For bookworms like me, the only thing better than free books (or free e-books) is free audiobooks. Between my Kindle e-reader and various reading apps, I am always sneaking in a chapter or two whenever I can. However there are the times it’s nearly impossible to properly read a book — like when I’m cooking dinner, cleaning the house, or driving.
Unfortunately, building a personal library of audiobooks can be pricey. These versions tend to cost more than their print and e-book counterparts. If you dig around the internet long enough, you can probably find an audio version of just about any book. And that can be pretty tempting when an audio version can cost upwards of $20. However, many of these recordings aren’t legal, as they infringe on the author’s copyright. Thankfully, there are sites that are completely legal in their offerings of free audiobook streams or downloads. And since we’re all about saving you money, we put together a list of the 20 best places to find free audiobooks.
Have a membership with your local library? Then you also have access to free e-books, audiobooks, magazines, podcasts, and more through OverDrive. The company distributes digital content to public libraries through their Libby app. They also accommodate students and educators through their school-based Sora app. So if you have a bunch of Colleen Hoover titles on your TBR list, save yourself a few bucks. Borrow the e-book or audiobook through OverDrive.
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If you’re looking for classics, then LibriVox is a great place to start. The website solely features books that are public domain. These are generally books published before 1923. Moreover, unlike most other audiobook sites, this one is completely volunteer-run. The books in the LibriVox library are recorded by volunteers all over the world. These folks then upload to the site once an audiobook is finished. LibriVox releases the completed audiobooks back into the public domain via their website and YouTube page. The files are completely free to listen to on your computer, mobile device, or by downloading to a device. You can even register for the LibriVox forum and volunteer to read part of a book yourself!
3. Loyal Books
Boasting over 7,000 free audiobooks and e-books, Loyal Books also offers free public domain works. After creating a free account, users can search for books by category (kids, adventure, drama, poetry, etc). Then they can download the audio file to their computer or mobile device or listen on iTunes. Many titles in the Loyal Books library have free PDF downloads of the e-book available. That’s a nice bonus so you can read along as you listen.
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In addition to streaming music and podcasts on Spotify, you can also use the platform to listen to audiobooks. Spotify’s Audiobooks section features over 300,000 books. Some require a purchase, but many classics are available free of charge. Classic novels in the public domain such as Jane Eyre and Great Expectations are available for free listening. Each chapter is set up like an episode of a podcast.
Once you create a free Spotify account, you can access the playlist of free audiobooks available. These are broken down into specific playlists like Homeschooling, Nonfiction, and Bestsellers. Have a certain author or story in mind? Check for it in the search bar to see availability.
A free online collection of stories, plays, and poems, the works in the Lit2Go library are public domain books. They are really tailored for use in a classroom setting. Users can search by author, book, genre, collection, or readability based on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level index. Each audiobook can also be downloaded as a printable PDF to use as supplemental reading material.
6. All You Can Books
A free 30-day trial with All You Can Books gives you immediate access to unlimited downloads of e-books, audiobooks, language courses, and podcasts. Once the 30 days are up, your service will roll over to a monthly subscription of $19.99 per month — the approximate cost of purchasing one audiobook at most retailers.
Audible is the audiobook arm of Amazon. It features thousands upon thousands of contemporary fiction titles, autobiographies, nonfiction works, meditation programs, and more. Most of the content on Audible is only available with a paid subscription, starting with a free 30-day trial. The Audible Plus plan is $7.95 a month for the service, offering unlimited access to select audiobooks and podcasts. For $14.95 a month, you have unlimited access to the entire Audible catalog. Plus, you receive one free title a month to keep in your library even if you discontinue your subscription. (Amazon Prime members get two free titles a month.)
However, outside of the paid monthly membership, Audible does offer a collection of free listens to any Amazon user. The rotating selection includes books in various genres from science fiction to romance. There are new releases as well as literary classics, Audible Original titles, podcasts, meditations, and more. All you have to do to access and download the free listens is log in with your Amazon account.
The Canadian company Kobo (which is owned by the Rakuten Group) sells e-books, e-readers, tablets, and audiobooks. Like Audible, Kobo requires a monthly subscription to access their library. However, if you live outside of Canada, you can get a free 30-day audiobook trial. Once your introductory trial is up, your recurring subscription will automatically kick in at $9.99 a month unless you cancel before the end of the free trial.
Sign up for a 30-day free trial with Audiobooks.com and you can select three free titles from their library, which includes a wide variety of contemporary fiction, bestsellers, autobiographies, and more. After your trial period ends, you can continue with a monthly subscription of $14.95 that includes one free audiobook per month to keep. Audiobooks.com frequently offers sale promotions, like discounted audiobooks and 2-for-1 deals.
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Classics like Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables, and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are among the 100,0000 public domain e-books and audiobooks available at digitalbook.io. Users can search by genre, author, or what’s trending, and then download their book of choice to their device as an MP3 file or listen as a podcast.
11. Open Culture
Open Culture is a free hub of cultural and educational digital media. They provide online courses, meditation, movies, and textbooks available to anyone and everyone. The website also includes a hefty library of 1,000 free audiobooks. The freebies are mostly classic literature, with some poetry and nonfiction peppered in. You’ll find direct links for MP3 downloads, streams, or iTunes listening.
Elevate bedtime stories for your children with a free audiobook from the StoryNory library. The website includes original stories, classic fairytales, novels, poems, and a variety of educational lessons. StoryNory’s free audio content can be listened to directly from the website, through their app, or through Apple Podcasts.
13. Google Play
The Google Play Store offers a selection of fiction and nonfiction narrated books for free. Many titles are public domain classics like Gulliver’s Travels and Dracula. However, there’s also a large assortment of contemporary books across multiple genres, including romance, fantasy, children’s literature, and thrillers.
If you’re interested in reading or listening to books for free before they’re published, then NetGalley is definitely worth checking out. The website distributes digital galleys (called advanced reader copies or ARCs) of upcoming books in exchange for honest reviews to generate buzz. To get approved, it helps if you actively review books you read on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, or BookBub, as there’s an option to link to those profiles when setting up a free NetGalley account.
NetGalley also has a “Read Now” and “Listen Now” section of audiobooks available for immediate download without requiring the publisher’s approval. Make sure you provide feedback on the book you’ve received once finished and cross-promote your review to Amazon and Goodreads if possible.
Hoopla works in a manner similar to OverDrive: if you have a membership with a partnering library, then you can access and “borrow” content from the site’s archives of e-books and audiobooks. Hoopla’s digital content goes beyond books, too. You can borrow movies, music, comics, and television series.
16. Kindle Unlimited
If you’re already a member of Kindle Unlimited, your monthly subscription includes access to the audio version of select e-book titles. Not every title in the Kindle Unlimited library has this perk, but titles that include the Audible Narration will have a headphone icon next to it. If you aren’t a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. This allows you to borrow up to 10 titles at one time and gives unlimited access to the catalog of audiobooks.
17. Project Gutenberg
Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg was the first website to offer free public domain e-books and is one of the oldest online content providers. Their library includes audiobooks, mostly narrated by volunteers, and others that are computer-generated.
Kind of like the Costco of audiobooks, AudiobooksNow is a paid subscription service that offers “club pricing” on their library of bestsellers and classics. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial that comes with a free audiobook (from a select list of titles). After that period, the monthly membership fee is $4.99, plus the discounted cost of whatever audiobooks you purchase.
Don’t want to pay a membership? As a bonus, AudiobooksNow has a list of free audiobooks available for anyone to listen to as long as they create a free account. The freebies list includes women’s fiction bestsellers (like The Lighthouse), children’s favorites (White Fang), and classic literature (The Odyssey).
19. Amazon Prime Reading
Through Amazon’s Prime Reading program, Prime members can select one free pre-release book each month from a list of editor’s picks. Included with some of those selections is the free Audible version. Just click the Audiobooks tab on the Prime Reading dashboard to see which free monthly offers have the audiobook available as well. Then you can listen and read for free.
20. Honorable Mention: Chirp
Owned by the same parent company as BookBub, Chirp is an audiobook retailer that allows users to purchase works a la carte — no membership subscription required. Stream and listen directly from the website or their app. Although Chirp rarely offers audiobooks for free, there’s always a wide array of “featured selections” across multiple genres with audiobooks as low as $0.99 — that’s up to 95% off!