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How to listen to an audiobook without Audible

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Learn how to listen to audiobooks without Audible. Discover six options that all offer something different from Amazon’s service.

How to listen to an audiobook without Audible

There’s no denying that Amazon’s Audible service has established itself as the leading source of audiobooks for many people. Audible books allow you to access a whole new world of reading. Plus, the Audible app has a massive library of books to download.

However, Audible isn’t perfect.

You have to become a subscriber if you want to use Audible. That means paying a monthly subscription fee to access the bestsellers the service offers. An Audible membership may be a cost that many aren’t willing to shell out every month.

Furthermore, some people prefer to own their audiobooks. They want an a la carte option where they can purchase the audiobooks they want when they want them. For these people, ownership and control are more important than the massive library they can access with an Audible subscription.

If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re looking at some of the ways you can listen to audiobooks without an Audible subscription.

Audiobooks vs. Audible: What’s the difference?

Audiobooks and Audible are terms that often get used interchangeably, but they refer to different things within the realm of spoken-word entertainment. Audiobooks are a broad category referring to recordings of text being read aloud. They can be found on CDs, online platforms, libraries, and various digital stores. Audiobooks have been around for decades, providing an alternative way of "reading" books for those who prefer to listen or are visually impaired.

On the other hand, Audible is a specific platform owned by Amazon that specializes in the distribution of digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and spoken-word content. It’s sometimes known as Amazon audiobooks because of its parent company. While all Audible's offerings are audiobooks or audio content, not all audiobooks are part of Audible's library or platform. Audible differentiates itself with it audiobooks subscription model, exclusive titles, and other unique features not necessarily found in some other audiobook sources. The Audible app is available on the App Store for iOS (Apple iPhone/iPad) and Google Play for Android, although you can also access Audible books in your web browser.

Where to listen to audiobooks instead of Audible

So if Audible isn’t the best way to listen to audiobooks for you, then you might be asking yourself, “Where can I listen to audiobooks?”

Audiobook listeners have more options than they may realize for listening to and buying audiobooks online. Any of the following allows you to enjoy an audiobook service without subscribing to Audible or Audible Premium Plus or without having to buy Audible books.

Kindle Unlimited with Whispersync

Let’s start with an interesting service Amazon offers. Kindle Unlimited grants access to a vast library of 1.5 million e-books. What you may not know is that this service comes with several perks that allow you to enjoy Audible narration without paying a monthly membership to Audible.com, and Whispersync is one of those perks.

With Whispersync, you can listen to a selection of Kindle books with Audible narration. The service is a bit restricted. It’s only available for a limited number of books, and you still have to buy the books from Audible. However, you can listen without subscribing as long as you have Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon Prime

You likely already know about the access to free deliveries and streaming movies and TV shows you get with an Amazon Prime subscription. You may be pleased to learn that you can also listen to a selection of audiobooks using Prime.

Prime Reading gives you access to a small selection of the Audible library via your Amazon account. You don’t have to subscribe to Audible because you can listen to Audible audiobooks using Prime. One downside of this option is the relatively small selection, which rotates regularly. Still, existing Prime members can get more out of their accounts with Prime Reading.

Overdrive/Libby

Most libraries in the United States use a platform called Overdrive to manage their e-books and audiobooks. Recognizing this, Overdrive launched Libby to enable people to access the books online they’d find in their local library.

All you need is a valid U.S. library card and you can subscribe to Libby without paying a subscription fee. From there, you can listen to the audio version of many books that are available via the American library system.

Because Libby offers free online audiobooks as long as you have a library card and your library has access to the platform, it’s ultimately the cheapest way to listen to audiobooks. However, you can only access the audiobooks for a limited time, just like a regular library book. Additionally, Libby may not have all the titles you’re looking for due to licensing agreements.

Scribd

On the surface, Scribd is very similar to Audible. The platform offers a subscription. It seems like the Netflix of audiobooks. However, Scribd comes with a difference that separates it from Audible—It offers more than just audiobooks.

Scribd’s library also includes e-books, podcasts, magazines, documents, and sheet music. Though its collection of audiobooks isn’t as vast as Audible, you can still access a huge number of new releases. That, combined with the extras, may make a Scribd subscription more valuable to you than an Audible one.

If you’re thinking about making the switch, you can try Scribd with a 30-day trial before committing to a subscription.

Chirp

Audible isn’t the best choice if ownership of your favorite audiobooks is important to you. You can use your credit card to purchase Audible credits, which you then use to buy audiobooks. You can still access those books after canceling your Audible membership. However, you can’t buy any others without a subscription.

Chirp changes that model by focusing on ownership. Any book you buy using Chirp is yours to keep. The service offers thousands of audiobooks, from bestselling novels to non-fiction books.

However, the Chirp Daily Deals stand out the most. Chirp offers several hundred audiobooks with discounts of up to 95% every day. The selection regularly refreshes, allowing you to pick up audiobooks at much lower prices than you can find with other services.

Speechify Audiobooks

Speechify Audiobooks is the best audiobook app for people who want to listen to audiobooks with a more affordable monthly subscription. With its growing library of 60,000+ audiobooks, Speechify gives you access to bestsellers and amazing non-fiction books by prominent thought leaders.

Currently, Speechify audiobooks is available for iOS and in your web browser.

Best of all, your first Speechify purchase costs just $1, no matter which audiobook you buy. Combine that with the hundreds of public domain books on the service, which gives you a steady stream of free audiobooks, and you have a service that allows you to enjoy and own your favorite audiobooks without a subscription.

Speechify Audiobooks—The best alternative to Audible

Speechify Audiobooks is the best app for listening to books if you want to own your audiobooks and have access to them on any device. With its ever-growing library, Speechify unlocks the wonders of audio literature with affordable pricing options. A monthly subscription to Speechify Audiobooks costs less than a monthly subscription to Audible, and you get access to many of the same titles.

Find audiobooks in countless genres, suitable to every audiobook listeners’ tastes. Listen to books like The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, and thousands more titles.

To learn more, check out Speechify Audiobooks today and buy your first audiobook for just $1.

FAQ

How do I listen to audiobooks on my iPhone without Audible?

You can listen to audiobooks without Audible using any of the options in this article. With Whispersync, you can listen to Audible Originals without an Audible account.

What is the easiest way to listen to audiobooks?

Speechify Audiobooks is the easiest way to listen to audiobooks. Once you buy your book, it’s yours to own, and you can listen to it using almost any device.

Why would I need an Audible account to listen to audiobooks?

You only need an Audible account to listen to audiobooks if you want a book that isn’t available on any other service. Otherwise, you don’t need an Audible account for audiobooks.

What are the most popular audiobook apps?

Speechify Audiobooks, Audible, Scribd are some of the most popular audiobook apps today..

Can you buy books on Audible without a membership?

Yes, you can buy audiobooks on Audible without having a membership, but they will be full price instead of discounted.

How do I buy a book on Audible?

Here’s how to buy audiobooks on Audible on desktop or iOS:

  1. Go to the Audible website
  2. Search for the book you want
  3. Choose the audiobook you want to purchase
  4. Select “Buy with 1 credit” or “Buy for $[price]”

Here’s how to buy audiobooks on Audible on Android:

  1. Go to the Audible website
  2. Tap on “Discover”
  3. Search for the book you want
  4. Choose the audiobook you want to purchase
  5. Select “Buy with 1 credit” or “Buy for $[price]”
Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.