The 11 Best Audiobook Resources For All Ages

Introduction

As popular as paper books are, the world of audiobooks has taken off in the last five years with a 2020 market share of around 3.26 billion dollars. It’s not surprising; with the advancements of ebook and mobile technology, it's even easier to carry around an entire library of material in your bag. At times where pulling out a device might not be possible, audiobooks are a great way to catch up on the latest releases, learn new things, and entertain yourself. Perhaps that’s the biggest advantage of audiobooks; you can listen to them just about anywhere. Listed below, we have some of our favorite audiobooks resources for listeners of all ages. Let's get to it.

1. Open Culture

This might not be the most well-designed website on our list, but Open Culture does offer something that some of the bigger names do not, 1000 free audiobooks. From Hemingway to Shakespeare, the site has more classics than you could ever hope to listen to. Non-fiction and poetry are also well represented as well as some fantastic short story collections. With a tonne of free courses, movies and podcasts also hosted on the site; Open Culture truly is a blessing for those wanting to educate themselves.


2. Audible

The most famous audiobook empire has grown beyond recognition since its acquisition by Amazon in 2008. Now over 1 billion hours of audio are enjoyed by customers the world over each year, the latest best sellers and hit podcasts available within just a few clicks. With an attractive 30-day free trial period and various subscription packages made to fit your level of consumption, Audible offers not only the most up-to-date content but also produces its own original material too.


3. Downpour

With over 30 years in the industry, Downpour's parent company, Blackstone Audio, stands as one of the largest independent audiobook publishers in the United States. With editor picks, staff choices, and a tie-in app to listen on the move, it stands as an impressive alternative for those who wish to avoid using mega corporations for everything. Additionally, they still offer CD audiobooks, which may be preferable for older users who are still attached to their stereos. 

4. Scribd

Founded in 2007, Scribd is an e-book and audiobook platform with over 60 million published documents and over 1 million titles available. Available on Android, IOS, and most tablet-based technology, Scribd works on a subscription-based model, allowing users unlimited access to all its content. With over 80 million subscribers, Scribd has been referred to as 'the Netflix of books.'

5. Spotify

That's right, Spotify! Most people may be familiar with the juggernaut of a streaming service, primarily focusing on music, but Spotify is also a great source for audiobooks. Simply type 'audiobooks' into the Spotify search bar, and you will find a surprising amount of content; it even has custom audiobook playlists! So, the next time you listen to music, why not explore the world of audiobooks on Spotify.

6. hoopla

hoopla's niche is bringing the public library into the digital age with the utmost ease. US users can check if their local library supports hoopla, then log in to access movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics, and TV shows to enjoy on their computer, tablet, phone – and even TV! The best part? As it's your public library, it's all completely free. The service is supported with its own app, and titles can be downloaded and enjoyed offline anywhere. What's not to like?

7. Audiobooks.com

You can't fault this company for having the clearest name! Audiobooks.com is a top-tier service alongside the likes of Audible, offering over 200,000 titles and two free audiobooks with its free trial. As expected, the latest bestsellers are on offer as well as 90 million free podcast episodes. You can choose between standard and VIP packages, and if you're ever stuck for what to choose, simply have a look at what other members are recommending. 

8. Storynory

One for the kids now. Storynory is a simple to use resource which offers FREE audio stories for children, including fairytales, original tales, myths, poems and music which are all read beautifully by professional actors. There's an app for little ones who have access to tablets, or the tales can be enjoyed via desktop with a bold and simplistic media player. If you're eager to show your children some good fashioned morale tales or install a love of poetry and rhyme, then Storynory is for you.

9. Kobo

Kobo is an interesting audiobook platform that offers a few interesting deals to its subscribers. If you want to become a Kobo user, a free 30-day trial is available to test the site out. After you've subscribed, you are given a 'credit' each month as part of your paid subscription; this credit can be used to purchase any audiobook regardless of price.

10. Bookbeat

Bookbeat is an up-and-coming audiobook platform that has seen a lot of growth over the past couple of years. Bookbeak works like Spotify, or Netflix, with its subscription-based system, and its core aim is to bring the book reading experience to people who have busy schedules. CEO Niclas Sandin said, “Our success comes from the fact that you can’t read a book when you’re riding a bike or driving a car, but you can listen to one. We fill that gap for people who love books but lead a busy life.”

11. Project Gutenberg

Let's say you would love to get into audiobooks, but you haven't got the budget for a paid subscription, then Project Gutenberg might just be the site for you. With over 60,000 pieces of work, Project Gutenberg is completely free. With constant updates, this site relies on hard-working people and crowdfunding, which if you find yourself able, you can contribute towards too.

About the Author

Sam Walker-Smart

Sam Walker-Smart is a British culture journalist currently based in Barcelona. His work has appeared in CLASH, The Huffington Post, Vinyl Me Please, Barcelona Metropolitan, Little White Lies, and many other outlets. He enjoys weird folklore, sad songs, and good beer.