This article is a part of an ongoing series on how to minimize or eliminate Amazon use from our lives. We’re highlighting the best Amazon alternatives for those who have ethical, moral, or environmental qualms with the trillion-dollar company.
Not everybody realizes this, but Audible is an Amazon product.
While it’s convenient to be able to access spoken word entertainment like audiobooks and podcasts through a monthly subscription, Audible is actually harmful to the industry at large. Bummer, we know.
Most notably, when Amazon creates Audible Exclusive audiobooks — like Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” or Andy Weir’s “The Martian” — those audiobooks are not made available to libraries or bookstores to lend and sell. This harms accessibility.
And of course, any choice to purchase audiobooks from Amazon is a choice to give more money to a megacorporation and a missed opportunity to give that money to a company better aligned with your values.
Fortunately, there are easy-to-use Audible alternatives.
We've personally tested 100% of these recommendations, and are sharing our authentic reviews. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
If you're short on time, here's a quick rundown of our top recommendations:
- Libro.fm — Just like Audible (same price, same audiobook offerings, great app), but it supports a local independent bookstore of your choosing
- Scribd — Pay for a monthly subscription and get unlimited audiobooks
- Libby — Checkout free audiobooks through your public library
Alternatives to Using Amazon’s Audible
Libro.fm is the only audiobook provider that directly supports local independent bookstores.
Libro.fm is just like Audible in that there’s a monthly subscription (roughly $15, just like Audible), and you get a monthly book credit where you can actually own and keep the audiobook (similar to Audible), but for every book you download, you also get so support a local independent bookstore of your choosing (unlike Audible).
Outside of Audible Exclusives, Libro.fm has the exact same wide selection of audiobooks.
Libro.fm is at the forefront of supporting local bookstores and it’s one of the easiest swaps away from Amazon you can make.
Scribd allows you to pay a monthly subscription and get access to unlimited audiobooks each month. While its selection isn’t as vast as Libro.fm’s catalog — it’s a great way to get easy access to enough popular audiobooks to fill your day with words.
If you’re heading on a roadtrip or you’re trying to beat last year’s reading goal, Scribd is for you.
Libby (through its parent company OverDrive) partners with local libraries to provide free access to digital ebooks and audiobooks through your library card.
Just like checking out physical books at the library, there are a limited number of audiobooks available. If there’s a copy available, you can check it out immediately. If not, just join the waiting list.
Chirp is an audiobook platform that lets you avoid subscription fees altogether. Instead of charging you monthly, they offer huge discounts on different audiobooks every day. We’re talking about $3 audiobooks here, people!
When you buy their discounted audiobooks, they’re yours to keep. Essentially, authors and publishers will often request that a certain title goes on sale for a limited time. That’s your chance to download it from Chirp. They also claim to offer discounted rates on non-sale audiobooks all year long.
It’s not just random books that get discounted, either. They have everything from newly-released New York Times bestsellers to tried and true classics. Plus, they have a money back guarantee on whatever audiobooks you buy.
This one is a little bit more unique — but stick with us. Speechify is, ultimately, an accessibility tool that turns any text into spoken word.
The founder of Speechify, Cliff Weitzman, is dyslexic and describes how reading a sentence takes him “the same amount of energy and brain power as most people take to solve a long division math equation in their head.”
He learned how to code a tool that could help them — and now it’s available as a mobile app and browser extension.
If you’re drawn to audiobooks because you have ADHD, dyslexia, blindness or low vision, or whatever other reason — Speechify might be a helpful tool. Plus, if you buy an open-source audiobook or happen to have a PDF or digital version available — the app can read it to you. You can even choose the voice.
We’ve been trial-ing their tools and it’s genuinely impressive to hear how much better the simulated voices are than Siri or Alexa.
Do you remember when the only way you could listen to an audiobook was to pop a new disc into the CD player every few chapters? (At least it was better than trying to keep your album of cassette tapes from melting when you left them in your car on a long summer road trip.)
Many publishers still make physical audiobook media available — it’s just a little bit harder to find. The easiest approach is actually to visit a used book store and find their audiobook section. They likely have a lot of older CDs available — and we’ll bet they’re really cheap.
Like Libby, Hoopla is available through hundreds of libraries across the United States. It’s most well known for its TV and movie catalog (check out our article on Amazon Prime Video alternatives) but it also has a great selection of audiobooks and e-books.
Unlike Libby, Hoopla doesn’t have any waitlists. They don’t have quite as many audiobooks as other audiobook platforms, but it’s genuinely worth exploring anytime you’re looking for a new listen. (It's especially great if you love comic books and comic-related audiobooks.)
LibriVox is a nonprofit platform that makes public domain books available as audiobooks for free.
Once a book has entered the public domain, (because it’s 95 years old) the original copyright expires and the book now belongs to the public. Every year, a new batch of books enters the public domain (“The Great Gatsby” is a notable recent addition) and people find creative things to do with them.
LibriVox invites volunteers to narrate their own public domain audiobooks, upload them to LibriVox, and make them available for listeners for free.
While the quality can vary from book to book, it’s a really cool project, and a great way to explore older literature.
While there’s nothing special about Audiobooks.com, it gets the job done. Just like Audible, you pay a monthly subscription and get audiobook credits. They have a really wide selection of audiobooks, and a great quality app. As a VIP, you can get even more audiobooks each month. It’s definitely worth a free trial at the very least.
More Notable Competitors:
- Kobo Books — Free audiobook offer
- Nook Audiobooks — Free audiobook offer
- Google Play Books — Easy-to-use for Android users
- Apple Audiobooks — Easy-to-use for iPhone users
- eStories — Cheap subscription, but may not have new releases
- OpenAudible — Switching away from Audible? Keep your audiobooks.
- Spotify — Just added more than 300,000 audiobooks
→ Ready to get started on your next audiobook but don't know what to read? Check out our top Good Good Good-approved book recommendations.
→ Also love print books? Check out our favorite online bookstores that are not Amazon.