’s Top 10 Bestselling Audiobooks of 2021

While not quite over, 2021 has been a year just as tumultuous as the prior, but tinged with hope. Perhaps we cannot credit all these books as fruits of the lockdown (of which we envisioned writers tethered to their desks, typing away as the world stood still), but we can say that we were treated to some truly exquisite reads this year.

Before we dive in, here’s a quick reminder that supply chain issues pose a challenge for books for the holiday season. Shop early, keep and open mind, and remember that when you gift a audiobook membership, you give back to your local bookstore in a big way—we share profits with bookstores without adding any extra work on their end. You can also gift individual audiobooks (including any of the Top 10 below) by choosing “Gift audiobook” on the audiobook’s page.

Now on to the main event:’s Top 10 Bestselling Audiobooks of 2021, based on sales through our 1,500+ independent bookstore partners. 

10. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Narrated by Caroline Lee

“Lee’s voice hooked me from the beginning of Apples Never Fall and had me giggling at almost every sentence. Even the most mundane of statements turns into pure comedy with Lee’s willowy and wavering Australian accent which gives perfect characterization to Joy and her family throughout this tense tale. Though you will definitely hate (or at least want to slap) every one of these characters at some point, Moriarty wows once again with her newest book. A highly enjoyable listen, I recommend this to anyone who likes thrillers with different angles (touches of humor and sass).”

—Kimi, bookseller at Buttonwood Books and Toys

9. How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

Narrated by the author

“Clint Smith takes us on an unforgettable journey through the history of slavery in the United States, revealing many truths we’ve never been told. Using lyrical prose, he creates a mesmerizing history lesson told through his personal lens. The facts are punctuated by his reactions to the spaces he visits and the stories he hears in each space. Hard truths told in beautiful language make this a book both highly informative and extremely accessible. Every American should listen to or read it; most of us have a great deal to learn and unlearn. And Smith’s poetic prose and personal voice keep it from feeling like the invaluable sociology and history lesson it is. Definitely one of the best books of the year.”

—Nancy, bookseller at Raven Book Store

8. Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile

Narrated by the author

“For Brandi Carlile fans, her memoir Broken Horses is an intimate look into her life and her music. I always pull up songs mention in books I am reading, but in this case, the audiobook makes it even better. Brandi not only reads, but sings throughout the book.”

—Nona, bookseller at CoffeeTree Books

7. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Narrated by the author

“Witty and moving essays about everything from air conditioning to Canada geese, Green artfully distills much of the human condition and what it means to be alive. Each essay’s subject ends with his rating out of five stars—I give this book five stars.”

—Violet, bookseller at Second Star to the Right

6. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Narrated by Sura Siu

Klara and the Sun is a parable, a warning, a neatly-crafted story that fits into an Artificial Friend-sized box, which—make no mistake—is not to say that it’s ordinary. Ishiguro explores the ethics of creating artificial intelligence that’s indistinguishable from humans, at least ideally. But Klara and her owner, Josie, are kindred spirits with vastly different fates. Is love still love when its object is replaceable, nay, disposable? Are some people more valuable than others; can grief ever be inappropriate? This seamless story examines our increasingly automated world, our obsession with usability, and the things that get left behind.”

—Mary, bookseller at Raven Book Store

5. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Narrated by Julia Whelan

“A hilariously comedic rom-com with memorable characters, set in varied vacation spots in various years. I enjoyed the changing timeline and seeing the relationship as it grew through the years.”

—Shelley, bookseller at Monkey and Dog Books

4. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Narrated by Julia Whelan

“I devoured Kristin Hannah’s masterful work of historical fiction, narrated by one of the best audiobook narrators working today, Julia Whelan. I found myself desperately rooting for the Martinelli family as they face a persistent series of crises during the Great Depression & the Dust Bowl. This is character driven storytelling at its best—each time I stepped away from it I couldn’t stop thinking about them. The Four Winds is a deeply moving story about a particularly dark era of profoundly relevant American history. BONUS: This audiobook edition includes an interview with author and narrator at the end!”

—Josh, bookseller at Underground Books

3. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Narrated by Julia Whelan

“This ode to Malibu in the 1980s is the perfect beach read. Four famous siblings throw a star-studded party and over the course of 24 hours find their lives changed forever. It’s enthralling and layered and so vivid it could be a memory. Perfectly paced and suspenseful from page one!”

—Meagan, bookseller at Books are Awesome

2. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Narrated by Rebecca Lowman

“I adore Laura Dave and absolutely loved The Last Thing He Told Me. Wonderful characters, amazing writing, and a twisty plot kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. Truly unputdownable and a thoroughly enjoyable read!”

—Kaitlin, bookseller at Copperfield’s Books Healdsburg

1. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Narrated by the author

“This memoir is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of grief, as well as a tender look at the complex relationship between a mother and daughter bridging generational and cultural gaps through the comforting creation of food. This book had me simultaneously sobbing and starving. A perfect read.”

—LeeAnna, bookseller at Blue Cypress Books

Playlist:’s Top 10 Bestsellers of 2021 cover

Playlist:’s Top 10 Bestsellers of 2021

Based on annual sales through our 1,500+ independent bookstore partners, this playlist has a listen for everybody.

View the playlist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *