The Cheapest Way to Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are super convenient. You can listen to your favorite author’s new book while doing the housework or enjoy the New York Times bestseller while driving to work. But let’s face it – audiobooks can be pretty expensive.

Popular audiobook platforms charge steep subscriptions. While some audiobook services offer high-value products, they’re not the only available option.

There are several straightforward ways to listen to audiobooks and not spend a fortune. Some services even offer free audiobooks, which is a great place to start. Here’s everything you need to know about the cheapest ways to listen to audiobooks.

You might be a little apprehensive about the idea if you’ve never listened to an audiobook. While they don’t fully replace the immersive experience of reading, audiobooks provide you with an opportunity to catch up on all the books you don’t have time to read.

Finding cheaper audiobooks is possible, but you must put in a little effort.

Go to Your Local Library

You don’t have to go to the library, but you need a library card. Not many people are aware of libraries’ hidden treasures, even those on the hunt for audiobooks.

You can rent an audiobook from your library, not purchase it, as long as you have a valid card. Modern libraries rely on platforms like OverDrive, Libby, or Hoopla that facilitate this process.

You must download the app on your phone, enter your library card number, and search for the audiobook you want to listen to. The only potential downside to this option is that sometimes the audiobook you’re looking for isn’t available.

But the best part about renting audiobooks from a library is that you have access to a vast network of libraries, each bringing its resources to the platforms.

Therefore, your local library is the perfect solution if you’re not too bothered about purchasing audiobooks but about listening to and returning them.

Try Multiple Audible Promotions

If you’re looking for a cheap way to listen to audiobooks, that likely means you’re trying to avoid Audible. This massively popular Amazon audiobook app is the go-to choice for many, but their standard subscription is $14.95 per month.

That might be out of reach for some, especially if you don’t have enough time to listen to all the audiobooks you want. However, it’s important to point out that Audible also has a 30-day free trial. Usually, this means users can choose one audiobook from the vast catalog and pick two Audible originals.

Sounds great, but what do you do when the 30 days are over?

You can use them again. The free trial is not a one-time-only offer. Of course, you can’t access another free trial right after the first – you have to wait for six months. While this method gives you free access to an impressive Audible catalog, it’s a limited offer.

Use Narration Feature for Kindle eBooks

Did you know that you can listen to audiobooks on your Kindle device? There are two conditions, though. You need Bluetooth headphones and a Kindle device that supports the connectivity.

Some might say that the third condition is a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, a less expensive alternative to Audible. Sure, you can pay $9.99 per month and access many audiobooks, but there’s an important caveat.

Once you’re no longer a subscriber, you won’t have access to the audiobooks on your Kindle. Consider another solution if this doesn’t seem like a great deal to you. Some of the eBooks you’ve purchased from Amazon have an Audible Narration add-on.

If you see a small headphone icon next to a title on your Kindle, you can listen to this book instead of reading it.

This feature isn’t free, but it’s typically under $4 and offers seamless integration with the eBook. Essentially, this means you can read your book on Kindle at home, get in your car to go to work, and listen to the narration from the last page you read.

Buy Audiobooks From Google Play Books

Paying a subscription fee for an audiobook service only makes sense if you’re an avid reader and you take advantage of that kind of access. However, many people only want to purchase a single title, perhaps when planning a hike or going on a long trip.

But what if you don’t have a Kindle to access the Audible Narration feature?

You can rely on your smartphone or tablet to purchase a single audiobook from Google Play Books, an official Google app for eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts, and more.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You download the Google Play Books from the Google Play store or App Store. Some Android phones have a built-in app.
  2. Search for the audiobook title.
  3. Tap the audiobook’s cover image.
  4. Tap the price button followed by “Buy Audiobook.”

You can also choose the “Buy as Gift” option and send the audiobook to a friend.

Keep in mind that you can also use the Google Play Books app to listen to audiobooks. All you need to do is go to the “Library” section in the app and play the audiobook.

Give Chirp a Chance

Chirp is another service that doesn’t require a subscription but allows you to buy affordable audiobooks directly. Granted, you must sign up to the website, but it’s free.

The benefit of signing up is that you’ll receive daily emails about special offers and deals, which sometimes means buying an audiobook for $3.50.

Every audiobook you purchase via Chirp is yours forever, and you also can create a wish list. It alerts you when the desired audiobook goes on sale so that you can grab it at a discount price.

The only potential downside is that the promotions and deals are mostly random and not catered to your personal taste. But you still might get access to some excellent audiobooks at an affordable price.

Get a Scribd Subscription

Sometimes it isn’t easy to choose between purchasing single audiobook titles and having a monthly subscription to a platform.

If you love audiobooks and want access to a great library but also enjoy eBooks, magazines, sheet music, podcasts, and even various research documents, Scribd might be the best option.

Users must pay $8.99 per month, but the 30-day trial is a great place to start. You can cancel anytime, and the Scribd app is available for Android and iOS devices. Scribd also has excellent customer support, which is great if you run into any problems using the service.

Access Public Domain Audiobooks

There is more than one way to access not cheap but free audiobooks. Several services offer entirely free audiobooks, but only a few are standouts.


This service offers nearly 50,000 audiobook titles that have outlasted their copyright. These books are easy to download, and once you have the file it’s yours forever.

Librivox audiobooks are read by volunteers, not paid actors. You can find many great classics on the platform, including “Moby Dick” and novels by Jane Austen.

Open Culture

This is another platform for public domain audiobooks, mainly consisting of well-known titles such as “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens or “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. Open Culture’s library is not extensive, but there are enough free audiobooks to keep you busy for a while.


You can search for free audiobooks on Lit2Go by author, book, and genre, and even through collections such as “African-American Literature” or “Math.” You can stream audiobooks or download them to your device. Either way, you can access them at any time for free without registering on the website.

Don’t Forget YouTube

YouTube has over 50 million active channels, some of which upload free audiobooks as video files. Though some exceptions exist, these books are usually a part of the public domain. Sometimes, audiobooks are split into several videos.

But you can also run into a YouTube audiobook over seven hours, including “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, read by Steve Parker.

YouTube allows you to change the playback speed, so you can listen to your favorites at the pace that works for you. Also, if you need to stop listening, YouTube will remember the timestamp.

Enjoy All the Audiobooks Without the Expensive Fees

If you love audiobooks, there are many practical ways to listen to them without paying for pricey subscriptions. But even if you want a subscription, some affordable platforms, like Scribd, are worth considering.

You don’t have to pay the Audible fee but enjoy the multiple free trials from time to time. Also, your library may be the best source for audiobooks, especially if you don’t mind renting them. Finally, public domain audiobooks are available on several free platforms, including YouTube.

Where will your next audiobook come from? Let us know in the comments section below.

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