It finally dawned on me late last year that Overdrive MP3 audio books are DRM-free. Yes, I’d known that fact on some level, but I still listened to the books in the Overdrive app, which is okay but not great. Plus it often takes me longer than three weeks to finish an audiobook, so I was only checking out short ones (less than 10 hours).
Once I processed the implications of DRM-free audio books (Hooray! I can check out long books!), I started looking for an audiobook player app and found Smart AudioBook Player. It has great reviews and offers a 30 day trial of the full version (which costs $1.99 as an in-app purchase).
I probably haven’t taxed the app to its fullest, but I liked it enough to upgrade. One of the features I really like (and required the upgrade) was the percentage finished of the book. Since I like to track my reading status on Goodreads, that’s a handy feature. With Overdrive, I had to actually do math. The horrors!
You load the books into a dedicated folder, so they aren’t mixed in with your songs. You can have multiple books at various stages, and the app keeps track of each book separately. I don’t usually listen to multiple books at once, but it’s a nice feature.
The app automatically rewinds 30-60 seconds when you start a new listening session, which I like. I usually need a few seconds to remember where I left off. You can rewind manually in 10 second or 1 minute intervals.
Although I’ve never used it, you can speed up playback. I like the unhurried aspect of audiobooks, so I’ve never used that feature, but I know other people who like to speed things up.
It does have a widget, and it appears in the Notifications area for easy starting and stopping. I’ve been using the app for about 2 months now, and I’ve found it to be stable.
In many ways, I like it better than the Audible app, which has badges and other stat tracking features I don’t care about. Smart AudioBook Player just plays audiobooks and does it well. I plan to seek out other sources of DRM-free audiobooks to supplement those I listen to in Scribd.
If you listen to DRM-free audiobooks and have an Android device, check out the app. Sorry, Apple users. There isn’t a version for you.