50 bestselling audiobooks

Written by:
September 18, 2020
Alex SG // Shutterstock

50 bestselling audiobooks

Audible, the audiobook platform owned by Amazon, is currently having a sale in advance of Amazon Prime Day: A one-year subscription is available for $100, $50 off the usual $150 price tag. If you're a Prime member and a reader who's been thinking about subscribing—or if you know you'll be listening a lot during the winter months—you can save on a subscription now. The deal will likely continue though Amazon Prime Day, which ends Oct. 14.

In 2019, audiobook sales grew by 16% for a total revenue of $1.2 billion, up from $940 million in 2018, which was an increase of 25% over 2017. To say that audiobooks are catching on with the general public would be an understatement—audiobooks now outsell e-books for the first time ever.

It's not hard to understand the format's popularity with the masses—audiobooks give all the benefits and joys of books without having to do all that reading. Bookworms can tear through audiobooks in places and situations where eye-based reading would never fly—reading while driving, for example, is generally frowned upon, shower-based reading makes for soggy pages, and anyone who can read while working out isn't really working out.

All of that and more, however, is possible with audiobooks.

People who are new to the trend and scouting for their first audiobook will notice right away that the sheer volume of options is enough to overwhelm anyone. Those who feel lost in the endless options should consider following the well-worn path of bestsellers.

To compile a list of bestselling audiobooks, Stacker consulted Audible's list of Top 100 Best Sellers. This story includes the top 50 audiobooks on this bestseller list as of July 24, 2020, ranked according to popularity on the streaming service. All quoted reviewer ratings are out of a potential five stars on Audible.

Readers will notice a few patterns. As most people would suspect, there are plenty of good fiction novels, particularly in the thriller/suspense/mystery genres. Self-help books are disproportionately represented, and there are a whole lot of memoirs, short meditations, and audiobooks designed to literally put listeners to sleep.

There are virtually no representatives from horror, military history, and other popular genres. A handful of authors made it into more than one spot, but one writer's literary wizardry proved so powerful that the author commands one in every 10 entries on this list.

Keep reading to find out which audiobooks are flying off the digital shelves.

#50. Never Split the Difference

- Author: Chris Voss
- Narrator(s): Michael Kramer
- Length: 8 hours, 7 minutes
- Released: May 2016

This tutorial on the art of negotiation was authored by a former FBI hostage negotiator and is voiced by a professional narrator. It maintains a rating of 4.8 out of five stars after nearly 6,000 reviews.

#49. SuperLife

- Author: Darin Olien
- Narrator(s): Darin Olien, Matt Burns
- Length: 7 hours, 29 minutes
- Released: July 2015

Written by a superfood expert who also handles the lion’s share of the book’s narration, the concept of “SuperLife” is summed up neatly by its subtitle: “The 5 Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome.” The holistic wellness guide enjoys a rating of 4.7 stars after more than 500 reviews.

#48. Memoirs and Misinformation

- Authors: Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon
- Narrator(s): Jeff Daniels
- Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
- Released: July 2020

Hollywood and comedy superstar Jim Carrey wrote this semiautobiographical novel along with essayist and journalist Dana Vachon. The work dives into the loneliness and despair that plagues the celebrity author despite his enormous wealth and success. It’s narrated by someone else who knows a thing or two about being rich and famous—fellow actor Jeff Daniels. The book enjoys a rating of 3.9.

#47. How the Stock Market Works

- Author: Ramon P. DeGennaro
- Narrator(s): Ramon P. DeGennaro
- Length: 9 hours, 15 minutes
- Released: April 2014

Good for both newbies and investing veterans alike, the concept of this book is summed up right there in the title. It holds a rating of 4.3 stars after nearly 2,000 reviews. Several reviewers commented that it should be required reading for high school kids before they enter the real world and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

#46. A Killer's Wife

- Author: Victor Methos
- Narrator(s): Brittany Pressley
- Length: 9 hours, 21 minutes
- Released: March 2020

This crime fiction novel is just one of nearly 20 books by Victor Methos, many of which are also highly regarded legal/crime thrillers. The narrator, too, is a seasoned veteran—Brittany Pressley has narrated hundreds of titles. The book enjoys a rating of 4.6 after more than 1,500 reviews.

#45. 12 Rules for Life

- Author: Jordan B. Peterson
- Narrator(s): Jordan B. Peterson
- Length: 15 hours, 40 minutes
- Released: January 2018

Compelling, controversial, and hard to debate, Jordan Peterson is a celebrity academic, intellectual, debater, and social commentator who has stirred both intrigue and criticism. His blockbuster philosophical self-help book “12 Rules for Life” has garnered nearly 60,000 reviews for a cumulative rating of 4.6 stars.

#44. 1984

- Author: George Orwell
- Narrator(s): Simon Prebble
- Length: 11 hours, 22 minutes
- Released: December 2006

George Orwell’s most famous and enduring work, “1984” remains a bestseller more than 70 years after it was first published in 1949. The nightmarish tale about a dystopian future where the population exists under the heel of an oppressive and intrusive overlord government gave pop culture the phrase “Big Brother is watching you.” The book earned renewed interest in recent years as real-life revelations about government surveillance and corporate data collection have made many of Orwell’s predictions turn out to be terrifyingly accurate.

#43. The Summer House

- Author: James Patterson
- Narrator(s): Ari Fliakos
- Length: 10 hours, 19 minutes
- Released: June 2020

This murder mystery pits Army investigators against local law enforcement in a battle of wills following a string of grisly murders in a small town. Brendan DuBois is the coauthor of this novel, which has earned a rating of 4.6 after 2,775 reviews.

#42. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 3

- Author: J.K. Rowling
- Narrator(s): Jim Dale
- Length: 11 hours, 49 minutes
- Released: November 2015

The “Harry Potter” series transformed British author J.K. Rowling from a broke single mother on government assistance to one of history’s bestselling authors—the series has sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide. This installment of the blockbuster book and film franchise pits the namesake character against a villain called Sirius Black. It has a nearly perfect 4.9 rating after an equally impressive 71,000-plus reviews.

#41. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2

- Author: J.K. Rowling
- Narrator(s): Jim Dale
- Length: 9 hours, 3 minutes
- Released: November 2015

Rowling snags another spot on the list with this "Harry Potter" installment, which finds the boy wizard grappling with strange happenings as Dobby the house-elf's scary predictions start to come true. This installment also earned a stellar 4.9 rating—in this case, on more than 81,000 reviews.

#40. The Atlantic

- Author: Gordon Hempton
- Length: 2 hours
- Released: June 2020

This incredible title brings the power of audiobooks to life, thanks to the talent of acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. Part of the Audible Sleep Collection, it’s not your garden variety canned nature sleep soundtrack. Hempton went to great lengths to capture precise natural soundscapes that are unique to Cape Cod as a sleep aid audiobook.

#39. Never Have I Ever

- Author: Joshilyn Jackson
- Narrator(s): Joshilyn Jackson
- Length: 12 hours, 55 minutes
- Released: July 2019

In this highly acclaimed women’s fiction/literature novel, New York Times’ bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson tells the tale of an innocent drinking game played to extreme ends. It’s been heralded by many top publications and critics, and readers agree, giving it 4.3 stars after nearly 2,900 reviews.

#38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5

- Author: J.K. Rowling
- Narrator(s): Jim Dale
- Length: 26 hours, 29 minutes
- Released: November 2015

Rowling is back again, this time in the top 40, with another “Harry Potter” installment that chronicles dark and dangerous times at Hogwarts. After more than 63,000 reviews, this chapter in the series, like the others, boasts a phenomenal rating of 4.9 stars.

#37. American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club)

- Author: Jeanine Cummins
- Narrator(s): Yareli Arizmendi
- Length: 16 hours, 43 minutes
- Released: January 2020

Hailed as one of the most compelling novels of our time by some of the most significant living critics and authors, “American Dirt” has been compared to “The Grapes of Wrath.” With complex characters and layered plotlines, it tells the tale of a Mexican woman whose comfortable life is turned upside down after a conflict with a drug cartel. Yareli Arizmendi has also received accolades for the book’s narration, which AudioFile magazine called “full of fierce tenderness.”

#36. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 4

- Author: J.K. Rowling
- Narrator(s): Jim Dale
- Length: 20 hours, 37 minutes
- Released: November 2015

Rowling continues to dominate the early part of the list, this time with book 4 in the "Harry Potter" series, which finds the boy wizard trying to survive the Triwizard Tournament. Here, too, Rowling can brag about a near-perfect rating of 4.9 after more than 68,000 reviews.

#35. Born a Crime

- Author: Trevor Noah
- Narrator(s): Trevor Noah
- Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes
- Released: November 2016

This incredible tale chronicles the “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s coming-of-age experience in the wild and dangerous world of South Africa in the waning days of apartheid. Like Rowling’s works on this list so far, it earns a powerful 4.9 rating—but it crushes even the mighty “Harry Potter” with more than 163,000 reviews.

#34. Pretty Things

- Author: Janelle Brown
- Narrator(s): Julia Whelan, Lauren Fortgang, Hillary Huber
- Length: 16 hours, 6 minutes
- Released: April 2020

Critics gushed over this highly acclaimed novel, which tells the tale of two very different women whose lives become intertwined in the wake of a scam perpetrated by one of them. The audiobook follows an interesting formula with three narrators, but it worked with readers, who gave the book a combined 4.6 stars after more than 3,400 reviews.

#33. The Order

- Author: Daniel Silva
- Narrator(s): George Guidall
- Length: 9 hours, 55 minutes
- Released: July 2020

This complex tale takes readers on a journey through the highest echelons of the Vatican and the Swiss Guard after a pope dies under mysterious circumstances. After nearly 1,000 reviews, readers give it a rating of 4.4 stars.

#32. Talking to Strangers

- Author: Malcolm Gladwell
- Narrator(s): Malcolm Gladwell
- Length: 8 hours, 42 minutes
- Released: September 2019

Canadian journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell, already known for his writing, found audio fame with his highly successful “Revisionist History” podcast. This optimistic and intriguing collection of intertwined stories is summed up by the book’s subtitle: “What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know.” Readers give it 4.6 stars after nearly 50,000 reviews.

#31. The Vanishing Half

- Author: Brit Bennett
- Narrator(s): Shayna Small
- Length: 11 hours, 34 minutes
- Released: June 2020

This novel follows identical twin sisters whose lives take very different paths in a saga that deals with race, identity, and the true meaning of self. The book, which has been compared to literature written by some of history's most acclaimed African American women writers, boasts a 4.5 rating after nearly 2,500 reviews.

#30. Unfu*k Yourself

- Author: Gary John Bishop
- Narrator(s): Gary John Bishop
- Length: 3 hours, 24 minutes
- Released: August 2017

This provocatively titled self-help book takes on issues like parenting and relationships with the no-nonsense perspective that the name of the book implies. It’s one of several books by Gary John Bishop that required an asterisk for the purpose of censorship. After more than 65,000 reviews, readers gave it a rating of 4.6 stars.

#29. The Tea Shoppe

- Author: Josie Adams
- Narrator(s): Nicola Barber
- Length: 40 minutes
- Released: June 2020

Also part of the Audible Sleep Collection is “The Tea Shoppe,” a unique collection of stories with no beginnings, middles, or ends so the listener who drifts off to sleep won’t miss anything. The narrator’s soothing voice is all part of the sleepy magic. The title enjoys a rating of 4.4 stars after nearly 1,200 reviews.

#28. Honor Yourself

- Author: Diddy
- Narrator(s): Diddy
- Length: 25 minutes
- Released: April 2020

This calming meditation is written and narrated by none other than media mogul, entrepreneur, and hip-hop artist extraordinaire Sean Combs. Listeners, who are in and out in under 30 minutes, give it a combined 4.6 stars after more than 3,000 reviews.

#27. Critical Business Skills for Success

- Author: The Great Courses
- Narrator(s): Clinton O. Longenecker, Eric Sussman, Michael A. Roberto, Ryan Hamilton
- Length: 31 hours, 18 minutes
- Released: April 2015

Written for the business student, the entrepreneur, the entry-level worker, and the CEO alike, this book breaks down the business of doing business successfully. Five esteemed business professors give a combined 12 lectures in this long, informative, and deep dive. After more than 2,500 reviews, it holds a rating of 4.6 stars.

#26. The Answer Is...

- Author: Alex Trebek
- Narrator(s): Ken Jennings, Alex Trebek
- Length: 4 hours, 35 minutes
- Released: July 2020

A household name since 1984, "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek wrote this reflective memoir after he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He shares narration with Ken Jennings, who holds the record for longest winning streak on "Jeopardy!" It holds an impressive rating of 4.8 stars.

#25. The Collector

- Author: Nora Roberts
- Narrator(s): Julia Whelan
- Length: 15 hours, 44 minutes
- Released: April 2014

This well-received novel deals with the pitfalls of greed, deceit, betrayal, and obsession. A prolific romance author who’s up there with the all-time greats in terms of sales, Nora Roberts has written more than 200 novels. More than a half-billion of her books are in print.

#24. The Take

- Author: Christopher Reich
- Narrator(s): Paul Michael
- Length: 11 hours, 56 minutes
- Released: January 2018

This spy thriller is one of several highly rated novels penned by Christopher Reich, who has been lauded for writing complexly layered but supremely readable novels. The book holds a rating of 4.3 stars.

#23. Peace Talks

- Author: Jim Butcher
- Narrator(s): James Marsters
- Length: 12 hours, 52 minutes
- Released: July 2020

Book 16 in the Dresden Files series, “Peace Talks” chronicles the exploits of Harry Dresden, a Chicago-based wizard who must negotiate a deal with the world’s supernatural nations. Jim Butcher has authored nearly 80 books and his fantasy novels maintain a ferociously loyal following of readers.

#22. Tension Release

- Author: The Big Quiet
- Narrator(s): Jackie Cantwell
- Length: 18 minutes
- Released: May 2020

Part of the Audible Sleep Collection, “Tension Release” is a quick listen designed to do exactly what the title implies. Mass-meditation guru Jackie Cantwell takes listeners through a series of stress-obliterating inhales and exhales. Only the second book on this list to score less than four stars, this title earned a still very good 3.9 rating.

#21. Emotional Intelligence Mastery Bible: 7 Books in 1

- Author: Brandon Cooper
- Narrator(s): Sam Slydell, Russell Archey, Roland Purdy
- Length: 11 hours, 47 minutes
- Released: January 2019

This seven-part "Complete Psychologist's Guide" self-help box set covers emotional intelligence, self-discipline, cognitive behavioral therapy, how to analyze people, manipulation, persuasion, and anger management. It boasts a more-than-solid rating of 4.5 stars.

#20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1

- Author: J.K. Rowling
- Narrator(s): Jim Dale
- Length: 8 hours, 18 minutes
- Released: November 2015

In 1997, J.K. Rowling published “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”—“Philosopher’s” would become “Sorcerer’s” when it reached the United States the following year. It was a watershed moment for children’s literature, the fantasy genre, and Rowling herself, who was catapulted to the highest echelons of literary superstardom. The first book in the “Harry Potter” series—which enjoys a rating of 4.9 stars on a whopping 116,000-plus reviews—introduces the series’ namesake character when he was still just an orphan who wondered why he could make strange and unexplainable things happen without meaning to.

#19. Sleep Island

- Author: Bram Barouh
- Narrator(s): Bram Barouh
- Length: 14 minutes
- Released: May 2020

Another entry in the Amazon Sleep Collection is “Sleep Island,” a relaxing journey into an imaginary hammock on a beach courtesy of mindfulness educator Bram Barouh. Many reviewers raved that after putting it on, they fell asleep in just minutes.

#18. The Mother of Black Hollywood

- Author: Jenifer Lewis
- Narrator(s): Jenifer Lewis
- Length: 10 hours, 47 minutes
- Released: November 2017

This memoir chronicles “Black-ish” star Jenifer Lewis’ real-life journey from Midwestern poverty to success on Broadway and the big and small screens. Critics describe it as funny, moving, and over-the-top. After nearly 8,500 reviews, it holds an impressive rating of 4.8 stars.

#17. Becoming

- Author: Michelle Obama
- Narrator(s): Michelle Obama
- Length: 19 hours, 3 minutes
- Released: November 2018

Told in her own words and in her own voice, Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming” traces the former first lady’s journey to becoming one of the most iconic women on the planet. After nearly 150,000 reviews, her amazing story holds a near-perfect rating of 4.9 stars.

#16. Untamed

- Author: Glennon Doyle
- Narrator(s): Glennon Doyle
- Length: 8 hours, 22 minutes
- Released: March 2020

Lauded by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, Glennon Doyle is an author and grassroots philanthropist who runs an all-woman nonprofit organization called Rising. People magazine called her "the patron saint of female empowerment." "Untamed" channels that energy into a book filled with insight about the state of womanhood in the modern era.

#15. Near Dark

- Author: Brad Thor
- Narrator(s): Armand Schultz
- Length: 11 hours, 20 minutes
- Released: July 2020

Leading off the top 15 is Brad Thor, who is almost universally regarded as one of the great thriller writers of his generation—he’s certainly one of the most prolific. “Near Dark” is book 19 in the Scot Harvath series alone. Thor has authored more than 40 books.

#14. Hoh Rainforest

- Author: Gordon Hempton
- Length: 2 hours
- Released: May 2020

Acoustic ecologist extraordinaire Gordon Hempton is back again with natural recordings good enough to earn a spot in the Amazon Sleep Collection and a rating of 4.7 stars. This time, it’s the sound of rainfall in Washington’s Olympic National Park in Washington in “Hoh Rainforest.”

#13. Atomic Habits

- Author: James Clear
- Narrator(s): James Clear
- Length: 5 hours, 35 minutes
- Released: October 2018

The purpose of “Atomic Habits” is to help listeners form good new habits and break the old bad ones that are holding them back. Fortune 500 companies and major sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, and NFL use author James Clear's strategies. The general public approves, too—“Atomic Habits” holds a 4.8-star rating after more than 41,000 reviews.

#12. Can’t Hurt Me

- Author: David Goggins
- Narrator(s): David Goggins, Adam Skolnick
- Length: 13 hours, 37 minutes
- Released: November 2018

Super warrior and super endurance athlete David Goggins holds the distinction of being the only person in history to complete the highly selective, grueling, and elite training programs of the Air Force Tactical Air Controllers, Army Rangers, and Navy SEALs. After setting multiple strength and endurance records, he gained fame as an inspirational speaker and fan-favorite podcast guest. “Can’t Hurt Me” tells the tale of his journey to his current status as an Armed Forces icon and champion athlete from his humble, poor, and abusive early life.

#11. How to Be an Antiracist

- Author: Ibram X. Kendi
- Narrator(s): Ibram X. Kendi
- Length: 10 hours, 43 minutes
- Released: August 2019

Not only an acclaimed writer, but also a Boston University professor and researcher, Ibram X. Kendi is one of the most important thinkers and authors on the subject of race. "How to Be an Antiracist" is an examination of racism in the Western world and a tutorial on breaking the historical cycle of race-based caste systems. Coming at a time when Black Lives Matter has likely become the largest movement the U.S. has ever seen, it holds a 4.8 rating after nearly 6,000 reviews.

#10. Breath

- Author: James Nestor
- Narrator(s): James Nestor
- Length: 7 hours, 18 minutes
- Released: May 2020

Leading off the top 10 is author and journalist James Nestor, who dedicates this audiobook to the lost art of the thing that human beings do 25,000 times a day without thinking about it—breathing. Nestor argues that people should take breathing much more seriously and frequently and outlines some of the shocking consequences of what might happen if they don’t.

#9. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

- Author: Jason M. Satterfield
- Narrator(s): Jason M. Satterfield
- Length: 12 hours, 35 minutes
- Released: June 2015

University of California, San Francisco professor Jason M. Satterfield gives 24 half-hour lectures in this analysis of the connection between human psychology and human behavior. The result is a collection of strategies that anyone can use to mitigate bad behaviors by managing their moods.

#8. A Short Account of the History of Mathematics

- Author: W. Rouse Ball
- Narrator(s): Tony Shalhoub
- Length: 30 minutes
- Released: May 2020

The soft voice of Tony Shalhoub of “Monk” and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fame bores readers to sleep with this historical account of the formalization of modern mathematics in Ancient Greece. Part of the Audible Sleep Collection, it holds a rating of 4.3 after more than 2,000 reviews.

#7. White Fragility

- Author: Robin DiAngelo
- Narrator(s): Amy Landon
- Length: 6 hours, 21 minutes
- Released: June 2018

“White Fragility” is a frank and honest assessment about why it has been so difficult to have a frank and honest discussion about race in America. Its author Robin DiAngelo has written and lectured about social justice and race for two decades. Its narrator Amy Landon is a veteran whose voice has brought more than 240 audiobooks to life.

#6. Where the Crawdads Sing

- Author: Delia Owens
- Narrator(s): Cassandra Campbell
- Length: 12 hours, 12 minutes
- Released: August 2018

Widely considered to be one of the greatest literary achievements of the decade, "Where the Crawdads Sing" is nature writer Delia Owens' debut novel—it went on to sell more than 6 million copies and holds a 4.8-star rating after nearly 164,000 reviews. Beautiful prose and rich, real characters are the calling card of this deep and teary coming-of-age tale.

#5. The Guest List

- Author: Lucy Foley
- Narrator(s): Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble
- Length: 9 hours, 54 minutes
- Released: June 2020

Batting leadoff in the top five is “The Guest List,” Lucy Foley’s crime thriller and follow-up to her bestselling novel “The Hunting Party.” The plot follows guests of a wedding party as readers struggle to guess who among them is responsible for the person who turned up dead. Several big critics have compared it to Agatha Christie.

#4. How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps

- Author: Ben Shapiro
- Narrator(s): Ben Shapiro
- Length: 6 hours, 19 minutes
- Released: July 2020

Conservative commentator and debater Ben Shapiro assails the hordes of what the author calls “disintegrationists”—radical internal enemies who are hell-bent on tearing America apart at its foundation brick by brick. “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps” enjoys an excellent 4.9-star rating, but like all successful partisan political books, Shapiro is preaching mostly to those who have already been converted.

#3. The Last Smile in Sunder City

- Author: Luke Arnold
- Narrator(s): Luke Arnold
- Length: 7 hours, 55 minutes
- Released: February 2020

Critics have praised the meticulous and exhaustive world-building that author Luke Arnold accomplished in this mystery/thriller/suspense/fantasy novel. Before he debuted as an author, Arnold earned on-screen acclaim as an actor in “Black Sails.”

#2. The Sandman

- Author: Neil Gaiman
- Narrator(s): Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, Neil Gaiman, James McAvoy, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, Michael Sheen
- Length: 10 hours, 54 minutes
- Released: July 2020

The book’s publisher notes that “The Sandman” is sexual, violent, and profane, none of which was enough to deter Los Angeles Times Magazine from dubbing it “the greatest epic in the history of comic books.” The sweeping graphic fantasy is buoyed by an ensemble cast of talented narrators. Readers gave it a cumulative 4.8-star rating after more than 5,000 reviews.

#1. Too Much and Never Enough

- Author: Mary L. Trump PhD
- Narrator(s): Mary L. Trump PhD
- Length: 7 hours, 5 minutes
- Released: July 2020

"How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man" is the subtitle of "Too Much and Never Enough," a controversial and bombshell tell-all memoir that President Donald Trump tried hard to stop from ever being published. His niece published it nonetheless, and the revelations sent shockwaves across both aisles of the political world. The text paints a picture of Trump as the product of a family defined by greed, dysfunction, betrayal, and ruthless ambition.

Trending Now