Audiobooks provide another way for us to take a good read anywhere we want to go, listening to the latest bestseller while on a long trip, devouring a non-fiction piece while doing the dishes, or checking out the latest self-help hit or celebrity biography during a daily workout. Audiobook apps for your iPhone or Android device 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. Here's a look at some of our favorite audiobook options for mobile devices. (Image Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock)
Audible (Android and iOS) remains the 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.
Rather than splurge on a single fat novel or audiobook, readers and listeners can spring for shorter, episodic content through Serial Box (Android, iOS), which offers bite-sized chunks of novels that are perfect for your commute or breaktime. Serial Box offers a range of genres from drama to fantasy and sci-fi. The first episode is free, and subsequent episodes cost $1.99 for both text and audio versions. A season pass or subscription options allow you to grab a story's entire season at a discount. With a strong library of offerings such as “The Witch Who Came In From The Cold”, “Bookburners” and “Tremontaine” and a highly configurable reader and audiobook player mode, Serial Box is an interesting new option for readers and audiobook listeners alike, especially now that there's an Android version of the app available.
Google Play Books (Android, iOS) also builds in audiobook features, allowing you to listen to your purchased audiobooks across platforms and devices. That enables listeners to pick up where they left off on their Android device, iPhone, or desktop PC. Audiobook controls allow you to skip ahead or scroll along the timeline, jump to chapters, and configure playback speed and a snooze timer. Unlike other audiobook services, Google Play Books doesn't run on a monthly subscription, instead allowing users to preview audiobooks and then buy what they want over the Google Play Books marketplace.
While Kobo (Android, iOS) may not have the same big name recall of Amazon in the US ebooks and audiobooks market, it offers a rich library of ebooks and audiobooks in its online marketplace and reader apps. Kobo's audiobook player covers your basics, with a timeline scrubber bar, timeskip buttons, chapter navigation, playback speed configuration and a snooze timer. The app provides cross-platform syncing and a customizable ebook reader in addition to the audiobook player. New users can sign up for a $5 discount on their first ebook purchase.
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.