Wired headphones connected to an Iphone on a table.

Alternatives to Audible

Over the last few years my appreciation for audiobooks has increased exponentially, but I noticed that I only use one source to get my audiobooks and that source is Audible. Audible offers a monthly subscription, between $7.95 and $22.95, along with a credit system for purchasing certain titles. The lower fee allows for access to the Plus catalog only and the higher fees include an allotment of credits. The Plus catalog is a selection of titles that do not require a credit to listen. Any title outside of the Plus catalog is one credit. If you run out of credits there’s no need to panic, you can always buy three more in the app for $28.68 or $35.88 depending on your membership status.

While I’ve enjoyed Audible, I can’t help but feel I’ve fallen into the trap of a familiar app. There must be more out there. So, I decided to look into other audiobook sources to expand my library, and potentially, save some money.

Audiobooks.com is a monthly subscription, $14.95, with a credit system. Each book is worth one credit and you can purchase more credits if you run out. They also have an option to join a “book club” for a credit per month. The book club is a curated list of titles that you can listen to unlimitedly for thirty days. Members enjoy the VIP catalog, a monthly selection of titles that you select one free audiobook from. Audiobooks.com offers sales on audiobooks that are available to members and non members alike.

Downpour is a monthly subscription, $12.99, with a credit system. Each book is worth one credit and additional credits are also $12.99. Downpour only offers one membership plan in an effort to cut down on confusion and make using them easier.

Libro.fm is a monthly subscription, $14.99, with a credit system. Like the others it is one credit per book and you can purchase more credits if needed. Unlike the others, libro.fm does credit bundles starting at two for $30 and ending at twenty-four for $360. You can also get thirty percent off “à la carte” purchases of audiobooks. When you set up your account, you choose a local bookstore to support and a portion of the proceeds will go to them!

Chirp is not a monthly subscription and they don’t mess around with credits. Chirp offers discounted audiobooks that you can download to your device or stream on their app. You only pay for the audiobook and you only sign up for the emails to let you know the deals.

Librivox is not a monthly subscription. Librivox only has public domain audiobooks and the narrators are volunteers. Which means all the audiobooks are free! Their catalog is not as robust as the others and does not offer contemporary titles but it is worth looking into.

Libby lets you check out audiobooks from your local library (if they use OverDrive). It is free to use but, like a library book, you are only borrowing your audiobook and have a limited time to listen.

You can also purchase audiobooks directly to your device at the Apple Store or Google Play.

This is a small list of audiobook sources outside of Audible but it does show that they are out there and are worth looking into!

stacks of books on tables in a large exhibition hall

Book Fairs vs. Festivals: What’s the Difference?

Book fairs and literary festivals are both important events in the publishing world, but is there a difference between these two literary exhibitions? Before learning more about publishing and becoming the rights manager at Ooligan, I had always assumed they were interchangeable. In my mind, fairs and festivals were just two different ways of saying the same thing: an event for readers, authors, publishers, and more to come together and celebrate reading. While this remains true, there are a few key distinctions between these events that are helpful to know as a reader, author, and/or publishing professional.

Book or literary festivals are geared mainly toward readers and fans of books. They can last anywhere from a single day, such as our local Portland Book Festival, to up to three weeks, such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival. These festivals usually feature author speaking events, where authors and sometimes publishing professionals give talks about books, the writing process, and more. Readers get the chance to learn more about their favorite books and authors, and ask questions. Afterward, there are usually author signings, where attendees can get personalized, signed copies of their favorite books. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, publishers will have giveaways for advance copies of their upcoming releases or other kinds of giveaways—the amount of tote bags I’ve gotten from festivals is insane! Festivals for younger audiences, such as YALLFest, also often have fun games, food trucks, and more. The main purpose of book festivals is to serve as a fun gathering for all book lovers to come together and celebrate the joy of reading.

Book fairs, while also serving as a gathering place for book lovers, tend to differ in their main purpose. While some book fairs have an option for readers to come and visit, there usually aren’t any events such as talks, signings, or giveaways. These fairs are mainly for people working in publishing to promote themselves and/or their books. Publishers from around the world set up booths with their information and upcoming titles, and meet with other publishers to buy and sell rights. Fairs such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, only have a few days that are open to the public to visit. The rest of the fair is spent facilitating meetings between literary agents, publishers, and editors. As Schoko Press writes, there might also be “Workshops and seminars . . . presenting topics on trends and industry news and developments.”

Book fairs are the best opportunity to meet more people in the industry, especially those in other book markets across the globe. Walking around these fairs, you’ll see industry professionals greeting old friends, pitching their books or authors, and meeting to collaborate on new projects. It’s basically a massive networking event for the publishing industry.

So, if you didn’t know, then now you know! Book festivals and fairs may seem similar, but they each serve a different and important purpose. If you’re a reader who’s looking to hear from your favorite author or get a signed copy, then you might want to stick to festivals. If you’re an author wondering about the difference, you’ll most likely be attending festivals to give talks and sign books, not the fairs. If you’re new to publishing and curious about the exchange of rights and networking in the industry, then a book fair might be the best bet! However, both provide amazing experiences for any lover of books and publishing, and if you get the chance to attend either, it will be an amazing experience you won’t forget.

If you would like to learn more about fairs and festivals or what events might be near you, here is a great article from Books Make a Difference that dives deeper into fairs and lists when and where they take place, and here is a great list of literary festivals from The Reading Lists.

person seated, looking through a phone

New Ways To Find New Books

How do you find books for your TBR (To Be Read) pile? Whether you are looking for your own next read, making a library run, or buying a gift for someone, chances are that you have a favorite source. It might be a trusted local bookseller. Maybe you have a “go-to” reviewer whose taste in books anticipates yours. Or perhaps you are one of those brave souls who enjoy strolling through a shop and literally judging a book by its cover! We’ve all done that, which is why we spend so much time and love on our Ooligan book covers. Maybe you are one of the lucky folks who has a friend with opposite taste in reading, and your book list stays fresh that way.

There’s no wrong way to select reading material. However, speaking from personal experience, using the same method to choose books can get us into a little bit of a reading rut at times. Especially if an author is prolific and writes in a popular genre, it’s all too easy to get into a groove with the familiar when we reach for a book. So we have a few suggestions for using technology to expand your reading list. Say it with me . . . “There’s an app for that!”


This is the grandmama of social reading apps. It’s great for keeping lists of what you’ve read, and the reviews are peer-written and genuine. Goodreads has millions of users and a huge catalog of books. However, it has been around since 2006, and it’s increasingly being surpassed by other, newer recommendation algorithms. But if you want to get recommendations from family and friends, or to join groups that are focused on specific topics or genres, you can probably find them on Goodreads. (Some consumers choose not to use Goodreads because it is owned by Amazon; in that case, StoryGraph is a similar app that is a little more modern.)


Are you a reader who likes to align their books, TV, movies, and music? The Likewise app covers far more than books. You can follow friends or celebrities, browse quirky curated lists, get reading recommendations based on your viewing and listening preferences, and even ask the community to solve reading conundrums for you.


This is an Ooligan favorite! LibraryThing lets you scan your books to build a library, and then explore recommendations, groups, community projects and games, and many other ways to find and play with books. Forgot the name of a book you read once? There’s a group just waiting to help you figure that out! You can check out other people’s libraries, and even flip the recommendation algorithm to get lists of books that are wildly different from what’s on your shelf. LibraryThing isn’t a sleek user interface, but it is stuffed full of information, and it’s a great place to go explore.


This is the new app on the block, partially funded by Ingram Content Group (which will also provide purchasing and shipping services for the site’s online bookshop). “Tertulia” means a literary or artistic salon, and this book recommendation service aspires to recreate the informal “book talk” often heard in Spanish cafes and bars. Tertulia differs from some other sites through its combination of algorithms plus editorial curation; it pulls information from thousands of sources online to figure out what books are being talked about, but also uses the opinions and recommendations of vetted experts to curate lists. This app is a good choice if you are looking for academic and artistic conversation about books, rather than a simple five-star rating system.

This is just a small sample of the many book recommendation apps that are available today. There are many ways to find books for your reading pile. While recommendations from friends and booksellers will never go out of style, technology can help you out too. If you are looking for ways to shake up your reading, consider exploring these or others. And please comment below and let us know: What is your favorite book recommendation app?