Where to Get Free Audiobooks

Thunder and Rain by Charles MartinI am a fan of audiobooks.  About 1/3 of all of my reading is audiobook.  Goodereader Blog has a very good post about the huge growth of audiobooks (especially digital MP3 audiobooks and Audible.com Audiobooks), especially compared to the recent slowing growth of ebooks.

What the growth of audiobooks as an industry means is that there are also a lot more free audiobooks.  Like ebooks, I have stopped picking up all free audiobooks and I am only picking up the ones that I am going to read soon (audiobook storage takes a lot more space than ebook storage).  But here are a few places I look for audiobooks.

Christianaudio.com

Every month Christianaudio.com has a free book. This month is one of the best Christian books of the 20th century, John Stott’s Basic Christianity.

NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is a website devoted to giving away music (and now audiobooks) in order to generate interest for independent and lesser known artists.  Independent Christian Musician Derek Webb was the co-founder and there has always been good Christian music as a part of the site (but it is not a Christian site).

The current list of 22 complete audiobooks from NoiseTrade is at the bottom of this post. (There are also introductions and first chapters, but I did not link to those.)

Audible.com

Audible.com is my favorite source of audiobooks. They focus on audiobook subscription model (I buy 24 audiobooks for $229, which includes a free daily subscription to either New York Times or Wall Street Journal audio summary, 30% off any audiobooks that I buy without credits and access to a lot of sales).

What makes Audible.com the best audiobook provider is their very good software that works on virtually any device and the ability to sync many audiobooks to their kindle counterpart (so you can alternate between audio and kindle versions easily.)

Audible also has free books that are either promotions or free for other reasons.  Many of them are novella length or prequels to a series. Some examples are Free: Whodunnit (mystery novel companion to a new show on ABC), My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent, Learn Korean, Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson (Bookwi.se Review), Millionaire Upgrade, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer by Dean Baker (Bookwi.se Review), The First by Jason Mott, and The Booktaker: A Nameless Detective Mystery by Bill Pronzini

Audible also has a lot of lecturesspeechesgovernment hearings and interviews available for free as well.  One of the best ways to find free audiobooks at Audible (other than waiting for an email) is to search.  Use the search term “$0.00 site: audible.com” (I first saw this on a lifehacker post).  There is a much more complicated search term that excludes much of the speeches, samples and interviews.  It is:

$0.00 -Excerpt -Interview -Chapter -Extract -Speech -Sample -"A Conversation" -"This is Audible" site:audible.com

But it still has a lot of radio shows and mislabeled free materials.  Mostly I wait for emails from Audible.

AudioSync

Every summer Audiosync gives away 2 free young adult audiobooks a week, one modern and one classic.  Usually they are in some way thematically related.  This week it is Enchanted by Alethea Kontis and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.  These are often very good editions, but Audiosync is a bit of a pain in the neck to get the book.  You have to check out separately and go through about six or seven screens to get to the download.  Also this year I have not been as interested in the offerings.  But they are a good source of free books, especially if you enjoy young adult books.

Your Library

Don’t forget your library as a very good source of free audiobooks.  Most libraries now partner with Overdrive as a digital provider of both ebooks and audiobooks.  My library system (Cobb County GA) has just under 1000 audiobooks and nearly 2000 ebooks.  Most of which I can either read on my kindle or listen to on my iphone.  If you have windows computer and/or android you can listen to all of them (some use wma DRM that is not playable on either iphone or my Mac).

The NoiseTrade Books

3 Comments

This is useful information for those who don’t already know about it; and thanks for the link to the article.

Downpour.com and Tantor.com are other sources of audiobooks, competitors of Audible.com. I’ve gotten some good freebies from both sites in the past, though I don’t know whether they’ll be offering any more in the future.

Another source of free audiobooks is Librivox.org, which offers lots of free public domain books read by amateur, volunteer narrators. The quality of the narration often isn’t as good as in audiobooks read by professionals, but some are better than others.

Thanks for the tip about audible advanced searches. I’d wondered how to do that.

Gobible also has a free audiobook a month. This months (on parenting post divorce) won’t be relevant to most, but they have had some good ones in the past http://gobible.com/audio-downloads/free-downloads.html

You can also find some if you search for audiobook in the podcast section of iTunes. Some are just repackaged librivox stuff, but there is some original works.

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