What’s the best audiobook of Crime and Punishment?

“Which English audiobook of Crime and Punishment should I listen to?”

So, you like audiobooks, or you think you might, and you’re not sure what your choices are, or which audiobook contains which translation.

Let me help.

I’ve collected a list of all the audio versions of Crime and Punishment that I could find.

I can’t tell you whose voice you’ll enjoy spending 20 hours with; that’ll depend on your personal preference.

All the readers of Crime and Punishment happen to be male, except in the case of the two collaborative Librivox recordings, which both include female volunteers as well as male volunteers.

For the solo recordings, I’ve marked which narrators sounded British and which sounded American when I listened to the audio samples.

You’ll probably want to listen for yourself before deciding.

If you want a quick-and-dirty recommendation, jump down to the audible.com rankings at the bottom of the page and choose one of their top sellers.

“What if I want to read *and* listen to the book?”

You can do that manually if you have the same translation, which is part of why it helps to know which audiobook uses which translation. Moreover, Amazon has something called Whispersync that can help you switch seamlessly between the Kindle version of a book and the Audible of the same book (if you have both). Below, I’ve noted which books have this feature.

“Can I get a free audiobook of Crime and Punishment?”

Yes, you can!

I hear you; audiobooks can be expensive. But Librivox offers legitimate free audiobooks produced by volunteers. In fact, there are four different versions! One is collaborative (read aloud by different contributors in charge of producing different chapters), two are solo (read entirely by a single contributor), and one is dramatic (read aloud by different contributors in charge of different characters). They’re all based on the public domain Constance Garnett translation (see below).

Crime and Punishment: Translation History

There have been fourteen translations of Crime and Punishment so far. I found audio versions of 3 of them (shown in bold below).

  1. 1885 – Frederick Whishaw
  2. 1914 – Constance Garnett
  3. 1951 – David Magarshack
  4. 1953 – Princess Alexandra Kropotkin
  5. 1953 – Jessie Coulson
  6. 1963 – Michael Scammell
  7. 1968 – Sidney Monas
  8. 1985 – Julius Katzer
  9. 1991 – David McDuff
  10. 1992 – Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
  11. 2014 – Oliver Ready
  12. 2017 – Nicolas Pasternak Slater
  13. 2018 – Michael R. Katz
  14. 2022 – Roger Cockrell

If you want to learn about all the translations, please visit What’s the best translation of Crime and Punishment?

Are any of the audiobooks abridged? Why are the running times different?

Most of them are complete. I found a couple that are abridged. They’re so much shorter that I consider them retellings rather than abridgements. I’ve put them in the Other Info and Audio Resources section at the bottom of the page.

Among the unabridged versions, the running times are different not because some text is missing but because the narrators naturally speak at different speeds. Over the course of a book, small differences add up.

Do they still sell audiobooks on CD?

When I checked, BookDepository only had three CD versions available new.
Search for Crime and Punishment on CD at BookDepository

There are more hardcopies of audiobooks on second-hand site Abebooks. Some of them are CDs… and some are cassettes! Shopping at Abebooks (or other second-hand sources) is great if you cling to your vintage listening devices—or if you’re a bargain hunter who’s noticed that audiobooks on CD are sometimes cheaper than their digital counterparts. You can rip them onto your computer (assuming you’ve got a disk reader) and voila! You have digital files you can listen to on your smartphone.
Search for Crime and Punishment audiobooks at Abebooks

Most people seem to have switched to digital files, either by paying for individual books or (increasingly) for a subscription service. It’s more convenient for the publisher, who avoids the manufacturing, storage, and shipping costs for physical materials (though they still need the appropriate IT infrastructure); it’s also more convenient for most users, who have devices that can store and play hundreds of files on a seemingly magical handheld device.

1914 · Constance Garnett · Crime and Punishment

Critics are sharply divided on the merits of the classic Constance Garnett translation vs. the trendy Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. Visit What’s the best translation of Crime and Punishment? for more information and links to relevant articles.

I found 14 audiobook versions of the Garnett translation of Crime and Punishment. (The Garnett translation is in the public domain, so anyone can make a recording without paying a licensing fee to the publisher.)

Get the Blackstone Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Anthony Heald (American male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 20h 28m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Naxos Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Constantine Gregory (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 22h 02m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Recorded Books Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by George Guidall (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 25h 01m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the AmazonClassics / Brilliance Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by James Anderson Foster (American male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 20h 43m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Audible Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Will Poulter (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 22h 27m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Audio Connoisseur Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Charlton Griffin (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 24h 19m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the ARN Publications Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Alastair Cameron (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 20h 08m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Trout Lake Media Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Alan Munro (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 25h 04m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Tantor Media Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Dick Hill (American male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 23h 44m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Paperless Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Mark Nelson (American male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 21h 50m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Jimcin Recording Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

This version is not giving off good quality vibes, if you ask me. The description online claims that it's a recording of the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation. That's simply not true. The sample matches the public domain Garnett translation.

Narrated by Walter Zimmerman (American male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 23h 21m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Librivox Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Librivox Version 1, read by Librivox volunteers taking charge of different chapters. Available for download free!

Narrated by multiple Librivox volunteers.
Available as a digital download. Unabridged. Running time 23h 26m.
Entire audiobook available at the link.

Download free from Librivox

Get the Librivox Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Librivox Version 2, read by a solo contributor. Available for download free!

Narrated by Librivox user "Expatriate" (American male).
Available as a digital download. Unabridged. Running time 19h 52m.
Entire audiobook available at the link.

Download free from Librivox

Get the Librivox Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Librivox Version 3, read by a solo contributor. Available for download free!

Narrated by Mark Nelson, aka Harry Shaw (American male).
Available as a digital download. Unabridged. Running time 22h 02m.
Entire audiobook available at the link.

Download free from Librivox

Get the Librivox Garnett audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Librivox Version 4, read by Librivox volunteers portraying different characters. Available for download free!

Narrated by multiple Librivox volunteers.
Available as a digital download. Unabridged. Running time 21h 19m.
Entire audiobook available at the link.

Download free from Librivox

1992 · Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky · Crime and Punishment

Critics are sharply divided on the merits of the classic Constance Garnett translation vs. the trendy Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. Visit What’s the best translation of Crime and Punishment? for more information and links to relevant articles.

If you have the Vintage paperback or the Everyman’s Library hardcover of Crime and Punishment, this is the matching audiobook.

Get the Echo Point Pevear and Volokhonsky audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Peter Batchelor (British male).
Available as a digital download with Whispersync. Unabridged. Running time 25h 05m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

2014 · Oliver Ready · Crime and Punishment

Oliver Ready’s relatively recent modern translation is not to everyone’s taste, but has certainly received its share of praise.

Learn more about Ready’s translation.

If you have the Penguin Deluxe Paperback or the Penguin Classics International Edition paperback of Crime and Punishment, this is the matching audiobook.

Get the Penguin Ready audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Don Warrington (British male).
Available as a digital download. Unabridged. Running time 25h 02m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Other Info and Audio Resources

Did you know there’s an illustrated children’s version of this classic? There is, and there’s an audiobook version of it, too! There are also a handful of abridged versions, CliffsNotes, and a couple of collections of multiple works by or about Dostoevsky. See below.

Get the WF Howes audiobook of The Story of Crime and Punishment

This is the audio version of an illustrated children's version of Crime and Punishment.

Narrated by Leighton Pugh (British male).
Available as a digital download. Running time 1h 10m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Talking Classics audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Nigel Anthony (British male).
Available as a digital download. Abridged. Running time 2h 20m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Tantor audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Nigel Anthony (British male).
Available as a digital download. Abridged. Running time 2h 20m.
No sample available, but this is presumably the same as the other Nigel Anthony recording.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Naxos audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Narrated by Michael Sheen (British male).
Available as a digital download. Abridged. Running time 3h 43m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Penguin audiobook of Crime and Punishment

Based on the McDuff translation.

Narrated by Alex Jennings (British male).
Available as a digital download. Abridged. Running time 5h 15m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the CliffsNotes audiobook of Crime and Punishment: CliffsNotes

Written by James L. Roberts, PhD.

Narrated by Tim Wheeler (American male).
Available as a digital download. Running time 4h 00m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the BBC Audio audiobook of The Fyodor Dostoevsky BBC Radio Drama Collection

BBC radio productions of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, plus selected shorter fiction and bonus programmes exploring his life and work. Includes Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Devils, The Brothers Karamazov, The Friend of the Family, 'Bobok', 'The Dream of a Ridiculous Man', Dostoevsky and Dangerous Ideas, Dr Rowan Williams on Dostoevsky.

Narrated by multiple narrators.
Available as a digital download. Running time 17h 28m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Get the Combray Media audiobook of Fyodor Dostoyevsky Collection: The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and The Idiot

Narrated by Kevin Theis (American male).
Available as a digital download. Unabridged Running time 90h 32m.
Free sample available at the link.

Buy from Amazon

Conclusion

To choose an audiobook that suits you, you may first need to consider cost and translation, then consider whose voice suits you. Different people enjoy voices differently, so even ignoring the price and translation factors, I don’t think there can be any “best” audiobook.

Still, you can ask which is the most popular…

Audible.com rankings

Top 3 by number of Audible.com user ratings (as of June 2022):

  1. Blackstone Garnett translation read by Anthony Heald (over 7k since 2007)
  2. Recorded Books Garnett translation read by George Guidall (over 2k since 2000)
  3. Naxos Garnett translation read by Constantine Gregory (over 1k since 2012)

Top 3 Audible.com “bestsellers” (as of June 2022):

  1. Echo Point Pevear & Volokhonsky translation read by Peter Batchelor
  2. Naxos Garnett translation read by Constantine Gregory
  3. Blackstone Garnett translation read by Anthony Heald