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Ways to Listen to Audio Books for Free

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Is there such a thing as free audio books? But of course! There are various ways to access free audio books, right from your phone. Here are 11 truly AWESOME ways to listen audio books for free.

free audio books

Ways to Listen to Audio Books for Free

I have always been an avid reader, enthusiastically visiting my local library and sniffing the books before checking them out (remember, this is a judgement free zone).  Then I got married, then had kids, then I got beyond busy and, well… I stopped reading. It was sad. I thought I didn’t have time for books and the sniffing of them.

A few years ago I decided to join one of my local library’s monthly book clubs.  One book a month?  I can handle that, I thought. And then I discovered the beauty that is audio books (and even though I can no longer surreptitiously sniff the books while I’m reading, I am in audio book heaven so that still counts). Now I’m reading at least two books per week, and almost all. for. free.  What I’ve found in the last few years reading as much as I do is that I am happier, I am calmer, I am able to escape the daily grind, if only for an hour or two at a time.  It is the perfect accompaniment to crochet.  I’m in love.  Are you ready to dive feet first into the wonderful world of free audio books?

1. Books on CD (Library)

First, you’ll need to determine the manner in which you’ll listen to said audio books.  Will that be on your phone using apps, or using a CD player with actual CDs rented from the library? I do both!  Your library will always have the most extensive collection of audio books (and this is just one wall!).

Free audio books

Consider investing in Bluetooth headphones as well as a Bluetooth CD player. Grab a pair of headphones for less than $25.

By having both the Bluetooth CD player and the headphones, I can still utilize the vast selection of audio books on CD at my library without being quite literally tied to the player.  I don’t mind being tied to the player when I’m sitting and crocheting, but when I need to be up and moving (doing laundry, cleaning, or cooking) I don’t like the cord. Bluetooth works perfectly for me!

2. Playaways

While we’re on the topic of audio books available at the library, there are actual CDs that you can borrow and then there are Playaways. These little guys are amazing! All you need is one battery and your earphones. The book is loaded on to the player, which literally fits into your pocket. When you’re finished with the book simply remove your battery and return the Playaway to the library. Love, love Playaways!

If you are looking for audio books that you can download onto your smartphone, there are plenty of apps and websites that offer those too; and yes, several for free.

Before moving forward, I recommend checking with your local (and state!) library to see which platforms they support.

3. Overdrive (new, awesome version = Libby)

4. Cloud Library

5. RBDigital

6. Hoopla

For example, at my local library we are able to download books through Overdrive (and now through their updated – and awesome app – Libby) using that library card, while the Kansas State Library uses Cloud Library.  Also check with your library to see if they support RBDigital and/or Hoopla. Hoopla not only has free audio books available but also TV episodes, movies, and music as well!

The moral of the story: Make sure you’re using ALL of your available libraries to their FULL potential!

free audio books

Now, there are other ways to get free audio books other than the library.  There are a few drawbacks with the free apps, like how you only get to rent them for a certain number of days – usually 7 – 21.

Unlike with paid audio book services, you may not have immediate access to the book.  There may be a hold list for popular titles, but between all of these free audio book options, you’re sure to find something to keep you occupied until your hold is ready.

7. Loyal Books

This one has a bunch of free titles.  I love that you can sort by genre (including romance).  I’m a Regency Romance novel connoisseur . 😉

8. Free Classic Audio Books

This is a good one for iTunes and iPod users. Old classics that you can listen to over and over again.

9. Open Culture

This site offers hundreds of free audio books, most in iTunes or MP3 format.

10. Learn Out Loud

This site has thousands of free audio books, some available for download.

11. LibriVox

The audio books available on this website are all read by volunteers. This may or may not make them better or worse than professionally narrated audio books.  If you find the quality of a book to be not to your liking, see if there is a different version available from a different volunteer.

Want even more audio books?

If you are still finding that you’re needing more (high five baby, you get a gold star for stamina), I also pay for a monthly subscription service.  Let’s talk for a second about the freebies you can get from these paid subscriptions like Scribd, Audiobooks and Audible.

Ways to Listen to Audio Books for Free

Scribd is my favorite of the paid platforms.  I do pay for a monthly subscription, but if you go through my referral link (thank you!) you’ll get TWO months for free to check it out! The reason I like them the most is because they are the cheapest of all of the paid memberships at just $11.99 per month. This fee gets you (mostly) unlimited audio books and/or one popular book credit; every single month.  Note that they do reserve the right to limit your titles if you read excessively. At any rate that is much better than the $14.95 for one book credit charged by the other guys! Get your free two months to Scribd here.

If you’re just itching to get your hands on a popular new release, those can be hard to come by at the library due to wait lists and holds. You could always sign up for a free trial of AudioBooks or a free trial of Audible (you get TWO free credits just for joining!) and cancel before your trial ends.  Or keep it, up to you.  I have all three.

If you’re into reading actual books as well, you need BookBub, Chirp, and Freebooksy. Sign up, tell them which kinds of books you like to read and they’ll send you an email containing all of the cheap and FREE books available each day. I have built up my Kindle library like a wild woman, and yes… all for free. You might also check out Christian Audio.

I hope you find a free audio book that you just can’t bear to pause! If I missed an app or a free audio book source please be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

11 Awesome Ways to listen to audio books for free

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  1. Thank-you so much. My public library only gets the most popular books on audio. Unfortunately, my favorite authors are not among them. I've only been getting them via digital loan instead of going to the library. They may have them in another format, like Playaway. I'm curious. If I get one of the subscription services, are the books I get through them permanently taking up space on my iPad? I don't want to fill it up with books then be unable to use it for other things. And thanks to you, I now know about the Library of the State of Iowa.
  4. I love audiobooks. For a long time, I struggled between wanting to read or crochet. Scribd is my favorite. I have found some amazing series and although I love to reread books, it's so very nice to have new ones to read. Like making new friends. Thank you for this post. I enjoy all your posts and your patterns are amazing. Take care.
  5. I would also reccomend The Fussy Librarian. It works the same way as Bookbub, but it curates a list of only free titles. If you want to see free and discounted, you can go to the homepage via the link in your daily email. Ereader News Today is also good for free and discounted content. I use all three! Lol!
  6. You left out google books if you have the text to speech app on your devise almost all google books are read aloud to you and they have free books as well.
  7. There are tons of resources of Free Audiobooks you can search, you can also check out over the web. This is a very useful blog for Audiobooks, I hope you create more post like this. Thank you for the links and more power guys!
  8. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one with hundreds of FREE books in my accounts! I have Audible and pay for the credit each month and the Romance Package that lets you borrow up to 5 books at a time from a list of books( alot of which were on my wish list). And I tell everyone who will listen about BookBub!! I have more books than I'll be able to read. But if you get a book thru Amazon, you'll get a discount on the Audible version .
  9. I cheat. My mom has an audible account and allowed me to have the password so I can go on there and listen to all I want that's on her list. If there is something I want to pay for, I give her the money for it. I also have Amazon unlimited that I share with my parents. We found that if one person already has an account, we just share. Same with Netflix and Hulu. Add in the library, goodreads and bookbub....yep I do a lot of reading and listening. Lol
  10. Thank you for these tips!! I'm excited to start my trial with Scribd. I don't know if you have this as well, but I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription for 9.99/month and I've found a bunch of books that I love (and I'm rereading Harry Potter!). Some of the books even come with Audible narration, like the books by Charlie N. Holmberg, who is truly amazing! I am so happy for and proud of you and your successes! You deserve all the best.
    1. Thanks Jen!! I haven't looked into the Kindle unlimited because I never actually read books, just listen. :( But if I can get a few that'd be worth it!
  11. I am happy to say you have inspired me to stare "reading" again. I have been so busy with life that that was one thing I had given up. Starting today I am going to be reading a lot more ! You have provided us with all the tools we need in one place. Thank you so much for your wonderful and inspiring posts. I am a self proclaimed, artist working with just about any type of material, so enjoy the creative process. Keep up the great work.