How to Listen to Audiobooks (Without Supporting Amazon)

Listen (haha), I love audiobooks. They are great whether you are trying to multitask, want something to fall asleep to, or just can’t seem to focus on words on a page. Unfortunately, the mainstream source of audiobooks is Audible, the service owned by Jeff Bezos that has haunted every podcast ad-read in the last five years. Luckily for you, I know how you can avoid paying Amazon $15 a month and still listen to great audiobooks.

Option One: Spotify

Using Spotify as your means of audiobook-listening is probably the simplest method on this list. All you need is the app and a Spotify account, which I would guess there’s a good chance you already have. Not to mention, it’s totally free! It does mean that your options will be in the public domain, but Spotify sponsored a series of classic audiobooks including Persuasion, Passing and Great Expectations. These are particularly great because each chapter is a separate podcast episode. Some podcasts that feature audiobooks, such as LibreCast Audiobooks, have one full book as one full episode, which makes listening more difficult. However, there are also podcasts like “Phoebe Reads a Mystery,” and “Anne of Green Gables” read by Mary Kate Wiles.

Option Two: Libby

Libby is the main way that I listen to audiobooks. Libby is a free app, but you do need a library card to gain access to audiobooks. If you live in America, you should be able to get a library card from your local library for free. From there, you can check out audiobooks for twenty-one days at a time. They won’t have everything, but they do have a very large selection. For popular books, you may need to place a hold and wait a few weeks before you can gain access, but I just like to remind myself that patience is a virtue. I also combat this by planning my reads ahead, looking for books that I might be reading in a few month’s time and placing a hold on them early.

Option Three: Scribd

Let’s say you aren’t patient or you feel like you need more than twenty-one days to finish an audiobook. Another option is Scribd, a digital library of audiobooks, ebooks, and magazines that you can gain access to for $9.99 a month after a 30 day free trial. I personally do not use Scribd because I am cheap and don’t like the audiobook interface as much as I do Libby’s. However, I do know many people who love it, and a subscription does give you access to other types of media.

Option Four: Libro.fm

All of these sound great, but what if you just want to own an audiobook? You could buy a physical one, but then you need something that plays CDs, and good luck finding one of those. The best option I know of is Libro.fm, a website that allows you to purchase audiobooks individually or sign up for a monthly subscription. Even better, you support independent bookstores! When you purchase from Libro.fm a portion of the profits support the independent bookstore of your choice.

Where do you listen to audiobooks? Whose audiobook interface do you like best? Do you know any good audiobooks available on Spotify? Let me know, I would love to hear!

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