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In our fast-paced society, it can be tough to find the time to curl up with a great book. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite novels or works of nonfiction.
Audiobooks let you take great stories on the go. And if you know where to look, you can get such books for free.
Following are five sources of free audiobooks.
1. Your public library
For hundreds of years, the library has been the best source around for free books. And that reality continues into the digital age.
Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom points out that public libraries offer apps such as Overdrive, Hoopla or OneClickDigital that allow you to listen to audiobooks for free.
Just download the app and link it to your library card. Soon, you will be checking out audiobooks. Typically, you can listen for one to three weeks before you have to “return” it virtually so another listener can enjoy it, too.
Paine says she and her husband instantly fell in love with the free library option.
At the rate Jesse and I are listening to audiobooks right now, we figure that the library is saving us at least $100 to $150 per month in audiobook fees. How crazy is that??
Last year, Amazon announced that it was introducing a selection of free audiobooks to Amazon Prime members. Prime members now will have access to a rotating list of 50 titles from the Audible catalog.
According to Amazon, a typical selection might include:
- Top-rated audiobooks across a range of genres, such as Mary Kubica’s “The Good Girl,” Karl Marlantes’ “What It Is Like to Go to War,” Matthew Quick’s “The Silver Linings Playbook,” Anne Lamott’s “Stitches” and Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game Alive”
- Celebrity-narrated classics, such as Scarlett Johansson’s performance of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Rosamund Pike’s narration of “Pride and Prejudice” and a full-cast recording of “Dracula,” starring Alan Cumming
- Shared listening experiences for the family, including “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The Velveteen Rabbit”
Of course, to get the free books, you will have to pay for Prime. But Amazon offers a free Prime trial. And if you already have Prime, you might as well enjoy another free benefit of membership.
Older works no longer retain their copyright status and instead enter the public domain. This is true of such classics as the plays of William Shakespeare, the beloved novels of Jane Austen and countless others.
LibriVox offers free access to public domain audiobooks. You can download these titles and keep them forever. The only caveat here is that volunteers read the books, so some titles may sound more polished and professional than others.
Side note: If you enjoy these complimentary titles — and would like to give back to the service — LibriVox is looking for volunteer readers.
The throwback site, run by Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse, contains a comprehensive collection of downloadable short stories and poems that you can browse by author, title, genre, collection and even reading level (grades K through 12).
Bonus: The site also allows you to print your selection as a PDF if you would like to read the old-fashioned way.
Many of the books on YouTube are in the public domain. However, some others might be illegally recorded or shared. So, be sure to use your best judgment here.
Do you know of other great ways to get free audiobooks? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.