If you like to read, you may also enjoy listening to audiobooks, but if you like to save money, you'd probably argue that audiobooks aren't all that great. It's okay, everybody knows audiobooks are expensive in comparison to the hard copies, or even online reader versions of the same books.
Now, I love to read and save money like the rest of us, and I have a very frugal friend that loves to read (and listen) even more. She prompted this article because she, like you, simply did not know where to find inexpensive or even free audiobooks. Is there a cheaper way to purchase them? A way to borrow them, perhaps. Are there clubs to join? These are questions she sought answers to, and maybe you're wondering too.
There are actually plenty of ways to save money on audiobooks. It just takes a little dedication to your passion for searching out the greatest titles available. In some cases, you can even listen for FREE!
Follow along here to see which service fits best with your audiobook listening habits.
Audible - an Amazon company that dominates the marketplace in terms of selection for audiobook titles is a great deal for all levels of readers. If you don't plan to listen to as many audiobooks each month as you're actually reading, it's a really great deal because Audible gives you one FREE audiobook each month with your $15 monthly subscription. Boom! You already saved $5-$15 or more on that audiobook, over purchasing it. You'll also get discounts on the retail prices for books you're interested in purchasing. And, you can keep those purchases forever even if you cancel your membership, which you can do anytime.
Taking into consideration that a typical audiobook is anywhere from 15-20 hours (on average), $15 a month breaks down to less than $1 per hour of listening time, for just the one free audiobook. The 30% discount on all the other titles throughout the site, with the membership of course, is just another great way to save. This discount applies to rentals and purchases with ad-free, premium audio, streaming directly through your favorite mobile device. When you break down the numbers comparing the amount of listening time to your overall cost, you're surely saving money over purchasing these same titles at the bookstore in audio format. All the while, building your own private library from which to choose for your listening pleasure again in the future. You can also rest easy in your selections. If you dislike a title, exchange it for free anytime, all the time.
Amazon - for just $10 per month you can get a Kindle Unlimited membership through your Amazon account. This membership will give you access to reading and listening to over one million titles available in the Kindle Unlimited library. The available titles may not be as many as with Audible, but stream to any device and cancel anytime. You can get started with a 30 day FREE trial and stream to any device with the app, or your kindle, whichever you prefer - your books will be saved at the pages you left, no matter which device you're using.
If you're already an Amazon Prime member, there are thousands of titles in your Amazon Prime Membership with Prime Reading. Search books, magazines and audiobooks for absolutely FREE. Search for 'Prime Reading' under the 'Manage Your Prime Membership' option in your Amazon account and check out all the available titles with audible narration.
Prime members can also access a rotating selection of around 50 audiobooks at any given time on Audible, including podcasts, for free. The selection is small, but the price is right!
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble - some of us like our old favorites and Barnes & Noble is definitely at the top of their game in terms of bookselling practices. As they keep up with Amazon, this bookseller offers plenty of selections of audiobooks via the nook app or in the store and online respectively, for great prices. Selections vary but there are over 600 titles available under $5 on the website. That should be a good start. Find Nook (audio)books under $2.99 and under $5, and celebrate no subscriptions or membership fees with the 'Daily Find'. The Nook audio title of the day at the time of writing was only $3.95.
Finally, if you're devouring audiobooks at an unstoppable rate and you've already maximized your savings everywhere, there are still a few places to rent audiobooks for free.
Overdrive - is paired with over 30,000 libraries in the nation and that gives you access to all the audiobooks at your own public library with just your library card. In other words, no credit card required. No subscription required either.
Simply install the app on your smartphone or tablet (just about anything you use is probably supported) and start searching available titles. Features include offline listening and books are automatically 'checked in' to your library when you've finished listening. Some titles can even be burned to CD or copied to portable media if you don't have the app.
The selection here may require a little more patience, but it doesn't get better than FREE.
Other Notable Mentions
Scribd - for just $9 per month, a comparable and fair price in relation to other services, Scribd has a fairly large selection of popular audiobooks for your perusal. Don't forget that with this subscription you also have access to the incredible book collection, for all of you old schoolers that still need a real book once in awhile.
Downpour - Buy and rent books for $13 per month and accumulate credits with those rentals and purchases to use toward more free audiobooks, that you can keep forever. Includes new releases and New York Times' bestsellers!
Hoopla - with a concept similar to Overdrive in utilizing your public library to give you access to audiobook titles, ebooks, music, TV shows and other media for free, this is just another great service all around.
Librivox - completely FREE audiobooks, though there are some titles available for purchase. Read by volunteers, this selection of audiobooks are public domain. Think classic literature and other great stories.
And there it is ladies and gentlemen. Get your audio on, for less!
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