How to Download Audiobooks from Google Play Books – DRM-Free!

When Google started selling audiobooks in Play Books back in January I was quick to dismiss their service because the audiobook experience was simply awful. It was so bad that I concluded “Google clearly does not” care about selling audiobooks.

It looks like I will have to revise that opinion.

Boing Boing has brought my attention to the fact that Google will let you download your purchased audiobooks as DRM-free files.

You can find the download option in the audiobooks tab in the “My Books” section of the Google Play website. Simply click the 3-dot menu icon for a given ebook, and then select the export option.

I checked, and I can confirm this is true. I was able to download both of the audiobooks I bought from Google, and play them in VLC. I got the complete file, and not just a sample.

This is great news for anyone who wants to protect their investment, and it also gives Google a competitive advantage. Amazon refuses to let you download DRM-free audiobooks from the Audible website; when I try, they give me a file that is intended to be opened with their abysmal Audible Windows app. (I gave up in despair a while ago.)

I know where I will buy my audiobooks in the future; how about you?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Dave Parker24 July, 2018

    I have managed to get audiobooks out of Audible in the past, the procedure is:

    1) Download the audiobook from Audible to get a .aa file
    2) Open the file with iTunes
    3) Burn it to CD from ITunes (I used a virtual CD drive)
    4) Rip the CDs to mp3s

    1. Seriously?!24 December, 2018

      The issue with that is Apple sells the audiobooks up to 64k Variable bitrate.
      MANY people do NOT realize that you can Not burn that audiobook then RIP it above 64k as it distorts the file quality.
      It’s very unfortunate that Apple and Audible do Not release higher bitrate files (96k-256k) which offers better sound quality and that you won’t have to increase the volume level to hear the audio.

  2. Ana24 July, 2018

    For those of us that don’t have an iThing, Nate provided another option some time ago, although you need a Linux computer or the knowledge to fake browsing from a Linux computer.
    Anyway, Google Play is a good option more popular for the general public than other alternatives, if they have the audiobook you look for, which is another caveat, Audible has a lot of audiobooks exclusively.

  3. Vikarti Anatra25 July, 2018

    This does not work for ALL audio books, at least in theory.
    All Play Books audibooks have ‘???????: ????????” (Export: Available). If such option is present, it could mean it does have 2 states.

    For iTunes we have inAudible app

  4. Raymond27 July, 2018

    Like Vikarti says, not all audiobooks support downloading. The publisher has to enable that option and you’ll find it in the description of a title under “export function”. In fact, in most titles i tried, export (downloading) was unavailable.

    The ones that do are great though and you can download a m4a file that you can play on other devices (or convert to mp3). I play them with the free VLC Player which also handjes audiofiles well.

  5. Hawkins Dale3 April, 2019

    Fuck DRM. Fuck you if you’re going to encumber the media that I FUCKING PAID YOU for.

    Every audio book that I’ve purchased from Google has had an Export option. I like to download files to my phone, and to my Linux machine, to listen to offline, and this works fine with the .M4A files that the Google export tool creates.

    I purchased the book from you. I am going to listen to it wherever the fuck I want.

    Recently, Microsoft decided to get out of the audiobook business. They took their DRM servers offline, and now any book you bought from them is no longer playable. Yes, they offered refunds, but so what? I like to think that I BOUGHT IT SO FUCK YOU I AM GOING TO READ IT.

    Call me crazy, but this is my opinion.

    1. Patrick O'Donnell8 February, 2020

      I’m in complete agreement. I think this is astonishingly insulting on the part of the digital providers. I foresee a time when all those users of digital download media who have forked out their $$ for a product will suddenly discover that their media is no longer available for one reason or another. I’m somebody who likes to revisit material many years later, and prefer to have a backup copy that I can access when and how I like. It’s an unusual world we live in where we pay for something that exists only virtually and can become inaccessible instantly. It’s also irritating that there is little opportunity to talk to these faceless providers to air any grievances.

  6. Rodger1 July, 2019

    Thanks for this article, but I found that the Export function is not available in the 3-dot menu for the Google audio books I’ve purchased for $$, but it is available for the free audio books. If anyone knows how to download/export the audio books that don’t have an Export option in the menu, please share!

    1. Kassie2 August, 2019

      Hi Rodger

      It is available for some items you purchase. (I don’t know the percentage breakdown of how many purchased you can vs cannot download)

      when you are reviewing the book scroll down a bit and under: Additional Information there is a section that says: Export option – if it says available then you can download a copy onto your desktop (I’ve tried this with Sharon Sala’s Going Gone (Which I purchased, it was not free) – and can confirm I’ve successfully transferred it into my itunes, and confirmed via VLC that it plays fine).

      I don’t know what parameters dictate being able to download vs not…..But if it’s Region locked – I am in Canada using a Canadian account.

    2. Jesse4 August, 2019

      I’ve found that some audiobooks are locked to do so. Some others (less popular) may be able to, but I have found I cannot download some more expensive and popular audiobooks. I haven’t figured a workaround, but there may be a way on mobile to download and transfer that way to a computer.

  7. Denny Chiu24 September, 2020

    The problem is that the MP4 audio file, for me, is incompatible with Sonos. So I can only use a media player on my PC. Is there a way to convert MP4 to MP3. I’ve looked around the Web but can’t find a way.
    Why would Google Play allow you to download MP4 anyway (and not MP3)?

    1. Jocelyn10 March, 2021

      Still works 03/2021!

      Audacity will convert .m4a to .mp3 for free.

  8. M30 July, 2021

    Unfortunately this excludes any chapter info. Or is there a way to add it back?


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