Audiobook Downloads and Rentals

Updated 10-01-2015

From subscription services that give you a set number of audiobooks each month to pay-as-you-go sites and CD rental services, we've tested all the best sources for audiobooks so you can get the best deals on the books you want. Whether you listen to audiobooks on your MP3 player, your computer or your car stereo, these sites can give you access to an enormous library of books, from Jane Austen and Herman Melville to JK Rowling and Stieg Larsson.

Audiobook Downloads and Rentals

Services: Our Ratings: Bottom Line:
Audible Rating:stars
Membership plan saves frequent readers money on the biggest download library in the audiobook business
Booksfree Rating:stars
Fast, free shipping with the biggest rental library makes this a great service for frequent listeners
eMusic Audiobooks Rating:stars
Cheapest plans and good selection, though it may lack some high-profile titles; audio quality is not top-notch
Simply Audiobooks Rating:stars
There are two plans to choose from, but the rental service is by far the best bargain
iTunes Rating:stars
Better for casual listeners; not as cheap as subscription services; must use iTunes/iPod/iPhone Rating:stars
Same pricing as Audible, but for streaming books; you lose access to your books if you cancel your plan
Barnes & Noble Rating:stars
Good selection, often cheaper than iTunes, but checkout, download, and audio are disappointing

NextAdvisor Audiobook Downloads and Rentals Blog Headlines

Classic Book Titles Available for Your Listening Enjoyment
Oct 5, 2015 - You can find an audiobook for just about any niche reader. Whether you're into sci-fi, romance, historical retellings or religious education, you're almost guaranteed to be able to find the right book for your listening pleasure. For those who aren't as keen on the trendy or up-and-coming literat...

3 Audiobooks for the Solo Traveler
Sep 25, 2015 - Hitting the open road on your own is an admirable pastime. It takes a certain level of dedication and appreciation for exploration to travel alone, and thankfully audiobooks can make the long hours more enjoyable for the solo traveler. Whether you're driving, flying, backpacking or sailing, audio...

Are Audiobooks the New Library Card?
Sep 9, 2015 - Most of us remember a time when we had to make a visit to our local library in order to get our hands on a copy of our favorite book or a new release. With our library card in hand, there was no title that could not be rented out to us, and the money [...]

3 Audiobooks to Teach You a New Life Skill
Sep 4, 2015 - Whether you're looking to buff up on your conversational skills or learn how to interact with and inspire others, an audiobook might be just what you need. Many people opt for audiobooks because it gives them the chance to breeze through any number of titles from just about anywhere. In addition ...

3 Apps for Listening to Audiobooks on the Go
Jul 30, 2015 - You may or may not remember a time when audiobooks were only made to be played using a cassette tape or CD. Those days are long gone, as audiobook lovers are enjoying their chance to bring their favorite books wherever they go, always available at their fingertips. That?s because some of our top-...


The Audiobook Advantage

Audiobooks are an increasingly popular way for very busy people to keep up with their reading. At one time audiobooks were known as "books on tape," but with tape sales only representing 3% of the market, most people are listening with their CD players or digital media players. Buying or renting audiobooks online is a convenient way to get the titles you want, when you want them. While iTunes and Audible seem to dominate the category, there are actually a number of services for customers to choose from, offering differences in price, delivery, selection and audio format. Many of the less well-known services offer advantages over their more famous competition. We set out to help readers find the service that's best for them.

Audiobook prices and plans

Are you a voracious reader? Do you read or listen to a book a month? Maybe two? If so, an audiobook subscription service is probably for you. With a subscription plan you get a certain number of credits per month, with most titles having a cost of a single credit (though a few titles cost more). You can find one-credit-per-month subscription plans starting as low as $9.95, a vast savings over the price of a non-subscription download which can be $30.00 or more. If you just buy the occasional book for summer listening, you'll probably want to go with single downloads from Audible or iTunes.

Audiobook formats

How will you listen to your audiobooks? Different services offer different audio formats. Rent-by-mail services offer their audiobooks as traditional CDs, which provide great sound and are playable on CD players and CD-ROM drives, but the audiobook is not yours to keep. Audiobook download services use a variety of different formats, so you'll need to make sure the service you choose is compatible with your computer or digital audio player. You should also take into account sound quality. Not all audiobook files are created equally. We spent time listening carefully to audiobooks from each service so that even the most discerning listener will be able to find a service that suits their taste.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Advertiser Disclosure: is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most but not all of the companies whose products and services we review. For credit cards, we review cards from all of the top 10 US issuers by purchase volume (according to Issue 1035 of The Nilson Report, Feb 2014) excluding issuers that require additional accounts to be a cardholder and private label issuers. We may also review cards from other issuers in select cases. We do not review all products in a given category. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.