Pros / Apple’s iBooks store has a large selection of audio books.
Cons / On average, audio books cost a lot more on iTunes than many of the other services I tested.
Verdict / iBooks is a good place to buy hard-to-find titles, but if you listen to audio books regularly, a paid membership with another service is a better value.
Apple has made some improvements since the last time we reviewed its audio book store. For example, audio book downloads are now available in the free iBook app, rather than the iTunes Music Store. This separation makes it easy to organize your books and keeps random chapters from playing when you shuffle your music library. It also makes it easier to shop; you can just go to the store’s audio book section and use the search bar to find titles.
iBooks doesn’t currently have a membership program, and it doesn’t rent out books – if you want an audio book from the store, you must purchase it. So, I used it as a baseline to compare monthly subscription services against to find out if they are really worth it. Based on this comparison, I found that if you listen to at least one audio book a month, you’ll save money by enrolling in a membership with another service. This is especially true if you switch from iBooks to another free iOS app, and all the other audio book services I tested are compatible with Apple devices.
iTunes has one of the largest selections of audio books. I compiled and searched for a list of books to evaluate the breadth of each store’s inventory, and the only one with as many titles as iTunes was Amazon’s Audible, which is the best audio book service I tested.
While the selection was great, the average cost per audio book was considerably higher in the iBooks store than most of the others I reviewed – on average, iTunes charges about $5 more per book than other stores. Online pricing can change from day to day, but as you look for the best service, value should be a key factor in your decision.
The other problem with the iBooks store is its limited compatibility. Because of the Apple model, it isn’t available on Android devices, so you have buy one of the company’s phones or tablets to access the store. The app has a few features found on other service’s players, including a sleep timer. This lets you set a time to stop playback, which is convenient if you like to listen to books as you fall asleep.
- Number of Titles
- Membership Fee
- Popular Titles
- Average Price Per Book
If you’re an Apple user, buying audio books from iTunes is a convenient to keep all your digital downloads in one place. Also, the iBooks store has a very large audio book collection, which means you’re likely to find the title you’re looking for. Still, if you regularly listen to audio books, we encourage you to check out some of our top picks to build your library. When you listen to at least one audio book a month, a paid subscription with one of the higher-ranked services is a better value.