Learn where to can find great literature without breaking the bank
Anyone who loves to read knows that it can become an expensive hobby. Whether your preference is to listen to an audiobook or to read on good, old-fashioned paper, in either case you’ve probably left the checkout counter at some point cringing at your receipt. Whether you’re short on cash or stocking up on ebooks for school, sometimes free audiobooks are easier to find good old fashion books. Here are some free resources that will help you cut down those audiobook costs:
The best sources for finding free audiobooks
While Spotify may be best known as a music streaming service, they actually host a surprisingly large number of clear, professionally-performed audiobooks as well. The vast majority of these audiobooks will be based on works of literature that have slipped into the public domain, and so many of them are classics such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre or Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. This is especially great news for any students hunting these books down to read for class, or to anyone who’s been hoping to check a few of these great works off their bucket list. Beyond that, Spotify also offers a wide variety of short story podcasts from writers around the world, so it’s definitely worth spending some time searching through to see what you can find that suits you.
With a goal of making books that are in the public domain more accessible, LibriVox is a nonprofit service run by a staff of volunteers. They do not require their voice actors to be experienced, and because of this some audiobooks will be a little higher in quality than others, but this also opens up their selection by quite a bit. Most of their books are sourced through Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive, and the fact that they’re working with literature that’s in the public domain means that you’re mostly going to find older works on LibriVox, which (again) works out perfectly for any students or fans of classical literature. You may have to make do with an amateur recording if you’re looking for something a little more niche, but so long as it’s in the public domain you’ll probably find it on LibriVox.
Books that are in the public domain are most certainly the easiest to find as a free audiobook, but if you were hoping to check a few more recent titles off your reading list without having to pay a cent, then Audiobooks.com comes with a very generous offer; – although it is ordinarily a paid service, signing up for a free trial will grant you access to three free audiobooks. Once the trial runs out after thirty days, you can choose to opt out and keep your three free audiobooks, or you can continue your subscription to keep receiving one audiobook a month, as well as a number of other benefits such as access to their Audio News and their Sleep & Meditation section. Audiobooks.com offers works from popular writers such as Stephen King and Gillian McAllister, making it the perfect service for anyone hoping to catch up on what’s trending.
The perfect option for students, LearnOutLoud.com is a service committed to assembling the best audio and video files for the purposes of learning. They offer documentaries, lectures, courses, speeches, and (of course) audiobooks. With nearly endless educational options, it’s hard to feel guilty about all the time you could lose browsing their website, but if you’re hunting for audiobooks in particular their library stocks over 4000 options completely for free! Their cataloue ranges from some pretty heavy texts on world religion and philosophy, to timeless adventures such as C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, so this service is definitely worth a browse regardless of taste.
Premiering in 1975, Mind Webs was a dramaticized radio pogramme that ran in the Wisconsin area, up until host Michael Hanson’s death in 2021. Each half-hour episode would feature short stories of science fiction, and during its time on air it garnered a considerably dedicated fan base for such a small-scale show. Mind Webs is now available for free online, archived as high-quality audio files for you to download. There are 188 episodes in total, during which a total of 216 short stories were told, supplying you with literal hours of bite-sized content to listen to!
Open Culture is a free, easy-to-navigate service offering a selection of roughly one thousand audiobooks based on works that are available in the public domain. This makes Open Culture very similar to other services such as Lit2Go and Free Classic AudioBooks, all of which compile lists of public domain audiobooks for you to download in either mp3 or mp4 format. You may notice a few of the same titles between the three websites, but considering many of them are considered to be great works of literature they’ll still be well worth the listen to.
When it comes to finding audiobooks for free, works that are in the public domain are undoubtedly going to be the easiest to find, but that doesn’t mean that your options are completely limited. All of the services listed above are safe and legal to use, but always make sure to be mindful of what sites you download reportedly “free” services from; not only can some of these sites violate the security of your system, they may also be stealing from living artists.
It is important to support your favorite artists, and utilizing these legal services still allows you to do this–all while saving a bit of money on works that are already available to the public anyway.
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