Audiobooks are another way for us to take literature anywhere we want to go, letting us listen to the latest bestseller while on a long drive, devour a non-fiction piece while doing the dishes, or even listen to the latest self-help hit or celebrity biography during a daily workout. Audiobook apps can run the gamut from slick, integrated market and player systems packed with the latest bestsellers and personalized recommendation engines to more humble affairs that still bring you the classics of world literature in audiobook form.
Audible (Android and iOS) is a veteran powerhouse in the audiobooks field, with more than 150,000 titles in its library. Audible's audiobook player offers solid playback features, with chapter navigation, bookmarks, a sleep mode, variable playback speed and multitasking support for background playback and downloading. Its increasing integration with Amazon's Kindle system is reaping added benefits for its users, as Kindle users can pay a small fee to upgrade a Kindle ebook with an Audible audiobook; Amazon's Whispersync allows users to switch between audiobook and text near-seamlessly. You can even have Amazon's Alexa pull up your audiobooks from Audible to be read through an Echo, Tap or Echo Dot.
Simply Audiobooks' cloud-based Audiobooks.com platform (Android and iOS) also offers a solid audiobook app for Android and iOS listeners, allowing subscribers to choose from a library of more than 45,000 audiobooks from every genre that they can stream or download for offline listening. The Audio Books app includes variable playback speed, automatic bookmarking and a sleep timer, among other features. Additionally, this app includes cross-device syncing, allowing listeners to easily transition from their smartphone, tablet or computer without losing their place in the audiobook.
Bookmobile is a well-regarded iOS Audiobook player for those looking to play DRM-free audiobooks. Bookmobile supports DRM-locked content from iTunes and Audible, as well as DRM-free content ripped from CDs or downloaded, including M4B and MP3 audiobooks. The app features a thoughtful control scheme designed to keep you from easily losing your place and includes drive and sleep modes, as well as supporting background playback. Extra features include a custom bookmarking feature that can automatically remember where you last stopped, playback speed controls, and AirPlay support. The free trial lasts for 60 days and allows you to import three audiobooks.
If you're looking to listen to DRM-free audiobooks already in your collection, Smart Audiobook Player is a popular choice for Android devices that comes with a good selection of features, such as variable playback speed, bookmarking, an audio equalizer, some basic collection management features, a sleep timer and control widgets for the notification tray and your home screen. The app provides users with a generous 30-day free trial before asking for a $1.99 unlock.
Another well-regarded player for DRM-free audiobooks on Android is Listen Audiobooks Player, formerly known as Akimbo. Ad and IAP-free, Listen is a highly configurable player that includes variable playback speed, a built-in equalizer, sleep timer, embedded chapter support, bookmarks, lockscreen controls, and widgets. Users can sync their current position and bookmarks across multiple devices, configure skip times, UI colors, and configure headset button shortcuts.
Of course, if you're not looking to spend a cent, you can always go with free and open source options. Material Audiobook Player has a clean, Material design based interface that comes free and some useful playback features. Library management is a simple, folder-based affair, and playback options include variable playback speed, bookmarks, and a sleep timer. It's comparatively basic, but you also can't argue with that price.
Barnes & Noble offers the Nook Audiobooks Android app, with a store library of more than 50,000 titles across a variety of genres. Rather than use a subscription model like Audible or Audiobooks.com, Nook features an online store where users can buy books, and then download and listen to them through the app.