Books represent one of the most classical and useful ways of learning something or getting to live an adventure that happens inside your mind. As a kid, I was fascinated with books, especially those with tales, and my parents would look for me the whole day while I’d hide in the attic, reading with a flashlight.
Since then, things have evolved quite a bit and nowadays people are embracing new ways of discovering the hidden worlds within books. I see more people that choose to reade with eReaders or with tablets. I have personally discovered that I like listening to audiobooks, especially when I have to walk or before going to sleep. Finding free audiobooks in your native language is the tricky part, so you’ll have better luck with looking for free audiobooks in English.
Learn these important tips about free audiobooks
You should also know that most audiobooks that are free are actually free because they are works in the public domain. For example, Shakespeare’s books or Beethoven’s music is also free to download. A simple, nice explanation for this:
Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited or are inapplicable
That’s why if you’re looking for some classical audiobooks, chances are you will be able to get them completely for free and legally, on top of that. There are websites that allow you only to stream audiobooks on their websites and not to download them, which is really not useful for us. We’ll be listing websites that allow free download of audibooks, either in complete form or in as few parts as possible.
Another very, very important thing to consider when looking to get free audiobooks is the quality. Of course, if you will buy an audiobook, the quality is assured. But if you don’t have the money to do it, this doesn’t mean you should make compromises in quality. Since you won’t be reading, you need to hear clearly what is going on, not to mention that the expression and the intonation must be satisfactory.
I absolutely hate robotic, software-made voices and can’t imagine why should someone torture himself by listening to that. By all costs, avoid that – a pleasant narating voice is very important for our audio experience. You might resist the first ten minutes, but it will get worse in time. Go for real, human voices.
The type of audio files is also important, since you need to get the audio file that your player or device is supporting. You can always use a converter, but it’s nice knowing that you don’t have to deal with yet another step before hearing those sweet stories. The following audio formats are what you should look at before downloading your audiobook – .mp3, .wma, .aac, .ogg
Where to get free audiobooks
There are many, many websites that allow you to listen to free audiobooks, but just like I said before, most of them rely on LibriVox and some other websites. I have picked three which I consider to be the best in this field. If you won’t manage to find the audiobook you’re looking for, then feel free to explore further as there will be a longer list waiting for you.
This is probably the place where you will find the biggest collection of free audiobooks. You will recognize if a certain audiobook belongs to the LibriVox community because before the audiobook starts, usually, the volunteer that has recorded the book will mention that it was uploaded on LibriVox and it belongs to the public domain. Most websites just get audiobooks from LibriVox and then put them on their own websites.
This website is popular for the huge amount of free ebooks that it contains and few actually know that there is a serous number of free, downloadable audiobooks, as well. The bad part is that there are also some machine read audio books, so you’ll have to choose carefully.
Unlike ProjectGutenberg or LibriVox, PodioBooks has ads on their website, meaning they don’t rely only on donations. While it mostly works like a podcast, you can still download your audiobooks for free through iTunes.
Feel free to explore more websites on the list below. Also, have a look at Gizmo’s Freeware webpage that covers a huge list of some other 190 places to get free audiobooks.
Apps to get free audiobooks on iOS/Android
And since many of you are using iPhones and Android smartphones, you would find it much easier to use some dedicated apps to help you listen directly to audiobooks for free, not having to download to your computer and then transfer to your smartphone or tablet. Here are some of the best to help you out, but not all cover only free audiobooks, so you will have to do a little digging sometimes.