Audiobooks

The 5 Best Free Audiobook Platforms in 2023

October 19, 2023
5 min read
The 5 Best Free Audiobook Platforms in 2023

Audiobooks have become extremely popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. Audiobook apps have allowed millions of listeners to immerse themselves in a good book on their way to work, while doing chores, or in bed at night. They’re great for maximizing your productivity and getting the most out of your day.

Unfortunately, the added connivence and quality of audiobooks tend to also come with added expense. The cost of an audiobook on some platforms can be far more expensive than the print or ebook versions, and pricey subscription models can make getting your money’s worth feel like a chore.

But finding free, great-sounding audiobooks isn’t impossible. In fact, with the rise of more and more free audiobook platforms, it’s easier than ever.

Today, we’ll go over some of the most popular free audiobook platforms, as well as our own new app Kalliope, to see where you can get the best value.

1. Libby

Libby lets you borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and more from your local library for free. Simply sign in with your library card and get access to their catalog from anywhere in the world. The main downside of Libby is that it acts as an extension of your local library, meaning your selection is limited to their catalog, and you’ll need to wait for checked out books to be returned before they become available.

Pros:

  • Pleasant interface
  • Completely free
  • Grants access to more than just audiobooks, including ebooks, magazines, and more.

Cons:

  • Requires a library card to use
  • Can only access books from your library’s catalog
  • Can’t keep your books, only borrow them
  • Books that are currently being borrowed by someone else are unavailable and you must wait for it to be returned before you can check it out

2. Audible

Far and away the most popular platform on this list, Audible offers a massive selection of audiobooks to millions of users. While you’ll need to pay $14.95/month for access to their entire selection, users with an amazon account can access a limited portion of it for free.

Pros:

  • Massive selection of high quality audiobooks
  • Includes access to Audible Original books and podcasts
  • Members get 30% off all audiobook purchases

Cons:

  • Access to most of the selection is barred behind a high monthly cost
  • Getting money’s worth out of the platform can be a chore for casual listeners
  • Premium subscription only includes on audiobook per month, with can be restrictive for passionate readers

3. Hoopla

Like Libby, Hoopla allows you to connect to your local library to borrow books from their selection. It also comes with similar drawbacks like requiring a library card and offering a selection that’s limited to their catalog. However, unlike Libby, you can borrow titles instantly without needing to place holds or wait for weeks or months to listen to books you want, which is a very nice plus.

Pros:

  • Entirely free with no late fees or fines
  • Instantly borrow titles without needing to wait
  • Also includes ebooks, music albums, tv shows, and movies

Cons:

  • Requires a library card to use
  • Can only access books from your library’s catalog
  • Can’t keep your books, only borrow them
  • You can only borrow are certain number of titles each month

4. LibriVox

LibriVox allows you to listen to a large selection of free public domain audiobooks narrated entirely by volunteers. It offers unlimited listening, a great selection of classics, and doesn’t cost a cent. However, LibriVox’s selection is much smaller than most of the other platforms on this list, and the volunteer-recorded narration can vary pretty widely in quality.

Pros:

  • Completely free with unlimited listening
  • Large selection of classic books

Cons:

  • Smaller catalog compared to most platforms on this list
  • Narration recordings are done by volunteers and can be pretty low quality

5. Kalliope

Kalliope is a new audiobook platform releasing in 2024 that offers a wide variety of titles from a vast selection, all for free. Each book’s narration is recorded with life-like AI narrators to ensure a premium-sounding experience, and the app’s clean interface makes listening to books and discovering new titles easy and engaging. Kalliope offers unlimited free listening to all of our books, and uninterrupted, ad-free listening for $5/month.

Pros:

  • Unlimited free listening to all books
  • A large selection of titles that’s always growing
  • Immersive, high-quality narration for every book
  • Reader-friendly features like reading goals, personalized recommendations, and more

Cons:

  • The app is currently in beta which means there are features that are still upcoming
  • Being the newest app on this list, the current selection is smaller than some of the larger platforms, but new titles are constantly being added

Closing

We hope this list was helpful in comparing some of our favorite free audiobook platforms. While we’re obviously a little biased, we’re very excited to being releasing Kalliope early next year, and hope you’ll sign up for our beta to see just how great a free reading platform can be.

We believe reading should be available to everyone, in any format or medium they choose, regardless of financial status, tech literacy, age, or any other factor. That’s why we’re building an app that brings life-like, beautifully narrated audiobooks to everyone, all for free.

And we can’t wait to share it with you.

Be first in line for the
Logo for the Kalliope Beta.
Coming early 2024.