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Nook Audiobooks review

Nook is the audiobook extension of Barnes and Noble. Sadly, it lacks behind more specialized providers.

Nook Audiobooks review
(Image: © Nook)

Our Verdict

Nook is an audiobook store, like Apple Books and Google Play Books, but its selection isn't as broad, nor its prices as competitive.

For

  • No monthly fee
  • Decent selection of audiobooks
  • Reputable brand

Against

  • App isn't great
  • Relatively expensive
  • Less choice than rivals

Nook is the audiobook arm of Barnes and Noble, and it acts as a storefront for buying and downloading. There's no subscription fee to access all the titles - you just pay for what you want. While it's still a major player in audiobooks, Nook has lost ground to the membership services like Audible, and to on-device stores, like Apple Books and Google Play Books. As such, it has dropped from our list of the best audiobook services, even though it's a perfectly fine platform.

As we searched the site for the most popular books of 2019, we found that the average price for an audio book was cheaper than at of Apple Books, but slightly more than on Google Play Books – although Nook Audiobooks doesn’t carry nearly as many titles as the Apple or Google stores. We also discovered that if you buy at least one audio book a month, enrolling in membership at sites like Audiobooks.com or Audible saves you quite a lot of money per month.

The Nook Audiobooks’ app experience isn't as smooth as rivals either. The free app is available on both the App Store and Google Play store, and it houses your audio book library, but it’s not nearly as customizable as the ones from most of the membership services. The app is missing essential tools like variable playback speed, a feature that lets you control the narrator’s reading pace. It also doesn’t have a sleep timer in case you fall asleep while reading, so you may have to navigate back quite a way when you start listening again. You can jump from chapter to chapter in the app, but you can’t customize the skip-back feature’s time increment, something the best apps let you do.

Nook is a mid-range provider

(Image credit: Nook)

The app has a slider you can drag to find your place in the book, which makes navigating somewhat easier. You can also shop in the Nook Audiobooks app so you don’t have to wait to pick another book after you finish one – this makes finding your next audio book easy.

Like the app, Nook Audiobooks’ website isn’t as versatile as some of the subscription services’ sites. You can sign in to your account and listen to your audio book on the web, but it doesn’t leave a bookmark so you can pick up where you left off on another device. If you want to listen on a smartphone or tablet after doing so on your home computer, you have to search for your place in the book again.

Nook Audiobooks doesn’t have direct customer support options over the phone or live chat. The FAQs page is very bare. There is an email contact form, but it’s only for if you run into trouble. When you search for more help, you’re eventually linked back to Barnes and Noble’s online store. You can search for customer support there, but the site should have direct support for its digital downloads store like many of the other sites we researched do.

Getting the best deal on an audiobook service depends on your listening habits. If you only listen to one book every three months or so, you might want to stick with Nook Audiobooks’ online shop, or just buy from Apple Books or Google Play Books. On the other hand, if you plan to listen to at least one book a month, you should check out membership plans.