How to Listen to Audiobooks on the Amazon Echo

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If you enjoy reading, you likely also enjoy audiobooks, since they allow you to “read” a book while you do other things. Here’s how to listen to audiobooks on the Amazon Echo using just your voice.

Using an audiobook service called Audible, you can play your audiobooks through your Amazon Echo and control them using your voice. You can also listen to your Kindle books through the Echo, if that particular Kindle book supports it–though it’ll be read in Alexa’s slightly more robotic voice than the real person you get on Audible.

In any case, it’s really easy to set up your Audible account and use your Echo to read your audiobooks aloud. In fact, as long as you’re logged into your Amazon account on your Echo device, Audible is already ready to go (since Amazon owns Audible and the two are tightly integrated). As long as you have an Audible subscription, you can go ahead and get started listening.

Sign Up for an Audible Account

If you don’t already have an Audible account, you can easily create one. Since Amazon owns Audible, it’s really quick and easy to sign up for the audiobook service. Start by going to Audible’s website and click on “Sign In” in the upper-right corner of the screen.

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Enter in your Amazon email address and password on the login screen. Click “Continue” to create or sign into your account.

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If you’ve never used Audible before, you’ll get a free 30-day trial, which will get you one free audiobook.

After you sign up for Audible, your account will automatically be linked to your Amazon Echo as long as your Amazon account is linked to the device. From there, you can buy audiobooks and listen to them on the Echo.

How to Control Audible Audiobooks with Your Voice

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There are a handful of voice commands that you can give Alexa when it comes to listening to your audiobooks from Audible. Here are some variations you can use to begin listening to your audiobooks. Keep in mind that you will need to own or be renting the audiobook on Audible in order to listen to it.

“Alexa, play the book [title].”

“Alexa, play the Audiobook [title].”

“Alexa, play [title] from Audible.”

You can also control your audiobook using your voice by pausing, rewinding, etc.

“Alexa, pause.”

“Alexa, resume.”

“Alexa, go back.” (This will rewind the audiobook by one paragraph.)

“Alexa, go forward.” (This will fast forward the audiobook by one paragraph.)

Alexa even recognizes individual chapters in audiobooks, so you can tell Alexa to go to a different chapter or fast forward to the next chapter.

“Alexa, next chapter.”

“Alexa, previous chapter.”

“Alexa, go to chapter number (#).”

“Alexa, go to last chapter.”

How to Play Audiobooks on the Echo from Your Phone

If you don’t want to use your voice to tell Alexa to play an audiobook, you can use the Alexa app to find the audiobook and begin playing it through the Amazon Echo. After it begins playing, you can use the above voice commands for controlling it if you want.

To play audiobooks from your phone, begin by opening up the Alexa app and tapping on the sidebar menu button in the top-left corner.

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Tap on “Music & Books”.

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Scroll down and tap on “Audible”.

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A list of your audiobooks that you own or rent will appear in a list.

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Simply tapping on one will begin playing it. If you’re in the middle of an audiobook, it will begin playing it from where you last left off.

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After you’re done listening to it for now, you can go into the Audible app and finish where you left off from when you listened to it on the Echo. You’ll get a popup confirming the location you’re at in the audiobook.

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There may not be a lot of times when you’ll want to listen to an audiobook at home (I find them best for listening to in the car), but if you’re doing chores, cooking dinner, or just relaxing, listening to audiobooks through the Amazon Echo can be a great way to finally finish that book you’ve been meaning to read…err…listen to.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.