5 must-have audiobook apps so you can listen to your books on the go

Audiobooks are a little bit magical. Close your eyes, play a title, and this digital format can take you on a journey around the world, impart vast amounts of knowledge, make you laugh out loud, and move you with emotion. And thanks to a variety of easy-to-use apps, you can listen to audiobooks wherever you have your smartphone and a pair of headphones. Whether you want to listen to an audiobook on your commute, in the gym, while doing mundane household tasks, or simply lying in bed at night, we have an app that will help you do so.


Audible can be credited with popularizing digital audiobooks. The platform transformed the marketplace, from cassette tapes and DVDs to simple downloads that could be played on your MP3 player or smartphone. Audible, now owned by Amazon, is the largest audiobook retailer and producer in the United States.
The Audible app, available for both iOS and Android, is as full-featured as you would expect from such a pioneer in the industry. It offers a handy widget that makes it quick and easy to get back to your last listen directly from the home screen. There is also the option to download titles rather than stream them in order to listen offline. Using “Whispersync,” you can listen to music across your devices when logged in to your Amazon account.

The Audible app is free to download, but you need a membership plan to listen to content. An Audible Plus membership costs $7.95 a month and gets you access to podcasts, some meditation programs, and a selection of free titles. You can then choose to purchase additional content.
For a monthly cost of $14.95 you can enjoy Audible Premium Plus membership which gets you into the bonus material in the Audible Plus catalog, and one title a month from a selection of best sellers and new releases. Currently, Amazon Prime members get any two titles free with an Audible Premium Plus trial.
Audible is available for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store
Audiobooks.com is not as well known as Audible but it’s a comprehensive audiobook platform that offers a nicely designed website, and decent iOS and Android apps. According to its website, Audiobooks.com has existed since 2012, is based in Canada, and is run by “a bunch of book and tech nerds.”

Audible Premium Plus costs $14.95 per month, but for that price you get not one, but two audiobooks: one from Audiobooks.com’s entire library of over 300,000 titles, and the other from their VIP library.

In addition to audiobooks, Audiobooks.com members have access to exclusive audio news, audio magazines, audio summaries, and sleep and meditation content. It’s also a really strong player in the podcast marketplace, offering its members unlimited access to over 100+ million podcast episodes.

The book catalog includes thousands of titles, and you can search for and listen to podcasts instantly. With Audiobooks.com’s patent-pending syncing technology, you can start reading a book on your smartphone, continue reading it on your laptop, and then finish reading it at home on a tablet. We particularly like the app’s customizable sleep timer for bedtime reading.

Audiobooks.com is available for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store
Barnes & Noble NOOK
NOOK, a platform for Android-based e-readers developed by Barnes & Noble, went on sale in late 2009. Barnes & Noble still produces NOOK devices, but the brand has branched out to offer software and content.
If you download the Nook app, you can instantly explore over 75,000 free eBooks and more than 10,000 free audiobooks. For premium content, you’ll have to sign up for the paid “B&N Audiobooks” service. This is a monthly subscription that costs $14.99 and gets you one monthly audiobook credit.
Once you’ve downloaded the audiobook of your choice, it will sync to your NOOK app and you can start listening via the in-app player straight away. If you do have a standalone NOOK device, the app and your e-reader will stay synced while you listen. The app is CarPlay-compatible, offers bookmarking abilities, the option to set up sleep timers, and can change the speed of the narration.
Barnes & Noble NOOK available for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store

Google Play Book
Google Play Books for iOS and Google Play Books & Audiobooks for Android are free apps that don’t require a subscription. Thus they are recommended apps for anyone who only occasionally listens to audiobooks, such as when on vacation, or for anyone who isn’t sure whether they will enjoy the audiobook experience and wants to try it out without signing up for a membership.
If you wish to download individual titles, you will need to pay for each one. There is no monthly subscription fee. For the iOS app, you need to purchase the titles on the Google Play Books webstore and they will sync to your mobile device.
The apps are simple and make it easy to see what titles you have downloaded. The audiobooks themselves sync across all your devices, including in the car with CarPlay. Anyone who uses the Google Play Books iOS app can enjoy integration with Siri; you can use Siri Shortcuts, such as “Hey Siri, play my audiobook.”
The ability to skip back or forward 30 seconds within the apps is very handy if you missed a few words due to external noise, for example. Furthermore, you can set a smart sleep timer for one hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or until the end of the chapter.
Kobo Books
The Kobo Books platform is another one that started with hardware; the original Kobo eReader was launched in 2010. Rakuten Kobo still makes electronic reading tablets, but the apps, available for iOS
and Android, can be used as standalone software on your existing smartphone.
Kobo Books, currently the cheapest of the big audiobook platforms, offers over six million eBooks and audiobooks despite the lower monthly cost. After a 30-day free trial, a Kobo Books membership will cost you $9.99 a month. Each month, your monthly fee of $9.99 gets you one credit to use on a new audiobook, regardless of its listed price.
If you visit Kobo Books, you can view titles by traditional categories, but the site also offers some curated collections, such as “Audiobooks that will change your life”, “Audiobooks that come to life through audio”, and “Exciting audiobooks for kids.” Once you’ve purchased an audiobook via the site, it syncs to your phone.
Kobo Books’ audiobook player has a clean and uncluttered design. App features include the ability to adjust listening speed, the option to set a sleep timer, and a quick tap function to skip back or forwards ten seconds.
Kobo Books is available for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store