costs the same.
Probably the only reason why one should prefer this over Audible is its simplicity. This is an app just meant for audiobooks so you will not find podcasts here. The app’s interface is pretty simple and it is easier to get used to than Audible. Also, the featured section has a very prominent ‘free section’ where you can browse the books which you can listen for free. Although Audible also host free books, they don’t show it explicitly on their app. If you are just starting out, I would recommend that you use Audiobooks.com app and listen to some free titles first before making the jump to the paid subscription.
This one is for the iOS users. If you don’t want to subscribe to services like Audible and prefer buying audiobooks from iTunes Store, this one will come in handy. As we all know, iTunes is the best place to buy content but it’s not the best place to consume them. If you want to consume audiobooks purchased on iTunes, you should use a third-party app like BookMobile. The app is pretty simple and straight forward. You get an import button using which you can import your audiobooks from multiple sources like iTunes, LibriVox or even directly an MP3 which you downloaded from the internet.
The app also has a store where you can search for free audiobooks and download them. I really like this feature as I don’t have to go through the whole import process if I can find the book for free here. Apart from audiobooks, you can also use the app to subscribe to your favourite podcasts by using their RSS links. However, I don’t think you should use it for podcasts, as there are better apps for that. You can use the app for free for 60 days. In the trial period, you are restricted to 5 audiobooks titles. If you want more, you will have to buy the app, which is thankfully, pretty cheap.
Install: iOS (Free trial, $3.99)
4. Material Player
If you are looking for an app like BookMobile for Android, you get a couple of options. My favourite of them all is the Material Player. You can import books in Mp3 or M4a format. The app is pretty simple. You direct it to the folder where all your audiobooks are saved and the app will import the audiobooks in its library. The app’s interface is pretty simple. It also has a dark theme, which is always welcomed. You get the ability to use variable playbacks along with sleep timer. You can also use inbuilt Volume Booster feature to increase the output volume in your headphones. I also love the bookmarks feature which time stamps your books. Tapping on the bookmarks will take you to their respective timestamps. What’s best is the app is free to use with no in-app purchases or ads.
Install: Android (Free)
5. Audiobooks HQ
If you are looking for an app which not only lets you hear the free audiobooks but also lets you download them, this one is of the best apps on iOS that does that. It lets you browse through LibriVox (10,000 books) and Podibooks (indie books) catalogues and download any book that you like. However, what I really like about this app is its playback interface which can be highly customised. You can change the playback speed, initiate a sleep timer, quickly switch between chapters, add bookmarks, and much more. It is one of the better audiobook players in the market. Although the app is free to use, the constant banner ads are an eye sore. If you really want to enjoy the audiobooks you should buy the pro version which removes the ads.
Install: iOS (Free, $1.99)
6. Audiobooks Now
This is another service which is just like Audible and Audiobooks.com, which means, it has a very large library of paid books, which you can purchase and listen to. Just like with Audible, you can use the app for free or pay a monthly subscription to enjoy benefits. Its library boasts of more than 80,000 books, so you can find all your favourite titles here. Its playback controls are also pretty decent and you won’t miss any feature here. The only reason that it comes so low on your list is that it is a region restricted app, meaning, you will only be able to download the app if it supports your country.
As you can see the service is almost similar to Audible, however, it does offer a different pricing model, which, many of you might prefer. After a trial of 1 month, the app will cost you a monthly subscription of $4.99, which as you can see is less than that of both Audible and Audiobooks.com. But, the catch here is that, instead of getting one book for free every month, your first book will cost you half of its price. However, the main benefit will come if you buy more than one book a month as every subsequent book purchase will also enjoy 30-40% discount. As such, this is best for people who can go through more than one book in a month as it will result in more savings.
Bound is another well-made iOS audiobooks app which allows you to listen to free audiobooks. It does not offer a free library, rather you will have to download the books from sites like LibriVox.org which house the free audiobooks. It supports various audiobook formats including MP3, M4a, M4b, and AAC. You can also use it to import content from your local library which can be accessed using the apps like Overdrive. Not only you can import audiobooks which are locally stored on your iPhone but you can also import them from various cloud storages including Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, and Web Uploader. It offers one of the best playback controls with the customisable time skip buttons, variable playback speed, and much more. However, this is a paid app and you will have to buy it before you use it.
Install: iOS ($3.99)
8. MP3 Audiobook Player
If you are looking for an app like Bound but would rather not pay for it, MP3 Audiobook Player is your best bet. Although this app also has a paid version, you can use it for free with ads. Just like Bound, it lets you import audiobooks either from your device storage or from your cloud storage (iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive among others). The app is well designed with lots of customisation option. The homepage of the app shows you the audiobook you are currently listening to. Rest of the options are quietly hidden in the hamburger menu. This is where you can access your local library, add audiobooks and change the settings including the playback speeds, theme (dark or light), auto rewind, and seeking speed among others. All in all, this is a really good free app and even its pro version cost a dollar less than Bound.
Install: iOS (Free, $2.99)
9. Smart Audiobook Player
Smart Audiobook Player is one of those apps which does everything right when it comes to functionality. The app is a standalone audiobook player which lets you import audiobooks from your device storage. It has one of the most customisable playback controls that you can find on any audiobook apps. You can change the playback speeds, use 3 different levels of volume boost, add bookmarks and much more. There’s even a built-in ‘Equalizer’ which lets you change and set the audio output to suit your needs. The app is also totally free, and there are no ads which can hamper your listening experience. The only thing that is bad here is the UI of the app, which seems archaic. If you can get past it looks, you will definitely enjoy using this app.
Install: Android (Free)
10. Listen Audiobook Player
This is an app which is similar to Smart Audiobook Player, with a few more tricks up its sleeve. Apart from having all the usual functions, just like Smart Audiobook Player, it also has a built in equalizer which can help you control your audio settings minutely. However, unlike Smart Audiobook Player, the app also lets you change the artwork for your books. You can even download the artwork from right inside the app and choose the one that you like. But, since it is a paid app, I don’t think I can justify recommending it above the Smart Audiobook Player for just one extra feature. Still, it’s good to have options, and you can get this one if you want it.
Install: Android ($1.49)
Best Audiobook Players for Android and iPhone
Just like e-book disrupted the market of traditional book publishing, audiobooks are going to do the same. The best part about listening to audiobooks lies in their production quality. The major publications include various sound effects to make your listening experience more enjoyable. The users will much more involved while listening to a well-produced audiobook than reading the same. The second thing that goes in the favour of audiobooks is that they allow you with more opportunities to consume your favourite books. I really love them. If you are still reading this article, chances are that you do too. So, which is one is your favourite audiobook app? Let us know in the comments section below.