If you're a follower of the Self Hosted communities then you know Audiobooks are constantly being discussed and people are looking for a solution to self host their collection. Previous recommendations were usually Plex or Jellyfin with plugins that can be cumbersome to install and get working properly. The biggest issue being metadata and how the books are displayed in your platform of choice.
Audiobookshelf is a self-hosted audiobook server for managing and playing your audiobooks.
Audiobookshelf has a clean, accessible design that's loaded with features but not overly complicated. Not only will it host your audiobooks, but Audiobookshelf will scan and host your Ebooks and podcasts.
Version 2.0 of Audiobookshelf is packed with a bunch of new features. The built in automated podcast download handler is another paramount feature that solves another sought after solution. You can search for your favorite podcasts, add them to your library and choose which episodes to download.
Features and Support
- Host and serve Audiobooks
- Host and serve Ebooks
- Host, search, automatically download and serve Podcasts
- Fully open-source, including the android & iOS app (in beta)
- Stream all audiobook formats on the fly
- Multi-user support w/ custom permissions
- Keeps progress per user and syncs across devices
- Auto-detects library updates, no need to re-scan
- Upload audiobooks w/ bulk upload drag and drop folders
- Backup your metadata + automated daily backups
- Progressive Web App (PWA)
- Chromecast support on the web app
- Fetch metadata and cover art from several sources
Audiobookshelf is completely free and open source. This also includes the iOS and Android apps that can be used in conjunction with the host side with playback sync. You can listen with the phone app on the go then continue where you left off on your laptop when you get home. Playback will seamlessly sync between all of your devices much like Plex or Jellyfin.
While some of these features are still a work in progress and will be for some time, Audiobookshelf works well and is a breath of fresh air for self hosting audio book enthusiasts who have been waiting for this solution.
Self Host Audiobookshelf
Audiobookshelf can easily be deployed on your docker host using this short Docker Compose stack. Simply mount your volumes to where your audiobooks are located and then launch the web app on 0.0.0.0:13378
### docker-compose.yml ### services: audiobookshelf: image: advplyr/audiobookshelf:2.0 ports: - 13378:80 volumes: - <path/to/your/audiobooks>:/audiobooks - <path/to/metadata>:/metadata - <path/to/config>:/config
You can mount more book categories by copying the first volume mount line then changing the mount path and bind name. Be sure to restart the container when you do this so the app can see the changes when you add a new library.
When adding your audiobooks to the host, it's important that your media is either tagged correctly or the directory structure is organized. You can read more about the structuring and audio meta data recommendations on the Audiobookshelf documentation website.
If you're the type that likes to do everything by hand, rest assured, Audiobookshelf has a built in metadata scraper that can pull metadata from Google Books, Open Library or Audible. You can choose which cover you want to display and what publication description you want. You can really fine tune how you want your audiobook library and personalize it to your needs. Choose to save the metadata within the book folders and even schedule daily backups for peace of mind.
Final Notes and Thoughts
There's so much more I could cover with Audbookshelf but that's the gist of it. To put it boldly, it's way more than just an audiobook host. Audiobookshelf is a complete solution for not only audiobooks but also podcasts and soon more support for ebook formats. I have been testing it since early alpha and continue to be amazed at the continuous growth and development of the application. It's obvious to me that even if you don't have audiobooks, I expect many will use Audiobookshelf for the automatic podcast handling. It really is a powerhouse application that slashes through the demands that so many people have been looking for in the Self Hosted community.
Be sure to stop by and star the Github repo and suggest ideas and features. There is also a Discord server that is quickly growing and turning into a great community of Audiobookshelf users alike.