Listen, 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 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.” There are also many podcasts available, such as LibreCast Audiobooks or Phoebe Reads a Mystery.
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 are a Wellesley student and don’t already have one, you can easily get a library card from the Wellesley Free Library. From there, you can check out audiobooks for 21 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 (and to plan my reads ahead).
Option Three: Scribd
Let’s say you aren’t patient or you feel like you need more than 21 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.