Blog –Posted on Wednesday, Mar 10
It’s not hard to see why audiobooks have recently grown in popularity: there’s something uniquely magnetic about stories brought to life by professional actors who can add texture to various personalities. If you want to absorb stories while you walk, do your chores, or lie down with your eyes closed, audiobooks are your portable friends.
While audiobooks are generally more expensive than ebooks or print books, we can help you minimize your spending (and maximize your library) — start by browsing through this list of the best websites to find free audiobooks online!
This music streaming giant hosts a number of audiobooks on their service, and have even entered the game by producing their own series of high-quality, professional audiobooks. Both of these lists feature public domain works, meaning their 95 year copyright has expired and they’ll be fairly old classics — so put your sophisticated hat on, and get ready to start checking books off your ‘books to read before you die’ list.
Spotify also houses a large number of short story podcasts featuring works from around the world, so it’s worth searching for the authors or stories you’re interested in on Spotify’s search bar. A great starting point is the 1001 Classic Short Stories and Tales podcast. Just remember that you’ll need a (free) Spotify account to listen to any Spotify content.
LibriVox’s recordings are all made by volunteers, so audio quality can vary, and certain voices or accents can be a little difficult to understand if English isn’t your native language. That said, this nonprofit service provides a vast trove of free audiobooks with the mission of making audiobooks more accessible online, and was a pioneer in recording public domain books for the general public. If you have any trouble navigating their website, they also upload their recordings to YouTube — you can check out their channel here. And hey, if you’re feeling grateful, you can even volunteer to read a book yourself!
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Okay, we get that not everyone feels like reading the classics. If you’re looking for contemporary audiobooks, or you’re after a specific title that isn’t in the public domain, Amazon’s Audible offers a massive number of professionally narrated books. Though it’s ordinarily a paid service, you can sign up for a 30-day trial that comes with a free audiobook and access to a bunch of perks like Audible’s fiction podcasts (we recommend Sour Hall, based on a story by Naomi Booth) and a further selection of free audiobooks for Alexa users.
Lit2Go is a free collection of public domain books, offered by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at USF. Lit2Go’s collection includes some wonderful classic children’s books like The Secret Garden, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Little Women, and Peter Pan. Adults are spoiled for choice, too, with some of the best books of all time: to give you a glimpse, you’ll find classics like Great Expectations, Moby Dick, Dracula, and Wuthering Heights in their library.
Audiobooks.com is another service you ordinarily have to pay for, but their generous trial offer includes 3 free audiobooks. Like Audible, this is ideal if you’re after specific contemporary releases, or don’t particularly fancy the classics. Their professional-quality audiobooks are narrated by experienced voice actors, so it’s hard to go wrong no matter what you select. Audiobooks for your next road trip, anyone?
6. BBC Sounds
BBC Sounds is a free new app by the BBC. It’s now the home of its radio channels, hosting a wide variety of radio shows, podcasts, and even audiobooks. The BBC has a long history of working with the most prolific actors in the UK to provide dramatizations for radio, and it’s now branching out to free abridged audiobooks. As long as you don’t mind listening to abridged editions, you’re guaranteed some absolutely top-quality listening.
7. Rakuten Kobo
Operating similarly to other subscription services, Kobo’s audiobook list is quite extensive, so you’re probably going to find whatever it is you’re looking for here. Like Audible, it’s normally a paid service, but a free trial can get you a high-quality complimentary audiobook, so it’s worth a try! Just remember to cancel your subscription before you’re charged (and the same goes for all other trial periods mentioned in this post).
8. Open Culture
Open Culture has done all the compiling for you, and rounded up a long list of free audiobooks available on the web. For that reason, you’ll see some overlap with the public domains books found on the rest of this list — but their list is so incredibly handy that you’ll get over it.
9. Learn Out Loud
Learn Out Loud’s mission is to offer free multimedia for educational purposes, and they’ve been doing a great job of it since 2005. Their website features over 3,000 free audiobooks for you to expand your horizons, and if you’re feeling flexible with your listening habits, you can also check out their broader directory of audio and video content: in addition to audiobooks, it lists lectures, courses, speeches, and so much more.
10. All You Can Books
Think buffet, but books. Like Audible, Kobo, and Audiobooks.com, this is a paid service. However, signing up for a free 30-day trial with All You Can Books means that you are free to consume as many audiobooks as you can within that period of time — and yes, that’s a challenge!
🚨We do have to note two things, though:
- Despite the fact that this service provides more than just public domain books, its 40,000 audiobooks don’t tend to include hot new releases, which may be a significant drawback for many readers.
- Many of this service’s online reviewers say they had trouble cancelling their trial, or had difficulty getting through to customer service when they’ve subsequently been charged for failing to cancel, so be careful. Don’t leave cancelling to the last day of your trial!
OverDrive is a distributor of digital content to libraries. If you’re a member of your local public library, you may have access to OverDrive through your online account — that’s something to ask your librarian about. They’vealso launched an app called Libby to help facilitate a smoother reading experience for their users. This is an excellent, professional-quality resource that includes old classics and contemporary releases alike. And most important of all, you’ll make your librarian happy!
Scribl is an online retailer of ebooks and audiobooks — but over half of their listed audiobooks are available to download for free, so their site is well worth a browse. Many of the books they list are by indie authors, so if you do listen to their offerings, make sure to leave a review. Reviews mean the world to indie authors!
🎁 If free books in exchange for a review sound like your kind of thing, why not sign up to be a Reedsy Discovery reviewer? There’s a whole bunch of ebooks to choose from.
13. Free Classic Audiobooks
Still hungering for the classics? Free Classic Audiobooks is a straightforward website that’s just what it says on the tin: it allows you to download MP3 or M4B files of classic works. Sure, it’s just another option for public domain books, but the great thing about having so many options is that you can really take your pick of narrator if you hate someone’s voice. The web is spoiling you. Appreciate it.
Educational content, fairy tales, full-length audiobooks: Storynory has your child’s audiobook needs covered. From Oscar Wilde’s tales to Greek, Indian, or Norse mythology, little readers are bound to find something they’re happy with in this wonderful collection. In fact, we might catch up on some mythology ourselves. It’s never too late.
15. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is the world’s oldest digital library, and run by volunteers. Like many of the services above, it provides exclusively public domain works, but it stands out because of its linguistic diversity — the site provides audiobooks in 50+ languages. Do check that the audiobook you select is narrated by a human, though, as this website also lists computer-generated recordings that are nothing if not a bizarre experience. (Okay, you’re probably curious, so here’s a computer-read version of Middlemarch by George Eliot. Enjoy!🤖)
16. Mind Webs
Mind Webs used to be a dramatized radio programme hosted by Michael Hanson. Its archive of over 100 speculative and sci-fi short stories is now available online, and it makes for magnificent listening. These high-quality half-hour shows are guaranteed to transport fans of sci-fi audiobooks into different worlds.
Sync is an annual summer reading marathon for teens, held by AudioFile Magazine in collaboration with OverDrive. (Don't worry, it doesn’t really have to be a marathon: you can simply choose to read some books and not others.) You can learn more about how it works on Sync’s FAQ page, but the gist of it is that participants gain free access to two thematically linked audiobooks every week over the course of the summer.
18. World Book Day
You'd be wrong if you assumed that World Book Day only offers audiobooks for a single day. Instead, they provide a selection of free listens for children for six months, starting mid-February (with the exception of books published by Penguin and Hachette, which only stay up for one month). From picture books to options for teens, they cover a wide age range — and all of them are professional recordings.
You may remember Digitalbook from the old days when it was called Librophile — it’s a website that operates as a search engine for free audiobooks in the public domain. Through their site, you can find specific titles from the various sites listed here, as well as retailer sites like Amazon. With its focus on simplicity, Digitalbook really helps streamline the process of locating specific books.
Finally, RBDigital operates in the same way that OverDrive does: it works with local libraries, providing access to a large collection of professional-standard audiobooks. You’ll probably find that your library is subscribed to either RBDigital or OverDrive. Both boast excellent lists of reputable titles, so don’t worry, your library will have you covered whichever they choose!
We hope these resources lead you to some amazing reads — do check out our lists of free Kindle books and the best places to find free books online if you’re looking for more freebies, and happy reading!
LibriVox is a large database of audiobooks which are completely free and in the public domain. The site's books are read by voice actor volunteers from around the world and there are more than 16,000 titles available to download. You can search by title, subject, or author in dozens of languages.How can I listen to audiobooks completely for free? ›
LibriVox is a large database of audiobooks which are completely free and in the public domain. The site's books are read by voice actor volunteers from around the world and there are more than 16,000 titles available to download. You can search by title, subject, or author in dozens of languages.Is there a website for free audiobooks? ›
Internet Archive is a well-design platform for free audiobooks. It's a non-profit library that offers universal access to books you can download in MP3 format. The catalog features MP3 files and digital recordings from other websites, such as Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.How do I search for free Audible books? ›
- Go to audible.com/ep/FreeListens on a browser on a PC or Mac. ...
- Scroll until you find an audiobook that you want to download. ...
- Click "Buy for $0.00." ...
- If prompted, sign in to your Amazon or Audible account.
Audible Plus is a monthly membership which includes access to unlimited streaming and listening from the Audible Plus Catalog. Look for the "included" tag and hit "play now" to instantly stream from the app. You can also save these titles to your Library or download to listen off-line.What app can you listen to audiobooks for free? ›
- Apple Books.
- Barnes & Noble Nook.
- Google Play Books.
Download the free Audible app to start listening on your iOS or Android device. You can also listen on any Alexa-enabled device, compatible Fire tablets, Kindle devices, Sonos devices and more. You can cancel anytime before your trial ends and you won't be charged. There are no commitments and no cancellation fees.How many books can you read for free with Audible? ›
4. Is Audible free with Prime? Audible is not free with an Amazon Prime membership. However, if you choose to get a free trial of Audible Premium Plus then you get to select 2 audiobooks to keep instead of just one!Which is the best audiobook app? ›
- Audible – Listening is the New Reading. ...
- Spotify – Free Music/Audiobooks for Everyone. ...
- Audiobooks – Signup for a Free Trial and Get 3 Audiobooks Free. ...
- Google Play Books – Home of Your Favourite eBooks and Audiobooks. ...
- LibriVox – Free Public Domain Audiobooks. ...
- Amazon Kindle Books with Audible.
Is Audible free with Prime? No. An Audible Plus or Audible Premium Plus membership is separate from a Prime membership.
Audiobooks.com Summary. Audible and Audiobooks' key differences are that Audible offers a better returns policy and audio quality, more original titles, and a yearly subscription discount. Otherwise, the services are identical, the price, apps, and audiobook library are excellent for both.How do I get free audiobooks with my Prime membership? ›
Once you get the Amazon Prime subscription, you can borrow the Audible narration with the Kindle book for free as part of your Prime Reading benefit. Or you can make use of the 2 free audiobooks (credits) you get along with this membership (including the free trial).What is the best free audiobook player? ›
- Downpour (Android, iOS: Free) ...
- Bound - Cloud Audiobooks (iOS: $3.99) ...
- Scribd (Android, iOS; $8.99/month) ...
- OverDrive (Android, iOS: Free) ...
- Libby (Android, iOS: Free) ...
- Hoopla Digital (Android, iOS: Free) ...
- Librivox (Android, iOS: Free) ...
- Audiobooks HQ (iOS: Free) (Image credit: Inkstone Software)
Audible is not free. We offer different membership plans that cover a wide range of benefits, but all audiobooks available on Audible can also be purchased without a membership for the regular price. Not a member yet? Join Audible today for a 30-day free trial.Is audiobook free with prime? ›
Prime members access free eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more. Prime Reading.Are all audiobooks free with Spotify? ›
Unlike music and podcasts, audiobooks aren't free, even on Premium. Below are a selection of books and their prices on Spotify.Does Audible cost anything? ›
How much does Audible cost? Plans start at $7.95 per month after free trial. Visit our Plans & Pricing page to learn more. Audible Plus: $7.95/month: listen all you want to thousands of included titles in the Plus Catalog.Is Audible worth it on Amazon? ›
If you are wondering “Is Audible good?”, then I can tell you this: An Audible Premium Plus subscription has never been as good as it is these days, thanks to the addition of the Plus catalog. In my opinion, having the option to listen to as many free audiobooks as you want, makes Audible Premium Plus entirely worth it.Does Spotify have audiobooks? ›
Audiobooks on Spotify are available for a one-time purchase. You can pay using the debit or credit card of your choice. If I am on a family plan, who has access to my purchased audiobooks? Only you!How long is Audible free? ›
Your Audible membership is free for 30 days. If you enjoy your Audible trial, do nothing and your membership will automatically continue. We'll send you an email reminder before your trial ends. Download the free Audible app to start listening on your iOS or Android device.
Google Play Books is a digital reading app that is available on Android devices. It has a large selection of books, both paid and free, and offers many of the same features as Amazon Kindle and Apple Books.How can I read books online for free? ›
- Amazon Kindle. ...
- Feedbooks. ...
- Project Gutenberg. ...
- Open Library. ...
- ManyBooks. ...
- Free-eBooks. ...
- Bookyards. ...
Visit the Audible section of the Amazon mobile site and sign in. Search for the audiobook you would like to purchase. Once on the product description page: If you're not currently an Audible member: Tap Try Audible Free or Buy with 1-Click.How many audio books do I get with Amazon Prime? ›
While you don't get full Audible member benefits, you can access some audiobooks with Amazon Prime. Being a prime member, you will have access to more than fifty audiobooks, as well as other ad-free streaming content such as podcasts. These podcasts include talk shows, comedy podcasts, and more.Are audiobooks good for your brain? ›
According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks help “build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, language acquisition, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and comprehension—skills that often boost reading scores.” Need some audiobook recommendations for kids?Do you have to pay to listen to audiobooks? ›
Audiobook subscriptions versus one-off purchases
Most audiobook services are subscription-based, meaning you pay a monthly fee and then you get to access the platform's library.
First, there is the Spotify Premium Individual subscription, which is $9.99/month. This allows access to all the Premium features such as no ad interruptions, on-demand playback, and downloading tracks for offline listening.