It’s no secret that I absolutely love books. And I try to invest at least a little bit of time every single day reading.
But on really full days, fitting in reading time can be a challenge. Which is why I’m so grateful for audiobooks! They are the perfect solution to making reading a priority — even if you aren’t able to physically sit down and read a book.
However, if you buy audiobooks online, they are often quite expensive — typically more than you’d pay for the paperback or hardback copy. Which is why I’m a fan of finding ways to listen to audiobooks for FREE instead.
I talked specifically about the Overdrive and Hoopla apps in that post — apps that allow you to “check out” audiobooks for free from your local library. Most libraries have since switched over to the Libby app, an app that is much more user-friendly and less clunky to use. And I have become a huge fan of it.
How the Libby App Works:
- Download the Libby app and connect it to your local library card.
- Search through the app for a book or audiobook you want to check out (you can search by genre, title, author, book format, availability, and more).
- Once you find a book you want to “check out”, you either place a hold on it (if it’s not available) or choose to borrow it.
- After borrowing a book, you get to keep it in your account for 14 days. After that, it automatically is loaned back to the library for another patron to be able to check out.
One drawback: Many of the popular books have quite a long waiting list, so if you don’t finish listening within 14 days, you won’t be able to pick back up where you left off until you wait on the waiting list again. However, there are many great books that don’t have a long waiting list — or any waiting list at all!
A Few Tips:
- I try to pick audiobooks that are no more than 8-9 hours in length because that’s a manageable length for me to get through before the audiobook needs to be “returned” to the library.
- I always listen to the books on 1.25 speed — you can’t tell a difference. And it means that it speeds it up just a little bit.
- Be sure to listen to a sample ahead of time. Some of the narrators are amazing and some are just annoying to me. I can’t spend 8 hours listening to a voice that is just annoying.
- I’ve found that certain genres are best for listening to. I especially love great biographies and fiction. I’ve found that non-fiction isn’t as enjoyable or beneficial to listen to. I prefer to read those since I’m more of a visual learner. Try different genres and figure out which you prefer.
When I Find Time to Listen to Audiobooks:
- While I’m getting ready in the morning — hair, makeup, cleaning up our room & bathroom.
- When I’m working in the kitchen — washing dishes, cooking, etc.
- When I’m driving without the kids — heading out on an errand, to school drop-off, etc.
For me, this adds up to about 30-60 minutes of audiobook listening time per day! And I can easily get through one book in 10-12 days this way!
Other Places to Download Audiobooks for FREE:
Librivox — This site offers thousands of public domain audiobooks — for free. The audiobooks are read by volunteers so the quality isn’t always as professional as what you can download from the library. However, they are free for anyone to listen to on their computer, iPod or other mobile device, or to burn onto a CD. (Note: One of my readers mentioned in the comments that many of the classics have multiple versions available read by different readers, so try a few different versions to find the reader you like best!)
LoyalBooks — This is another HUGE directory of free audiobooks and ebooks. This site used to be called BooksShouldBeFree. It offers a wide variety of public domain audiobooks.
YouTube — Believe it or not, YouTube offers a number of free audiobooks. Some of these are illegally recorded, others are not. To find an audiobook on YouTube, search for the name of the book + audiobook to see if it pulls it up. There are a different YouTube channels that offer free audiobooks, too, such as Greatest Audiobooks and AudiobooksFree.
Open Culture — This site offers a listing of 700 different audiobooks you can download free. Most of the links are to iTunes downloads or MP3 downloads.
Free Classic Audiobooks — This site offers free audiobook downloads in mp3 and in m4b audiobook format for iTunes and the iPod. It’s a pretty old site, but it looks like they update it with new audiobooks fairly regularly.
Learn Out Loud — This site has a Free Audiobook section where they offer 3,000 different audiobooks for free. There are quite a few good selections to choose from. They list free audiobooks from across the web plus some you can download directly through LearnOutLoud.com.
Podcasts — One of my readers recommended the Sparkle Stories and StoryNory podcasts. They offer free audiobooks for kids.