Here Are the Top Audiobooks of 2023 (And How to Read Them)

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AudioFile Magazine, a 30-year-old publication that covers and reviews audiobooks, has just released its annual list of the year’s best picks.

If learning, reading, or reducing screen time is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, audiobooks provide countless hours of relaxation, entertainment, and opportunities for personal growth. In addition to the audiobook recommendations, we’ll also introduce you to some audiobook apps where you might find these titles.

Since the full list is quite extensive, we’ve rounded up the top three titles from each category, with a link to a summary and audio snippet for each.

Biography & Memoir
  1. The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession | Michael Finkel
  2. Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir in Love Poems, Recipes, Letters, and Remembrances | Kwame Alexander
  3. While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness | Meg Kissinger 
Children & Family Listening
  1. Elf Dog and Owl Head
    by M.T. Abderson
  2. Remember Us
    by Jacqueline Woodson
  3. Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild
    by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, June Jo Lee
Nonfiction & History
  1. Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America
    by Steve Inskeep
  2. Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things
    by Dan Ariely
  3. Poverty, by America
    by Matthew Desmond
Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror
  1. Godkiller
    by Hannah Kaner
  2. Holly: Holly Gibney, Book 3
    by Stephen King
  3. Translation State
    by Ann Leckie
  1. Chain-Gang All-Stars
    byNana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
  2. I Have Some Questions for You
    by Rebecca Makkai
  3. The Late Americans
    by Brandon Taylor
Mystery & Suspense
  1. All the Sinners Bleed
    by S.A. Cosby
  2. Rogue Justice
    by Stacey Abrams
  3. The Secret Hours
    by Mick Herrron
  1. Even If the Sky Is Falling
    by Taj McCoy
  2. Love, Theoretically
    by Ali Hazelwood
  3. Role Playing
    by Cathy Yardley
Young Adult
  1. Only This Beautiful Moment
    by Abdi Nazemian
  2. Free Radicals
    by Lila Riesen
  3. Warrior Girl Unearthed
    by Angeline Boulley 
Audiobook Apps

If the above list has whet your appetite to dive into some good audiobooks, the next thing you’ll need is a proper audiobook app to listen to them. Although open-format audiobooks are just audio files that can be listened to through nearly any app, many are copy-protected and must be purchased or downloaded through a specific app or service.

Audiobook apps also offer some additional features to help you navigate these longer titles, including chapter markers, bookmarks, and the ability to adjust playback speed. Here are some of the top picks:


Audible is probably the most well-known audiobook app. The app offers premium titles for purchase, as well as access to Audible original books and podcasts. You can even access fitness and meditation audiobooks via Audible. Currently, Audible has a limited-time offer of $5.95/month for the first four months and $14.99/month thereafter. Membership gives you access to a free catalog of books and podcasts and one credit each month to purchase an audiobook of your choice.

Apple Books

To get started with your favorite audiobooks, you may not need to look any further than Apple’s own Books app that’s already installed on your iPhone. While Apple Books is best known for its library of traditional text-based titles, there’s also a large catalog of audiobooks tucked away inside that you can access from the Audiobooks button on the bottom navigation bar. The downside is that Apple doesn’t offer a subscription service like Audible, so you’ll need to pay for any titles you want to listen to, but it’s not hard to find audiobooks on sale, and there are even some freebies on the Apple Books store, including a large assortment of classics like The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and more.


Everand by Scribd is a digital library for ebooks, audiobooks, magazine articles, podcasts, newspapers, and sheet music. In addition to audiobooks, Everand’s magazine article library includes articles from major publications like Time and People. Features include customized narration speed and downloading titles for offline use. Everand is free for 30 days and $11.99 monthly thereafter.


Libby is a free ebook and audiobook app that allows you to sign in to your local library with your library card for access to that library’s catalog of titles. It’s the perfect option for readers on a budget. Libby lets you add more than one card to the app, expanding access to titles from various libraries. Download Libby here. boasts over 450,000 audiobooks and more than 10,000 free audiobooks. Enjoy custom curated recommendations, a community of readers with shared interests, and books for all ages. is currently offering a 30 day free trial that includes three books in addition to the free library. After the trial, membership is $14.99/month and includes one premium title monthly, similar to Audible.

Start the New Year By Listening to a New Book

Audiobooks have gained immense popularity for many reasons. They’re convenient to listen to while doing other activities like exercising or driving, and for some folks, memory retention and comprehension are better through listening than reading.

Also, many audiobooks are narrated by skilled voice actors who make the experience much more engaging. If you don’t currently use an audiobook app, they’re worth a shot. Take advantage of a free trial and listen to one of 2023’s top audiobooks.

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