If you are looking for the cheapest way to listen to audiobooks, just let me say – you are not alone. For many people, audible is still very expensive. Luckily, it’s not so difficult to find the perfect audible alternative. Why?
Well, there are plenty of services similar to audible! And for your convenience, I will thoroughly talk about 10 of the most popular and common alternatives. Stay tight!
Why audible is so expensive?
Due to the high production cost, they charge you high. The production of such books has almost the same procedure for producing movies. Audible has to pay for the books, the narrator, the sound engineer, and so on.
Here are the 6 key factors that lead to their high cost:
- The fee of Voice Artists
If you don’t like the voice, you won’t like listening to that audiobook. So, narration quality plays a bigger role here right after the book itself. Audible has to pay a higher rate per hour for the prominent voice artists.
Sometimes, they hire famous celebrities who charge an insane amount per hour! And they have to hire various narrators for a single book to play different characters.
- Audio Engineers
Quality check of the audio or the voice of the artist is equally important to make it soothing for the ears. So, they need to hire professional audio engineers to do the job.
Only after meeting the strict quality requirements, an audiobook may be available for sale on their marketplace. Both the recording, editing and mastering engineers play a vital role to ensure the quality of higher pay.
- Small Niche
Of course, popular audiobooks have huge sales volume but this is not the case for most of the audiobooks. Not all audiobooks bring profit for the company. They find a hard time recovering the production cost for so many average audiobooks.
- Audiobooks Length
The length of the audiobook plays a great role in determining the cost too. Lengthy audiobooks involve paying more hourly pay for the narrator. If you notice carefully, they lengthier the book, the more you pay!
Normally, you would pay $7 for a less than 1-hour lengthy audiobook. But, it may cost you as much as $20, if it’s more than 3 hours long audiobook.
- Huge Promotional Cost
Most of the audiobook lovers learn about any new releases from the promotional activities. They are not gonna sell on their own. The same is true for their e-books too. So, yes you are paying to recover such promotional cost too.
- Publisher’s Royalty Fee
Yes, I am talking about profit because audible has to pay a lot of other technical and administrative costs. Besides, don’t forget, the author of the book needs to get paid!
Alternatives to audible
Now that you already know why audible is so expensive, it’s time to learn some of its alternatives. That’s important for you to learn about them if you are looking for the cheapest way to listen to audiobooks other than audible.
Here are the top 10 best alternatives to audible that I believe won’t disappoint you:
I kept it first as the true alternative to audible because I strongly believe it’s the perfect and cheap source of high-quality audiobooks that you will like. A perfect hub for top-notch audiobooks.
It has a serious collection of all genres! More than 150,000+ collection of titles. From adults to kids, they got it covered for everyone. Just like audible, it has 700,000+ podcasts too.
And with a less fee than audible, you can download all of your purchased books to your devices for listening later. What so interesting is that you will get a 30 days free trial to evaluate this!
Just like audible, you can buy a single audiobook without going through any credit system. And of course, they offer a credit system for heavy listeners too.
Take full advantage of the free trial. Even if you don’t plan to pay them later, you can still have a taste of their great collections for an entire month!
- Huge collection of high-quality audiobooks with a wide variety of genres.
- Great collection of podcasts as well.
- A true audible.com alternative.
- A bit more pricey I would say!
2. Kobo Books
If you are a bibliophile but you need something cheaper, then you can actively consider Kobo Books. It’s an app with an awesome collection of audiobooks.
Right now, there is a basic and VIP membership plan at Kobo Books. There is no annual cost of the basic plan but it comes with very few advantages. But for the $10 VIP plan, there are lots of exciting offers and bonus points with free complimentary eBooks.
They have a very friendly return policy too. If you are not happy with your purchase of any audiobooks, you can return it within 30 calendar days from the date of your purchase.
You can use their official site no matter if you are Windows and Mac users. Their app supports both the Android and iOS operating systems.
If you ask me what is cheaper than audible, I would say Kobo Books with confidence!
In short, Kobo Books has the following advantages that you may like:
- Supports all operating systems.
- Affordable pricing.
- Very intuitive and elegant looking interface!
- Not so many original contents like audible.
If you are a student or member of any supported library, you can take the full advantage of listening to your audiobooks for free! Believe it or not, more than 30,000 libraries around the world use the OverDrive to let their users listen and read books.
Once you have validated your account with OverDrive, you can listen to your favorite audiobooks for free. If you don’t see your favorite book there, you can create a wishlist to make suggestions!
From both the Mac OS and Windows platform, you can listen to their audiobooks. And yes, it supports the Android and iOS platforms for mobile devices.
- Free of cost.
- A vast collection of audiobooks and eBooks.
- Creating wishlist.
- A relatively small collection of books if you compare it with Audible or Kobo Books.
- It takes a long time to see your suggested books in reality.
If you need access to a colossal library of audiobooks, Google Play Books is your answer. They got literally millions of collections and of course, they are cheaper than audible!
As you are familiar with Google, it really knows what you want! It tracks all of your interests pretty well. So, their suggestions are awesome and it makes finding your desired book really easy.
You will find all of your desired and favorite audiobooks from there and you don’t have to pay an annual fee. Just buy the books (most of the time they offer heavy discounts!) and listen.
Though it’s from Google, you can still use your iPhone or iPad to listen to your audiobooks.
- No monthly or yearly subscription fee.
- Great UX.
- Audiobooks are almost always on heavy discounts.
- No original contents.
Not just for audiobooks, it’s very popular for e-books and magazines too. More than 1 million+ collections! From science fiction to travel novel, it has everything for you. Some of the most popular and bestselling audiobooks are available here.
The functionality and other features of the Scribd app are very much similar to the audible app. Very impressive user-interface! Just like the audible, you can download your purchased books and listen offline.
At just $8.99 cost, it is a great and cheap alternative to audible. Here are some other advantages of Scribd that may interest you:
- Great UX.
- A wide range of genres and each genre has some most popular audiobooks.
- Customizable narration speed and ability of set sleep timer.
With a lower price and a vast collection of 120,000 titles – AudiobooksNow is a great competitor to audible. So, I strongly recommend checking it out if the higher cost of audible bothers you so much.
It’s enriched with both fictional and non-fictional audiobooks including some bestselling titles. And most of the time, they offer their audiobooks at 50% discounts.
- A large collection of audiobooks.
- Very competitive price.
- A complex pricing system.
- Not so many genres available.
7. Apple Books
Though it has entered in the game a little bit later, the Apple ecosystem of audiobooks is a good alternative to audible. It has a robust collection of audiobooks too.
Any Apple user (iOS and Mac OS) can take full advantage of it. If you are a thriller or mystery story lover, it is for you! Besides, you can create your curated collections of audiobooks matching your interest.
- It encourages you to improve your reading habit suggesting awesome books.
- Lots of customization options.
- Lack of original content.
- You can’t use it outside the scope of the Apple ecosystem.
Over 80,000+ collection of titles, it’s becoming a good rival for the audible. And it has done it within a very short period! If you have a rich taste, you will find it very promising.
Technically, the app is pretty good too. You can set your own listening pace including setting up a sleep timer. Also, you can add your wishlist to listen to your favorite audiobooks later.
- A good collection of classics.
- Ability to make a wishlist.
- A lot cheaper than audible.
- A very small collection of audiobooks in comparison with audible.
9. Serial Box
People call it the house of original audiobooks! The reason is pretty simple. They don’t release popular writers’ books. Instead, they have in-house writers for them who write great content.
As you can see, it’s not your traditional alternative to audible. Rather, you can compare it with Netflix Originals. You can buy each episode of a serial or you can pay for the entire serial.
Normally, you need to pay $0.99-$1.99 for each episode, and for the entire serial the cost may range between $5.99 and $19.99. What so cool about Serial Box is that the first episode of any serial is free!
It offers not only audiobooks but also movies and great e-books too. So, it’s your Netflix + Audible! If you have any recognized library card, you can instantly access it and borrow your desired audiobooks or movies easily.
Apart from the official website, you can use their official app from your smartphone. Yes, the app supports both the Android and iOS operating systems.
Apart from the above 10, there are many alternative ways to get your audiobooks other than audible. But in terms of quality and collection, I don’t think you should waste your time looking further.
Can I buy an audiobook without audible?
Of course, you can! There are some great alternatives to audible out there. Read some of them that are the most popular first, then decide.
Can you buy an audible book without a membership?
Yes. Using your credit card, you can buy any of your favorite audiobooks from audible without paying for the monthly or yearly membership fee. But it’s not recommended if you are a rigorous listener.
Can I listen to audible without a membership?
Of course! Anytime you can buy any audiobooks using your credit card and listen to that audiobooks on Audible at your pace.
But let me remind you that, buying books that way will cost you more. Usually, members pay a lot less than what you would be paying!
Are books cheaper on audible?
Sadly no. But if you consider the quality and vast collection of their audiobooks, they still worth it! Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to think about, but none of them match audible!
Of course, none of the above audible alternatives is as popular as audible, but they are some good sources if you are looking for the cheapest prices on audiobooks. If I were you, I would pick Google Play Books. Till now, it did not disappoint me!