How to Listen to Audiobooks on Android

Have books read to you from your Android while you commute or relax

Student listening to headphones in grass
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Listening to audiobooks while on a road trip, jogging, or riding a bike gives your mind something to do while you focus on on the road. A downloaded file won't quit on you when you're in the middle of nowhere, unlike radio stations. Instead of getting audiobooks on tape or CD, listen to them on your phone. If your car doesn't have an axillary audio jack or Bluetooth that plugs into your phone, get a mini FM adapter or a cassette tape adapter. If your radio doesn't work, use a portable mini speaker. Here's how to listen to audiobooks on your Android device.

All of the apps below should be equally available no matter which company makes your Android phone, including Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Audible.com and Other Audio Book Clubs

Amazon-owned Audible.com is a popular commercial option that lists 100,000 professionally voiced audiobooks. You can transfer your books from device to device, including non-Android devices. The books are protected by DRM, and you're restricted from using non-Audible apps or downloading the file to too many devices at once.

Audible app on Android

If you're an audiobook buff, the quality is good and the selection is fantastic. To find out if you like the service, sign up for the 30-day trial (your first book is free) and then pay after that. The pricing is similar for other audio book clubs, but Audible.com has the largest selection.

Amazon Whispersync

If you like to read e-books and listen to audiobooks, check out the Amazon Whispersync program. When you to buy the audiobook version of an e-book for a discount, Whispersync syncs your bookmark between the two formats. For example, if you're in chapter 2 of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" e-book, you're in chapter 2 in the audiobook. This is fantastic if you like to listen to books in the car and then read them over lunch.

Whispersync books in Kindle app for Android

Audiobooks purchased through Whispersync and Audible play in the Audible app

Buy Individually

Other bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, offer direct sales of audiobooks. If you want to read popular titles, you're probably better off going with the book club pricing. However, you can shop around and find books cheaper than the monthly fee you'd pay at Audible.com.

Most of these audiobooks are sold as MP3 files. MP3 is a standard audio file format that plays in any MP3 playing app, including Google Play Music or Amazon Cloud Player. Other independent book publishers and stores have started selling audio books in MP3 format.

Use the Library

Many libraries around the country use a system such as Overdrive or Hoopla to loan books to cardholders. There's an easy-to-use companion app called Libby that searches for audiobooks (and textbooks, too) at your local library.

Libby by Overdrive app on Android

While your local library may not have this service, many do, so it's worth a look. Limited numbers of audiobooks are available to check out through this fantastic app.

Get Them for Free

Legitimate and free audiobooks are available for public domain works. These books are old, but it's a great chance to review the classics. There are many legitimate sources for free audiobooks. These books are read by volunteers to make the books accessible to everyone, including those with visual impairments.

LibriVox website

There are many players for audiobooks, and a favorite is the LibriVox Audio Book Player. The ability to browse for and download titles is integrated into the app. You don't have to download MP3 files from another source and then sideload it to your device.