We like Audiobooks.com, and it has improved plenty over the past few years. While it started off as a clone of Audible, this service has definitely found its own groove recently, digging deeper into podcasts and upping the ante with its free-book sign-up deal. Currently, you get three free books and a 30-day free trial for Audiobooks.com, although this isn't quite as brilliant as it first appears. Still, a fantastic incentive to try this service out. It's one of the main reasons Audiobooks.com places highly on our list of the best audiobook services.
Audiobooks.com only has one membership plan, and while offering a few more options wouldn’t hurt, it does streamline enrolment. With the membership, you get a free book every month from the VIP list on site. The monthly fee is $14.95, which is the same as Audible, making these two some of the more expensive options in the audiobook sphere. The site offers a free trial and gives you one free credit to use to buy your first book from the premium catalogue of 150,000+ books, plus the option to download a further couple from the VIP section of books.
The VIP section is a neat little bonus, exclusive to Audiobooks.com, and it is basically a list of selected audiobooks that changes every month. If you're a member of the site, you not only get any audiobook free each month, but you can also choose a second book from the VIP section. While the selection here isn't the newest of the new, you'll always find a book you'll want to try from just about any genre of fiction and popular non-fiction. For example, we found the Killing Eve novelization, the Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, and All Quiet on the Western Front when we signed up for our trial.
Audiobooks.com review: Book library
Audiobooks.com's premium library houses 150,000 titles, which is fewer than what you'll find on Audible (by about 70,000), but more than almost any other site. It’s a decent-size store, and if you're looking for discovery, rather than having all the absolute newest books, it's a good option. Just be aware that you'll often find some of the classics from parts of the site in free audiobook repositories, like LibriVox.
As part of our testing, we compiled a list of the most popular books from 2019 and searched for all of them on each site. Audiobooks.com had about 75% of these books in its library. This is better than most other services we tested, but it means you might not always find the title you’re looking for on the site. One advantage Audiobooks.com has over Audible is that you can purchase additional credits at the same price as the first. This makes it more flexible and the cheaper option if you listen to more than one or two audio books a month. Also, you get to keep the books you purchase after you cancel your membership, unlike with the Netflix-like Scribd, which works like a streaming service and is another good option if you listen to a lot of books each month. This also means that, on average, Audiobooks.com’s prices are competitive. Each credit costs only $14.95, which is one of the better bargains I found – only Audiobooksnow.com and Scribd have an average lower cost per book.
We also love the volume of podcasts you can access through Audiobooks.com. There are 700,000 currently on site, and the number grows every day, so if you're looking for spoken word, it's a fantastic one-stop shop. It's worth noting that the podcasts are free, so you won't spend credits downloading them. They also work in the site's dedicated app too.
Audiobooks.com review: App and support
The app itself is slick and easy to use. You can shop and browse via the app, and look at the library of books you've already downloaded. It's free to download on either the App Store for Apple users, or the Google Play store for those on Android. You can also listen via a web browser, so you're covered no matter what device you choose to listen on. It syncs your books across all the computers, tablets and smartphones you use, so you don’t have to find your place every time you open the app on a different device. The player has all the standard features – adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, bookmarks and places to take notes – and its organization is simple. We especially like how easy it is to adjust the listening settings; all the icons are on the app’s main page instead of hidden in a side menu.
The site offers recommendations based on the titles you view, which can help you pick your next book. The product pages also have customer reviews, which are a screened by Audiobooks.com before they are published.
We weren't blown away by the support features on Audiobooks.com, especially when compared to Audible’s – the latter lets you return a book for any reason, even if you just didn’t enjoy it. You can contact Audiobooks.com by phone during most of the day, and it has email support, but there is no live chat, and the website’s FAQs page is pretty limited.
Should you choose Audiobooks.com?
Audiobooks.com has a flexible membership that allows you to purchase as many credits as you need. The fixed price per credit simplifies shopping on the site because you can anticipate costs. Audible’s bigger library and better support features earn it the top spot, but Audiobooks.com is close competition and a low-stress, quality membership for users who listen to more than one or two audio books a month. The sign-up offer is very tempting, and the price per month - while one of the more expensive options - isn't excessive. If you're a fan of podcasts, there are more here than you're likely to find in any other audiobook site.