Top 10 Best Free Websites to Download or Listen Audiobooks Right Now
|Top 10 Best Free Websites to Download or Listen Audiobooks Right Now|
When you start looking for free audiobooks online, it won’t be long before you start coming across less-than-reputable websites. Some may actually require you to enter payment information while others provide access to pirated content. Still, there are several websites and apps that you can use to listen to and/or download free audiobooks legally. Among them are LibriVox, Project Gutenberg and OpenCulture.
If you’re looking for a full list of ways to find free audiobooks that you’d normally have to pay for, you probably won’t find it on this list. Thankfully, there are a few dozens of great sites that offer 100% free audiobooks. You can download or stream hundreds of thousands of books for free using these sites.
But weeding through that many sites to find the ones that carry the best and most titles can be time-consuming. But you don’t have to do that! We have done the work and find you the top free audiobook sites for downloading and streaming all kinds of books.
The Benefits of Audiobooks
Audiobooks are perfect for people who live in cramped spaces and can't afford to store physical titles. Or people who move around a lot because of jobs, school, or whatever else. The only space audiobooks take is on the device they get stored on, making them extremely easy to move and keep.
Since they live on the device, you choose to keep them on, you can enjoy them everywhere as long as that device is with you. Much like with physical books, you can listen to an audio one on the train, plane, in the park, or in a café.
A massive benefit to audiobooks is that you don't need to be stationary to enjoy them. You don't need to hold the book in your hands, which opens the door to multitasking. You can listen to a book while driving, cooking, cleaning, or generally doing chores around the house.
Audiobooks also make listening to a title before bed an extremely easy process. You can "read" the book in complete darkness. If you're using Audible, it lets you set a timer to stop after an hour, knowing that you're free to drift off if you get sleepy.
Finding your next read is a breeze. Say you're consuming a book that's part of a series. When it comes to audiobooks, it's much faster and easier to get the following title after you finish your current one. If the book ends in a cliffhanger, wouldn't you rather continue listening to how it continues immediately?
Or, would you instead prefer to go to a physical bookshop or online to order the copy and waste time waiting? Audible is right there waiting to help you enjoy your series with zero delays. And if you're not a fan of the Audible service, there are plenty of alternatives to Audible.
Listening to audiobooks tends to feel like entertainment, as if you're consuming a type of media, like a podcast, TV series, or movie. That makes it way less intimidating, especially when you tackle a long book.
Looking at the bulk of pages in a physical copy can discourage you from even beginning your reading experience. While seeing that the same book takes 60 hours to listen through can seem like something pleasant to look forward to or even a challenge. What if you listen on 2x speed? What if you tried to listen through it in two days? It offers plenty of ways to gamify the process, which makes it more fun.
Top 10 Best Free Websites to Download or Listen to Audiobooks Right Now
4. Open Culture
6. Digital Book
8. Project Gutenberg
9. Internet Archive
10. Learn Out Loud
Lit2Go is a fantastic place to find audiobooks. You can find just about any book that has entered into the public domain here, and download it just as easily.
You can quickly search by author, genre, or the title of your book. Interestingly, you can also search by reading level, which Lit2Go grades using the Flesch-Kincaid grading system.
Once you choose a book, Lit2Go breaks it down into chapters for you. There’s a bunch of information here about the book itself, such as the word count, readability, genre, publishing date, and more.
If you find yourself lost in any part of the audio, there are also transcripts of most of the books. So, slightly ironically, you’ll be able to read along if you so wish.
ThoughtAudio has classic works of literature and philosophy books available for download as free audiobooks. You can browse the whole list or search for books, as well as see them in order of those that were recently added to the collection.
To get these audiobooks, you have to either listen to them on the website or download them in installments by right-clicking each part that you want to save.
PDF transcripts for these audiobooks are also available for download.
Storynory is the go-to spot for children’s audiobooks on the internet. With original stories, fairy tales, stories from classic authors, and even educational content, you can download stories through the iOS app, find content on YouTube, or listen straight from the website.
Storynory offers free audiobooks for kids, with a mix of classics, fairy tales, and original stories.
They’re meant for kids, of course, but they’re really for anybody who wants to hear Brothers Grimm folk tales, Aesop’s fables, or stories from 1,001 Nights again.
4. Open Culture
If you’re looking for something with some more variety in its content, then why not try out Open Culture? Open Culture is a website dedicated to cultural and educational media available for free.
Online courses, certificates, degrees, and of course, audiobooks are all available from this website. There are over 1,000 free audiobooks, all available for download.
They’re organized alphabetically and by author, so it should be pretty easy to find what you’re looking for. Many of the audiobooks also include links to free eBooks of the very same if you’re interested in that as well.
Overdrive works with local libraries around the country to make ebooks and audiobooks available for fast and easy download. After creating an Overdrive account, connect to your local library (assuming your library works with Overdrive, though many do) and use your digital library card to check out audiobooks from Overdrive. Unlike many public domain audiobook sites, Overdrive gives you access to contemporary books, including titles on The New York Times bestseller list. Overdrive is also available as a mobile app for iOS and Android.
6. Digital Book
Digitalbook.io is a great resource for finding free audiobooks, e-books and podcasts. There are no apps available, but the website is extremely easy to navigate. You can search for a title directly from the homepage, scroll down to see top-rated and trending books or browse by genre.
When I visited the website, I clicked on the fiction genre to begin exploring. Along the left-hand side of the screen, I was able to narrow my search results by format (audiobook or e-book), author, sub-genre and more.
Once you find a book you’d like to listen to, you can click the play button on the book’s cover image to begin streaming. You can also click “Free audiobook” on the right-hand side of the screen, next to the title, to download the free audiobook file. Note that some files are available only from third-party providers (like Gutenberg or LibriVox), but you’ll still be able to download them on Digitalbook.io.
LibriVox has a huge selection of free audiobooks that are recordings of volunteers who have read chapters from books that are in the public domain.
You can find one by searching by title, author, genre/subject, or language. You can also browse all the titles in the catalog, view only the most additions, and subscribe to new releases as podcasts.
Once you reach a book's description page, you can read more about it and even listen to the chapters individually without having to download each of them.
However, if you do want to download the whole audiobook, every chapter included, you can do so in a ZIP file, directly from LibriVox. Some are also available through a torrent and M4B file.
These books are also available through a mobile app for iOS and Android, so you can download them to your phone or tablet, or stream them on the go.
8. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is one of the free libraries offering free audio book services, with more than 60,000 zero-charge audio books. It provides human reads and computer-generated audio books on its website. You can stream the audio book you want without signing up or having an account with Project Gutenberg. They are rated best for public domain Titles and Multiple formats.
It is noted that Project Gutenberg audio books were invented under the intensive research of Michael Hart in the year 1971.
9. Internet Archive
The Internet Archive also has a ton of free audiobook downloads that you can browse through by subject, keywords, or using the search box.
Our favorite way to find books here is by sorting by view count to find the most popular ones. Some of those include The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, The Swiss Family Robinson, Moby Dick, The Art of War, and Dracula.
Some are available in multiple formats so that you can download the book in MP3 or OGG format, for example.
The MindWebs page is one part of the Internet Archive that has several dozen classic sci-fi audiobooks.
10. Learn Out Loud
Learn Out Loud is a resource that specializes in audio and video learning. In addition to audiobooks, you’ll find courses, documentaries, podcasts and more. Unfortunately, not all of the content is available for free.
While there isn’t currently an app for Learn Out Loud, the website is quite user-friendly. From the homepage, you can click “Free Audiobooks” to narrow your results, browse by category and sort by popularity, date or title. At the time of writing, there were over 4,000 free audiobooks available on Learn Out Loud.
Once you’ve found a title that interests you, you can click on it for more information. Some audiobooks are available for online streaming while others only offer an audio sample. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a box containing the link(s) to free file downloads. Lower on the page, you’ll see a description of the title and reviews/ratings from other listeners.
Not Free but Cheap Audiobooks Online
If you can’t find the audiobook you want for free, you can always look at other services for cheaper options. Audible now has a sharing service where you can send a free book to anyone you want. Downpour allows you to rent audiobooks for a fraction of the cost. Chirp Audiobooks is another discount audiobook retailer. You can read our full Chirp review here.
Or, you can always sign up for Book Riot’s Deal of the Day newsletter, where our team occasionally features cheap audiobooks on sale.
And, just for Book Riot readers: sign up for an Audible account, and get two free audiobooks! If you love their monthly subscription, you’ll get one audiobook a month for just a few bucks.
Physical Books vs. Audiobooks: Which Is Better?
Neither physical books nor audiobooks definitively stand above the other.
Audiobooks and physical copies have their pros and cons, ranging from mundane concerns like space all the way to the issue of accessibility. For example, audiobooks are the perfect choice for visually impaired people or those with motor control issues who won't have to worry about holding up a book. And physical copies are better for ones with hearing loss.
You don't have to choose between the mediums. Instead, use both. When you have a busy day full of house chores, an audiobook is the best choice. When you want to take a break and enjoy some reading, a physical copy is what you want.
As long as you're consuming a book, the format that lets you do it doesn't matter much.
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