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    What to download
    23 September 2021

    Nafisa Akabor

    The best audiobook apps

    Here's our roundup of some of the best audiobook apps.

    Audiobooks offer the ultimate handsfree reading experience, be it for a long commute, getting through chores or working out. There is no shortage of audiobook apps, and each has unique features, with some combining ebook reader and audiobook player features. Common features include sleep timers, reading speed controls, the option to stream content or download for offline use.

    Here’s our roundup of some of the best audiobook apps that are free to download, but have in-app purchases.

    Audible
    Amazon-owned Audible is without a doubt the premium audiobook platform currently available, with the widest selection of titles. Subscribers can access both podcasts and Audible Originals – audiobook titles exclusive to the platform. It currently offers two subscription models: Audible Plus for unlimited access to a select catalogue that is only available while you have an active subscription; and Audible Plus Premium for access to all Audible’s content, which provides you with credit that you can use to purchase a title to keep in your library, even after you cancel your subscription.

    Google Play Books
    Google Play Books supports a range of book types, including ebooks, audiobooks, textbooks, and even comic books. While it doesn’t have as extensive a catalogue as Audible, you’re not required to buy a subscription and can buy audiobooks as you want. Audiobooks sync seamlessly through the app. You can start listening in a browser and pick up from the last point on your mobile device. If you have a Google Home smart speaker, you could also ask it to read to you from there.

    podcast

    Scribd
    Scribd is another subscription-based platform for a flat fee that gives you unlimited access to digital content like ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, sheet music, magazines, and newspapers. In theory, paid subscribers can listen to an unlimited number of audiobooks, although the platform occasionally limits the titles that can be accessed within a single month. Scribd also has a limited catalogue, but still offers an excellent selection of classics and recent bestsellers. It claims to have original content you won’t find elsewhere, through its own publishing of experimental works in audio and text formats. It offers a 30-day free trial.

    LibriVox Audiobooks
    LibriVox offers free audiobook versions of classic books in the public domain, read by volunteers. In addition to unlimited access to over 50 000 audiobooks, the LibriVox catalogue features more than 30 languages. This app is a must if you’re into classics, poetry, and more. With its robust search function, you can browse by genre, author or title, search by keyword, or look through the recently added audiobooks. The homepage has a log of latest releases. You can test it for 30 days to see if you like it.

    Libby
    Libby deserves an honorary mention. It’s an app that allows you to borrow from various libraries with your library card. If you don’t have a library card, you can register for one or more online. However, since their content is sourced from public libraries, they have a very limited audiobook selection, but it does support offline listening and Send to Kindle.

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    Nafisa Akabor