Books

Here are the best places to find free audiobooks

Looking for places to listen to free audiobooks? We’ve got you covered with a list of free listening platforms below.

If you look at the spectacular boom of audio content, in the past three years, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s having a moment. Free audiobooks are one of the most accessible ways to consume literary and non-fiction content. You can plug in on your commute to work, while you’re going for a walk, or even just when you feel like you’re sick of your own music.

They’re also much less costly than physical books (and better for the environment, tbh). There are even whole platforms dedicated to providing only audiobooks — and yes, you guessed it, FREE audiobooks. We’ve collected a list of the best, below.

spotify audiobooks
Spotify’s trial audiobook section, ‘Words’ (Photo: Lifewire)

Digital Book.io

An excellent resource if you’re looking for a wide range of free audiobooks, Digital Book.IO stocks genres from YA,  romance, sci-fi, and history! The platform also has audiobooks in twelve different languages. It’s got a pretty useable interface and gives you access to plenty of books in the public domain, as well as free podcasts.

Check it out here.

Free Classic Audio Books

The title kinda gives it away, but yes — Free Classic AudioBooks does indeed stock free classic audiobooks. Like most of these platforms, it sources the texts from those available in the public domain. It allows you to download podcasts in MP3 or MP4 formats, so they’re compatible with your devices. The most popular downloads range from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to Jane Austen’s Emma, while also offering language courses — all free to download.

Check it out here.

Librivox

Not only does Librivox offer a slew of public domain literary content, but the website also has a news update-style feature list that tells users what’s upcoming in the literary world. It hosts a selection of audiobooks in over 48 languages, a catalogue of over 15,000 books, and almost 12,000 users. The organization also does a call out for volunteers, who help out in recording books published 95 full years ago or longer. So if you’re interested in putting some of your spare reading time to good use, that’s a fun option too!

Check out Librivox here.

NoiseTrade

Currently owned by Paste Media Group, which runs the music mag Paste Magazine, NoiseTrade continues to remain a direct-to-fan distribution platform. It allows users to access free, original music and literary works, for the exchange of an email and postcode. With the creators whose content you choose to read/watch/listen to, they’ll get access to your email, be able to ask for feedback and start up a friendly discussion. Bonding with like-minded people over audiobooks and music? Sign me up!

Check out NoiseTrade here.

Open Culture

Including works, non-fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, Open Culture is a resource where you can download not just literary audiobooks, but educational ones too. Its mission statement reads:

“Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high-quality content whenever and wherever you want it.”

Check out Open Culture here.

Project Gutenberg

With an offering of over 60,000 e-books, Project Gutenberg is one of the largest online platforms for you to scour for an audiobook you love! Audiobooks are offered in over 50 languages, and you can sort through them using “special categories”: human-read audiobooks, computer-generated narrations, etc. The organization has been in operation for 50 years, and over that time has accumulated a big following of educators and book-lovers alike.

Check out Project Gutenberg here.

Storynory

Storynory is the perfect platform to introduce your little ones to reading. It’s readily stocked with a variety of children’s audiobooks like fairytales, myths/world stories, poems,  as well as classic authors. In addition to this, they have an “original” section that features unique childrens’ narratives, created just for their users. All the audiobooks are wonderfully illustrated, making it a great first step in helping your child become interested in storytelling and writing.

Check out Storynory here.

ThoughtAudio

ThoughtAudio offers a range of free audiobook titles in the genres of classic literature and philosophy. They’ve got a solid mission of democratizing access to literature and promoting the following message:

“As the world moves toward more complex interactions, one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity is to enjoy its thoughts and its great works. Our journey has always been one of making classic literature available to anyone willing to listen, and now in this next phase, to expand our scope to include more thinkers, writers, and essayists. Although thinking may not seem as relevant today, with advancing technology providing alternative vehicles of entertainment, we are committed to bringing a small part of intellectual enjoyment to the globe.”

Check it out here.

Free trials and subscription-based services

So, all of the services listed below require some form of membership, but they either have a free trial (e.g. Audible) or an ads-based free version (e.g. Spotify). If you’re looking to ease yourself into listening to audiobooks, it could be a great op to run through some options before you commit to any specific one.

  • Audible: 30-day free trial, then membership plans begin at $16.45/month
  • Kobo: 30-day free trial, then membership plans begin at $12.99/month
  • Spotify: ad-based free membership plan, or a premium membership plan.
  • Scribd: 30-day free trial, then membership plans at $13.99/month