From its membership plan to its app design, it’s apparent that Audiobooks.com is trying to mimic Amazon’s successful audio book service, Audible. When I researched and tested the site, I discovered that Audiobooks.com offers a good deal on audio books, and if it had a larger library, it’d be tough competition for our number one choice.
Audiobooks.com only has one membership plan, and while offering a few more options wouldn’t hurt, it does streamline enrollment. With the membership, you get a new credit to spend every month. The monthly fee is $14.95, which is the same as Audible and Playster’s audio book plans.
One of the best parts about being able to purchase unlimited credits is the fixed price. I liked that if I finished the book I was reading and wanted another before the end of the month, I knew how much it would cost.
The site offers a free trial and gives you one free credit to use to buy your first book. I recommend trying out the service to see if its library has the titles you’re looking for.
Audiobooks.com’s library houses 100,000 titles, which is about the same as the audio book streaming service Playster, one of my other top picks. It’s a decent-size store, but it doesn’t compare with Audible’s library, which has over 80,000 more audio books available to download.
As part of my testing, I compiled a list of the most popular books from 2016 and searched for all of them on each site. Audiobooks.com only had 73 percent of the books in its store. Its score is better than those of some other services I tested, but it means you might not always find the title you’re looking for on the site. Even though Audiobooks.com has features I like as much as or more than Audible’s, being able to find the books you want to read is the most important factor when signing up for an audio book membership, even above cost. Because of this, the difference in the size and quality of the two stores’ selections is one of the main reasons Audible came out on top.
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 Playster, 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.
You can shop online or in the app. Either way, it’s easy to browse the service’s inventory because it displays clickable book covers, which makes it kind of like browsing in an actual store. I also appreciated its very specific browsing categories, including “Swearworthy Self Help,” “Books for Dads” and “Great American Journeys.”
I found the service’s free book section a little underwhelming because the offerings aren’t exclusive to Audiobooks.com. For the most part, the books are in the public domain or are LibriVox recordings and free anywhere on the internet. If you plan to mostly listen to books in this section of the service’s library, it might be best to download one of the available free apps rather than pay a monthly fee for access.
Because Audiobooks.com’s free downloadable app has a similar design to Audible’s, I found it easy to use. The player has all the standard features – adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, bookmarks and places to take notes – and its organization is simple. I 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.
You can access your library online and stream your audio book from the service’s webpage as well as through the app. 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 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.
I wasn’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 it doesn’t have live chat, and the website’s FAQs page is pretty limited.
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.