Interested in how to get free audiobooks? I listen to ALL my audiobooks for FREE — and I have for years now! Read this post to learn how!
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.
Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Audiobooks
When I first started listening to audiobooks back in 2016, I did extensive research on the best paid audiobook options.
And while services like Audible offer an extensive selection of audiobooks, a great interface, and the ability to own your books…I just can’t bring myself to pay over $12-$15 per month for ONE audiobook!
Because here’s a secret I’m going to let you in on — you can most likely listen to audiobooks for FREE from your local library!
How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free
Originally, the audiobook apps that libraries used were not very user-friendly and pretty clunky to use. But now that most libraries use the Libby app, I’ve fallen in love with listening to audiobooks from the library!
There are so many different audiobooks to choose from on it and they are all at my favorite price point: FREE! In fact, I’ve figured out that by using the Libby app, I’m probably saving about $100-$150 per month!
- 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 you might have to wait a bit to get your turn to listen to the audiobook. Also, 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!
But to have access to hundreds of thousands of audiobooks for FREE is pretty downright amazing. And I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about paying late fines, because a book just expires on the app once your checkout time is up.
Plus, you never even have to make it to the library to check out or return books. You can request and download and “return” books all right from your phone in your living room!
A Few Tips:
These are just a few tips I’ve found to be personally helpful when listening to audiobooks…
- 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 annoys me.
- 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 and want to make sure I catch every word and have the ability to underline/highlight. Try different genres and figure out which you prefer!
How to Find Time to Listen to Audiobooks
The great thing about audiobooks is that you can often listen to them while your hands are busy or you’re getting something else done!
Here are some pockets of time I use to listen to audiobooks each day:
- 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 Ways to Get Free Audiobooks
If you don’t have access to the Libby app through your local library, here are a few other options:
Larger State Library — If your library is small and doesn’t offer free audiobook apps, consider checking into other larger libraries in your state. You may be able to get a free library card to another library in your state or area that does offer audiobooks. Or, they may offer a paid library membership to out-of-area residents. If you go through a lot of audiobooks, it may be a much less expensive option to buy a membership than to pay to download individual audiobooks from other sites.
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.
- My Favorite Headphones (affiliate link)
- My Top 7 Favorite Audiobooks
- How to Find More Time to Read — Even in the Midst of a Busy Schedule
- 8 Ways to Get Free Books
- Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101
- How I Read 15 Books in One Month
- Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101
- How to Find More Time to Read — Even When Life is Busy
- 7 Ways to Find More Time to Read
- The Top 10 Books I Read in 2019
- 4 Top Reads from 2018
- My Top 10 Reads from 2017
- 8 Favorite Reads from 2016
- My Top Reads from 2015
- My Top 10 Reads from 2014