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How Much Are Audio Books?

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Readers looking to expand their horizons from regular books to audio books often wonder, "How much do audio books cost?" And then, when they see the higher price tag, they further wonder, "Why are audio books so expensive?"

As an avid audiobook reader of nearly 100 audio books per year, below I share details on what's behind the added cost of audio books, as well as the specific costs of audio books at all the places where I personally listen to audio books at a fraction of the retail cost.

Hint: Some options are free and ALL are less than the full retail price.

stack of books with headphones

How Much Are Audio Books?

How much do audio books usually cost?

The average retail price of an audio book is usually in the range of $20-30. This is higher than traditional books' retail price, mostly due to the added audio book production cost.

Below are the specific costs of audio books at all the places where I personally listen to them.

Library

Cost of audio books: free

First are foremost, audio books at your local library are free. Download the Libby app, and connect it to your library card. Then, borrow or place audio books on hold and listen on the go. I do this all the time and have no complaints, other than the fact that you may have to wait in line for a book to become available, which is true of all library books.

You should also check with your local library for additional ways to stream audio books for free. For example, my library used to offer access to four audio books per month via the Hoopla app.

This is especially one great way to listen to all the Harry Potter books for free.


Spotify

Cost of audio books: free

Did you know that you can listen to many classics on audio for free on Spotify?! I do this when I want to listen while I work on my laptop. Just use the search bar to search for a classic book (like Pride & Prejudice or Alice in Wonderland), and then filter by "Playlists and Shows" to stream these audio books for free.


Project Gutenberg

Cost of audio books: free

Project Gutenberg is an online library of over 60,000 books, focusing on older works that are the world’s great literature. Personally, I have used this website to find free Agatha Christie books. While most of these books are in digital format, you can find some audio formats to stream.


YouTube

Cost of audio books: free

You can also stream certain free audio books on YouTube. Again, this will generally pertain to older classics for which the U.S. copyright has expired. I like to "read" children's books on YouTube because there is often a visual component to the reading as well.


Scribd

Cost of audio books: free 30 day trial / $11.99 per month thereafter

Scribd is a subscription service by which members can listen to an "unlimited" number of digital products, including tons of popular, newly released fiction books on audio for an $11.99 subscription fee (per month) via desktop or on the Scribd app.

I say "unlimited" in quotes because the service generally only allows you to access about 4 or 5 newer releases a month, then it restricts your use to older releases until the next month begins. Still, it's a great value with over 200,000+ audio books to choose from, and I am a very happy subscriber for over two years now. (Cancel anytime.)

Special Offer for readers of The Literary Lifestyle:

Get your first 30 days of Scribd for free. (Cancel anytime.)


Chirp

Cost of audio books: up to 95% off retail price

Chirp is an app that offers flash sales on different audio books daily at massive discounts. Simply sign up for email alerts and download the app, and you will start receiving daily deals.

While the selection is very limited each day, you are still bound to find deals that interest you here and there. I'd say that a few times per month I'm really compelled by an offering, and they do vary from classics to modern bestsellers.


Audible

Cost of audio books: Click here for current prices

Audible is a massive audio book service owned by Amazon. I have used the Audible app for years. One thing I especially love is how easy it is to return books in just a few clicks if you don't like them for any reason.

The monthly plan gets you one credit for one audiobook and unlimited access to Audible's Premium Plus catalog of audio books. (Cancel anytime.)

For a lower monthly rate, you can also get unlimited access to Audible's Premium Plus catalog only, with no credit for any book of your choice.

Audible also occasionally runs great sales on selected audiobooks.

Special Offer for readers of The Literary Lifestyle:

Get one free month trial at Audible. (Cancel anytime.)


Libro.fm

Cost of audio books: $14.99 per month (Cancel anytime.)

Libro.fm is another excellent audio book provider, and it supports independent bookstores. For $14.99 per month, you get one credit for any audiobook of your choice from the catalog of over 250,000+ books, to which you can listen on the Libro.fm app.

They also have a Sale page and offer members 30% off additional audio book purchases.

This is another amazing audio book service I regularly use and love, especially for their mission. (Cancel anytime.)

Special Offer for readers of The Literary Lifestyle:

Get 2 audiobooks for the price of 1 with a new Libro.fm monthly membership with code LitLife (Cancel anytime.)


Now, you know the answer to the question, "How much are audio books?" both generally and specifically at my favorite places to listen to audio books.

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