Best Universal Audiobook Apps
Listening to an audio book is a great way to pass the time during long commutes or road trips. Did you know that there are many types of audio book apps? We've compiled an AppList of the best from all three categories for your listing pleasure. Do you love the classics like Hamlet and Othello, need quick access to your audio books or prefer an all-in-one player? This AppList is your gateway to some exciting audio book player alternatives.
Our first app on the list is the universal Audiobooks Premium app featuring recorded audiobooks from Librivox. This app really is the one-stop-listening experience. The app features an extensive collection of free public domain books narrated by the volunteers at Librivox. Why not enhance your Audiobooks Premium listening experience? The app offers a "Plus" add-on of its entire enhanced Librivox collection at $6.99. If you love contemporaries, the app also offers a selection of professional recordings of current bestsellers for your listening pleasure. A color coded table display quickly identifies the free (gray), plus (green) and professional (blue) recordings available. Highlighting the apps features is its search by title, genre, duration, narrator and even language. The app uses standard player controls for R/F, Play/Pause, Sleep and bookmarking. The Audiobooks Premium app makes the list as a perfect resource for public domain recorded audiobook content.
The Audiobook shelf is a universal app that offers an initial bundle of 14 classic public domain audio-books with the option to purchase/download additional titles. On launch the app displays a beautifully designed classic bookshelf of book titles. Making a selection is just a tap away. Simulating a book selection the app provides a quick summary of the author, narrator, title duration and a play button. The app’s bundled design approach allows for immediate audiobook playback and chapter navigation. Wrapped in a book design layout, the app’s player controls includes the standard F/R and play/pause buttons, a sleep timer and speed selector. While the app’s content is limited, it does provide an excellent introduction to audiobooks and the quality of the narration makes it worthwhile consideration.
Children's Audiobooks - Volume 1
A great little app for younger iDevice users is the Children's Audiobooks Volume 1. This app features a bundled collection of 10 children's classic audiobooks including Anne of Green Gables and Treasure Island. The app is an excellent road trip companion. Its bundled interface can help to avoid user handling mishaps. Offering a simple table of content style interface and player controls, this app may appeal to even novice users. Its simultaneous download/playback, sleep timer, file management, annotating and sharing features make it a tiny app with a lot of punch. While the app’s content is limited, it does offer a nice introduction into the world of audiobooks.
Ambling BookPlayer Lite
The next app on our list is the Ambling Books app powered by Librivox and www.Amblingbooks.com. This app features classic novels like Homer’s “The Iliad” and bestsellers like "Full Dark, No Stars" from Stephen King for your listening pleasure. The download tab offers selections by bestsellers, new additions and free content. Searching by sub-categories in fiction and non-fiction is just a tap away. The app’s players design is not as attractive as some of the other apps on the list. It does contain the standard features; incremental r/f w/options in minutes/seconds/chapter and sleep timer. Rounding out the app’s features is its impressive download rate, annotating, file management, manual/automatic bookmarking and audiobook performance rating system. The companion website for audiobook purchases makes this app a worthy consideration for alternative audiobook shopping.
vBookz Free Audiobooks 30,000+ classics aloud
For children learning to speak and read or the visually impaired the vBookz app offers an innovative read along male/female voice synthesizer that can be toggled on/off. While I did not care for the voice synthesizer, as an eBook reader the selection of eBooks offered outweighed its drawbacks. The app also includes bookmarking, animated page turning, font selection/resizing, optional day/night reading and a search by page/book option. The app also offers some German, French and Spanish book versions for non-English speaking users. While the voice synthesizer option makes this app a candidate for the list, it is the app’s option to download additional titles that really stand out.
Audiobooks from Audible
The Audible app is my choice as the ultimate audiobook player alternative. This app delivers the best in audiobook file management. The app divides audiobooks into two types; audible direct downloads and iPod library content. If you organize you library by categories, the app also translates and displays many of iTunes’ meta-data details (Chapter, Summary, Categories). The app includes the standard player controls; R/F, play/pause, and incremental/chapter navigation, bookmarking, scrubbing and narration speed. The shining star features of the app are its direct downloading from audible.com and its file management. Its direct downloading (wi-fi required) is a must for on-the-go listening. For those that love to brag, the app's "My Stats" awards listening merit badges to share with friends. It even keeps track of your listening hours and audible.com library count. The only drawback with this feature is it does not sync stats across devices, nor does it save stats should the app need to be re-installed. For the latest audible news and support info, the app has a handy twitter "News" section. The Audible app is the one must have audiobook player for the audiobook lover.
OverDrive Media Console – Library eBooks and Audiobooks
The Overdrive Media Console app finally brings library download-able mp3 audio-books to the iDevice. At present the app currently only accepts direct library downloads via Safari. For first-time listeners the app includes a “Welcome to Overdrive Media Console” audio-book. If you're interested in popular new releases in audiobooks, this app is your portal to your public libraries collection. The app’s method of downloading is slightly cumbersome and requires a valid library card. The “Get Books” feature is the portal for finding nearby libraries and adding them to the app. Unfortunately the app requires a user to login each time the app connects to a library’s website. I highly recommend keeping your library card number handy. The app also has an annoying per item download limit of 3. This restriction may put a damper on your user experience should you need to re-download a checked out item. Overall the app features all the standard player controls; incremental r/f, pause/play, bookmarking, chapter navigation. The apps file management includes selective file downloading and quick file deletion. Overall the Overdrive Media Console app is a great supplemental app for audiobook lovers.
The Bookmark app is an iPod app alternative audiobook player that offers some sharp customizations in a little package. The app launches displaying all iPod compatible audio-book & podcast content installed on a device. For the on-the-go listening, just tap your selection for immediate playback. This feature is great for in-the-car quick starts. If you need to take notes, the app features simultaneous note taking/bookmarking during playback. The app even lets you record multiple notes. The app has some unusual player controls that may not appeal to everyone. Although the app allows all tracks to be marked as completed or new, this feature did not appear to sync with the player’s playback function. If you love setting your own personal preference, Bookmark has a slew of them to choose form including auto-play last track, keep awake, and shake to pause/jump back. For even more options, hidden under the setting button is a treasure of customizable features, a tutorial and an extensive faq. If you are looking for a compact audiobook/podcast player, the Bookmark app offers a nice alternative.
Remarkable - Notes for audiobooks and podcasts
Another alternative audiobook/podcast player is the Audio Footnote app. This handy little app lets you record multiple notes during audiobook playback and and share them with friend and family. As a book reviewer, these two features alone have the potential of cutting my review writing time in half. The app uses a tab navigation for easy access to recent playbacks, audio-books and podcasts. While the app is simple in its design and function, its note-taking ability makes it a worthy consideration.
Audiobook & Podcast Player
Another alternative to the iPod player is the Audiobook & Podcast player app. The app features a multi-button design for its player controls. There's a button for just about everything; scrubbing, R/F, play/pause, and sleep mode. We all forget to bookmark sometimes; the app has a “Time “Travel” option to return to any point in an audiobook’s playback without the use of bookmarks. Unfortunately the app does not support background audio for multi-tasking. If you’re looking for a player with a simple design then the Audiobook & Podcast player app may be the app for you.