Audiobooks are Expensive! Here’s How You Can Listen on the Cheap
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Audiobooks make reading so much easier, since you can listen to a book while traveling, working out, and even working. Short commutes or a 10-minute walk around the block provide you with the perfect opportunity to listen to a few pages — with audiobooks, you can never complain that you don’t have enough time to read.

There’s one big drawback, though: audiobooks are expensive. Many newer titles cost $20 or $30, which is quite a bit more than you’d pay for a hard copy or an ebook. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which you can get your audiobook fix without breaking the bank. Try out one of these methods and share your best tips in the comments below!

Check Your Library

If you think the only type of audiobook that your library has is in a bulky CD case, think again. Many libraries use the OverDrive platform Borrow eBooks, Audiobooks, and More for Free with OverDrive for Android Borrow eBooks, Audiobooks, and More for Free with OverDrive for Android Did you know that you can check out eBooks from your local library and read them on your Android device or eReader? You can, and it's free and simple. Read More , which allows you to borrow and listen to audiobooks for free 10 Of The Best Free Audiobooks From BooksShouldBeFree That You Should Listen To 10 Of The Best Free Audiobooks From BooksShouldBeFree That You Should Listen To Read More . You can even put holds on books, and the book of your choice will be automatically checked out to you once it becomes available.


Even if all of your local libraries use OverDrive, each one has a different collection within the platform. Therefore, if you have a membership with two or more different library branches, you will be able to attach both profiles to the app.

You can reserve a popular audiobook at both libraries, which can decrease your time spent on the waiting list and also increase the amount of time you have with the book. Even if you check out the same audiobook with more than one library, they should sync to ensure your spot in the book was saved.

Hoopla is another platform that connects with your library. Unlike OverDrive, you’re limited to eight audiobooks a month. Hoopla also offers ebooks and video rentals, and the app has a kids’ mode so children can listen to audiobooks or watch movies without wandering to other sites or apps.

Use Multiple Audible Promos

Audible 14 Amazing Audible Courses (& How to Get One for Free) 14 Amazing Audible Courses (& How to Get One for Free) The Great Courses are reason enough to go to Audible. We pick the best series of lectures in science, the arts and humanities by some of the most respected scholars in their fields. Read More is one of the top websites to buy audiobooks — you have probably seen their promotions for a free audiobook or their free Groupon deals Amazon Local vs. Groupon: And the Winner Is... Amazon Local vs. Groupon: And the Winner Is... Amazon has gone into direct competition with Groupon thanks to its new Amazon Local service. We investigate whether or not Amazon is able to compete? Read More  (or heard one of the many podcasts they sponsor). What many people do not know is that you can use these free promotions more than once. Once your Audible account has been unbilled for six months or more, you can cash in another offer.


If you cannot get a promo to work on your account, just chat with Audible support. One time when I did not qualify for three free months, they rewarded me with three months of promotional pricing for $7.99.

Also, when I tried to cancel my Audible account, I was offered a $20 credit to stay. I used the credit and then proceeded to cancel my account.

Add-On Narration

When you purchase a book from Amazon, there is sometimes the option to add on Audible narration for an extra cost. Many times, when a publisher promotes an ebook for a discounted price, the add-on Audible narration also reflects a discount How to Get the Best Discounted Deals on Amazon How to Get the Best Discounted Deals on Amazon There are lots of great deals on Amazon, but you need to know how to find them. Here are some tips and tools to help. Read More . For example, The Shoemaker’s Wife would cost over $30 or one Audible credit, which starts at $9.56. But because the ebook was priced at $1.99 with a $3.99 Audible add-on, you could score both for less than $6 on sale.


The Audible narration also connects seamlessly with your ebook, meaning you can switch between reading and listening without having to re-find your spot in the book.

Listen to Kindle Unlimited Audiobooks

Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 a month and has over one million ebooks to chose from. Many of these titles comes with free or inexpensive Audible narration. Look for Kindle Unlimited books Kindle Unlimited -- Is It Really Worth It? Kindle Unlimited -- Is It Really Worth It? Amazon's rumored "Netflix for books" service is finally here: Kindle Unlimited. In theory, it sounds fantastic. But is it all that it is hyped up to be? Read More that have a little headphone icon next to them. For example, The Hunger Games is available to read and listen to for free.


Affordable Alternatives to Audible

Audible might dominate the market space for audiobooks, but it is not the only option available. Here are a few more to look into:

  • Librivox offers completely free audiobooks. Most books are public domain, such as all of Jane Austen’s novels and the Sherlock Holmes adventures.
  • DownPour offers audiobook rentals starting at $6.95. For short to normal-sized books, you will have 30 days to listen. For longer books, you will be granted a 60-day rental.
  • Scribd costs $8.99 a month and gives you unlimited access to Scribd Select audiobooks, as well as one audiobook of your choice, each month.

While these are all more affordable than Audible, they definitely have a smaller selection of books.

Do you like to listen to audiobooks? Where do you buy or borrow them? How do you keep them from getting too expensive? Share some of your favorite reads in the comments below.




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  1. Gerry
    December 1, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I've recently gotten a few titles from Chirp, another service offering cheap audiobooks. Choices are very limited and their app doesn't have a sleep timer, but I've found some things I like, and the narration is by professionials, unlike Librivox. Also, Audible has recently been offering discounted titles daily, possibly in response to the competition.

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  3. Adam
    May 14, 2017 at 5:21 am

    My favorite app for audiobooks is playster, they have all the books audible has, I pay $15/month and I get unlimited access to the full library, I also like them because they have ebooks and music.

  4. Robyn
    April 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    TuneIn radio had been one of my favorite apps for years and their premium service has audiobooks!! $7.99/month! And the books are new and current!

  5. Cindy
    March 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    I listen to about 8 books a month. I have been renting them from my local library and purchasing them from Audible/Amazon or ITunes. It's just so expensive! I will get a few in a series I can find at my library and then have to buy the ones they decide not to carry. I was actually searching the net to see if there is a National Library or something where you can get a membership and download multiple books per month with just the yearly membership fee. I'd be thrilled to be able to do that!