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How to download and listen to audiobooks on an iPad

Chris Torney / 27 January 2016 ( 30 July 2018 )

Sit back and relax while listening to your books with our guide to downloading and using audiobooks on an iPad.

iPad with headphones
Audiobooks take the hard work out of reading, allowing you to sit back and relax while listening to your book

Audiobooks take much of the hard work out of reading, and they can also help to bring novels and autobiographies alive – especially when they are read by their author, as is particularly common in the latter category.

Your iPad has a built-in program called iBooks that lets you buy, download and listen to audiobooks all through the same app.

You can also buy audiobooks through other companies, such as the subscription service Audible, which has its own iPad app. 

Audible currently costs £7.99 a month, with the first month free: this includes one free audiobook a month, which can potentially save you money as many titles cost much more than this.

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Using iBooks for audiobooks

The iBooks app is designed both for audiobooks and normal e-books that you read on your iPad’s screen.

Tap on 'iBooks' to open the app and you’ll be taken to the iBooks store: at the top, tap on 'Audiobooks' to start browsing.

Use the 'Categories' option in the top left or the search box in the top right to find an audiobook you want. 

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Buying and downloading audiobooks

Tap on the book and you’ll see more information, such as the price and other listeners’ reviews. 

You should also see a 'Preview' option: this will play a short sample of the audiobook so you can get an idea whether you like the narrator’s voice, for example.

Tap on the price and then on 'Buy Audiobook' to start your download. You should be asked for your Apple ID details or at least your password.

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Listening to your audiobook

If you bought it on iBooks, your audiobook will be stored with any e-books you have downloaded under the 'My Books' tab in the iBooks app (it’s in the bottom left-hand corner).

If 'Books' is showing at the top of the screen in the middle, tap on it and then select 'Audiobooks'.

Tap on the audiobook’s title to play it. As with any audiobook player, it starts where you left off the last time you listened to the book – but you can skip forward or backward if you like.

You can also change the reading speed to suit or use the Sleep Timer to turn the audiobook off after a specified period of time.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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