I love reading. Books have the ability to transport to foreign lands, across time, and even to different universes. I don’t always have time to sit down and read so audiobooks are the next best thing. I love listening to audiobooks during my commutes, and when I’m doing mindless tasks around the house. They help make me feel more productive. 😉 As a frugal person though, I really have a hard time dropping $20 to buy an audiobook. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can find free audiobooks.
This is by far my #1 favorite way to listen to audiobooks. It’s an app that you can download on your phone or tablet and sync it up with your library card. Then, you have access to all the material that’s available at your local library. I can say enough about how much I love this app. Before this app, I used to make weekly treks to the library. Since I’ve been using OverDrive, I can’t remember the last time I set foot in the library.
OverDrive lets me check out books, audiobooks, and movies. It’s so nice to be able to do it all in the comfort of home instead of having to drive to the library. One of my favorite features is that the app automatically returns the material to the library when the due date hits. That means no late fees!
If you don’t have a library card (you really should get one!), it’s okay. There are still ways to find free audiobooks. Loyal Books offers free access to books and audiobooks in the public domain. Creative works in the public domain tend to be older because the copyright has expired. Don’t knock old books though, there are plenty of goodies to be found. For example, there’s H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, a sci-fi masterpiece. There are also favorites from childhood such as Lucy M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
One of the original sites offering free books in the public domain, Project Gutenberg now also offers free audiobooks. I really love that the site has 2 types of audiobooks: human-read and computer-generated. If you’ve always dreamed of having Siri or Alexa reading to you, give the computer-generated option a whirl. If you like more inflection and emotion, stick to the human-read versions. 😉
LibriVox is extremely unique in that it contains audiobooks recorded entirely by volunteers. The works are all found in the public domain, and they are exclusively audiobooks. Being a mystery fan, I recently “read” Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Since LibriVox is operated by volunteers, that means you too can contribute by reading audiobooks for the website.
Many of us have experience with Spotify because it’s a great way to stream music. You might be surprised to learn though that Spotify also offers free audiobooks! Locating audiobooks on a service that mainly provides music is not the easiest thing. Here’s a handy tutorial that shows you how it’s done. The non-musical content isn’t limited to audiobooks. Spotify also offers short stories, poetry, and speeches.
Podiobooks is a unique option for free audiobooks because it provides the free content in chunks rather than releasing it all at once. Its name, Podiobooks, is a combination of podcast and audiobooks which explains the format. Some of the audiobooks are even read by the authors themselves!
Open Culture is an amazing resource for free audiobooks, movies, and language lessons. You can even take free classes from world-renowned universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Cambridge through Massive Open Online Courses. You won’t get school credit for the classes but it’s pretty cool to be able to learn something for free.
Compared to other free audiobook sites, Lit2Go is more education-focused. Each audiobook comes with an abstract, citation, playing time, and word count. Whether you’d like to learn more about the books you read or you’re a teacher looking for free resources, Lit2Go is a good option.
Want free audiobooks that cater to children and young adults? Try Storynory. You’ll find classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen. There are also original stories which you can only find at Storynory. Although the stories are meant for kids, there’s no reason why you can’t listen along as well.
If you are a parent with voracious readers at home or worried that your kids don’t have enough to do over the summer, you’ve got to give Sync a try. Sync is a free summer audiobooks program for young adults 13+. The program starts in April and runs for 16 weeks. Young adults are able to download 2 free audiobooks a week which means you can download up to 32 audiobooks for free! With kids doing so much texting and surfing the web these days, audiobooks are great for teaching kids new vocabulary and showing them how words are pronounced.
Are you a fan of audiobooks? Are you interested in trying any of these methods for free audiobooks?