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How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free

by Pankil Shah
How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free

Audiobooks have gained popularity over the years with their ability to add an extra flair to the story while also offering you the flexibility of multitasking. Whether you’re a fan of audiobooks or looking to start your journey with them, there’re plenty of websites and resources that allow listening to audiobooks for free. And the best part is, they are legal too. So without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the best ways to listen to audiobooks without paying a dime.

Legal and Free Audiobooks Sources

1. Open Culture: Best One-Stop Shop

Open Culture has a great library of audiobooks mainly dedicated to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Here, you’ll also find free-to-access audiobooks listed from other public domains like Project Gutenberg, Librivox, and more under its one long alphabetically arranged list. The audiobooks are available in MP3 format and while some of them are downloadable, others are limited to streaming only. 

In addition to free audiobooks, Open Culture also has free movies, online courses, language lessons, and eBooks in their catalog.

2. Learn Out Loud: Best for Education

If educational and self-development audiobooks are your priority, your search ends with Learn Out Loud. Whether you want to learn a new language or read about philosophy, Learn Out Loud has you covered with more than 4000+ free audiobook titles to choose from. Finding your favorite title is relatively easier with its advanced search option. Just like Open Culture, Learn Out Loud is also web-only and doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app.

3. Libby, by OverDrive: Best for New Releases

OverDrive offers access to some of the best audiobooks and ebooks thanks to its partnership with 45,000+ libraries across the country. All you need is your Library card and a library in your city that has partnered with OverDrive. With OverDrive, you can get access to the newest audiobook releases and that too for free.

Overdrive is available on both Android and iOS and has a better-looking website compared to other options in this list. 

4. Digitalbook: Best Overall

Digitalbook (formerly known as Librophile) has a huge collection of audiobooks and ebooks. It also shows you the top-rated and trending audiobooks to help find your next free audiobook. Users can choose to download chapters individually or stream them directly while choosing a playback rate to their liking. Additionally, there’s an option to open the audiobook directly on an iPhone via the Apple Podcasts app.

5. Project Gutenberg: Best for Classics

Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg is one of the oldest digital libraries with an aim to ensure that no book ever disappears. It heavily relies on its army of volunteers across the globe to help grow its database. Currently, it consists of 60,000+ audiobooks which can be downloaded in MP3 format. You can find your favorite book in volunteers’ voices as well as in computer-generated ones. Plus, it also has an app version but only for Android.

6. Librivox: Best for Public Domain Titles

Similar to Project Gutenberg, Librivox is yet another non-profit website that allows listening to audiobooks for free that aren’t available elsewhere. The site lists books that are no longer under copyright, so you’ll find many books that were written before 1923. It has versatile titles like War and Peace, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Anne of Green Gables, and more. You can also choose to volunteer to read a chapter or two of the book. Additionally, Librivox is available on both Android and iOS devices as an app.

7. Spotify/YouTube: Best for Streaming

Your favorite music streaming platform Spotify also has a playlist called ‘Audiobooks’. It features popular titles like The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, and more. The playlist is also available with free Spotify account with occasional ads here and there.

Similarly, YouTube is yet another great source for audiobooks. While the search experience may not be as smooth as others listed above, you can visit dedicated channels like Audio Books, Priceless Audiobooks, or visit the subreddits like r/audiobooksonyoutube.

Bonus: Free Trials (Audible, BookBet, Kobo)

Aside from the above listed options to download or stream to free audiobooks, some of the most popular premium audiobook services also offer a free trial period. Users can take advantage of those free trials to find audiobooks that aren’t available for free in the above sites. Among them, Audible has one of the largest collections of audiobooks with a free trial lasting 30 days. Besides free trials, Audible has recently made audiobooks like Harry Porter by Stephen Fry along with other popular titles free for kids.

Other popular audiobook services like Kobo and BookBeat also has free trials to listen to favorite audiobooks for free.

Wrap Up: How to Listen to Audiobooks for Free

Whether you’re commuting, exercising, or performing household chores, these free-to-use resources are a great way to listen to audiobooks. And while looking for other resources that aren’t listed above, we recommend avoiding less-than-reputable websites as they offer nothing but malware and misery. 

Also Read: 7 Best Book Recommendation Sites and Apps to Find Your Next Read