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17 Ways to Download and Listen to Free Audiobooks (Legally)

Readers and non-readers alike can enjoy the wonderful storytelling of a good audiobook (without breaking the bank).

Animated display of websites from this list on computer screenvia audible.com, via spotify.com, via Etc.usf.edu

Free audiobooks? Yes, please!

Bookworms, rejoice! Thanks to the Internet, you can get a lot of free book content. There are free books online you can look up, but sometimes, you just don’t have the time to sit down and read. Luckily, there are plenty of free audiobooks out there. You can play one while working, cleaning, driving, or doing pretty much anything. There’s so many websites for free audiobooks, though—which ones can you trust? We did some digging and found 17 sites to check out. Read on to see where you can (legally) listen to free audiobooks for kids, free classic audiobooks, and more.

Audiblevia audible.com

Audible

While Audible, a service from Amazon, isn’t strictly a site for free audiobooks, there are free audiobooks available. If you have a subscription (we know, not free) you will get two Audible original stories every month which you are able to keep if you decide to discontinue your service. Plus, you can try a free 30-day trial to Audible Premium Plus to see if you like it. Even without the subscription, there are still books that Audible allows its listeners to download free. Fun fact: if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you’ll have access to hundreds of titles there that you can’t find anywhere else.

RELATED: 30 of the best audiobooks to listen to right now

Explore Audible

Digital Bookvia Digital Book.io

Digital Book

Digital Book, formerly Librophile, is one of the sleekest platforms on the list. It’s like Netflix for books. You can search their database of public domain books from sites all over the Internet—including several on this list—and enjoy from their catalog of over 100,000 free audiobooks and ebooks. An added perk, their free membership allows you to build a personal bookshelf to read later so you don’t have to go searching through for books that you’ve considered in the past. You’ll find classics, new releases, and everything in between on Digital Book.

RELATED: The best audiobooks for your next family road trip

Explore Digital Book

Spotifyvia spotify.com

Spotify

Like Audible, this one isn’t strictly free, but there are free audiobooks on Spotify. Audiobooks don’t cost you anything, but there are some only available to pro-subscribers, that you won’t get as a free member. One of the great things about Spotify is that it isn’t strictly audiobooks. You can also listen to music, podcasts, serials, and more. Not sure what to listen to first? Check out Spotify’s Audiobooks playlist which will play the first chapter of dozens of new audiobooks for you to try out before you start listening. If you love reading, check out these book quotes that will make you stop and think.

Explore Spotify

Overdrivevia Overdrive.com

Overdrive

OverDrive works uniquely from many of the other sites and apps on our list because all you need for the top names, current bestsellers, and chart-topping books is a library card. OverDrive partners with local libraries around the United States and even some abroad to provide all the newest books for you to listen to. Once you log in, just input your library card number and you’ll have access to your local libraries’ entire audiobook catalog. The only “downsides” are that you might have to take a trip to your local library to renew your card (which will be free, just like this app) and that, just like at your local library, you have to wait for someone to return their virtually checked out selection before you rent it. OverDrive also has a secondary app for students where you can virtually borrow audiobooks and ebooks from your school’s library.

RELATED: The top 10 books everyone lies about reading

Explore OverDrive

Open Culturevia openculture.com

Open Culture

Open Culture has done the hard work of finding free audiobooks for you and has compiled a list—or library if you will—of all the free books you can download from other sites. You’ll find links to Audible, iTunes, Free Stream, Spotify, YouTube, and a few other streaming services on the site. The books are organized by author name, and you’ll find a lot of the classics of literature on this list but don’t be surprised to see a few new releases sprinkled in.

RELATED: 25 bestselling books of the decade

Explore Open Culture

StoryNoryvia StoryNory.com

StoryNory

If you have kids in your house or a big fan of fairy tales, and nostalgic trips down memory lane, this is the site for you. StoryNory focuses on free audiobooks for kids but you’ll definitely find some of the classics including Aesop’s fables and the tales from the Brothers Grimm. The site is very kid-friendly and there are adaptations of classic literature with child-appropriate formats and editing—a great way to introduce the young ones in your life to some of your favorite stories!

Explore StoryNory

Librivoxvia Librivox.org

Librivox

Volunteers from around the world give their time and their voices to record books that are in the public domain for listeners to enjoy on Librivox. You’ll find classics like War and Peace and Anne of Green Gables along with hundreds of books you’ve never heard of but will definitely fall in love with. This site will allow you to download books to your iPod, mobile device, computers, and will even walk you through burning your favorite audiobooks onto a CD. There are currently over 10,000 projects recorded on Librivox, and you can be a part of this great cause by donating your voice and read short works, an actor’s part in a play, a chapter of a longer text, or even donate an entire book of audio to the site, which will release the finished project into the public domain as well.

Explore LibriVox

LearnOutLoudvia Learnoutloud.com

LearnOutLoud

LearnOutLoud is a great option for everyone, but especially for students. This site hosts everything from fiction to educational content, and is for more than just audiobooks—it has video learning, podcasts, educational courses, documentaries, interviews, speeches, and so much more.

RELATED: 10 audiobooks that will make time fly when you travel

Explore LearnOutLoud

Hoopla Digitalvia hoopladigital.com

Hoopla Digital

Hoopla works much like OverDrive in that all you need is a library card to unlock free audiobooks and free ebooks from local libraries. Hoopla also offers movies, music, comics, and TV shows that you can stream or download on your computer, tablet, phone, and even your TV.

Explore Hoopla

Project Gutenbergvia Gutenberg.org

Project Gutenberg

Don’t be scared off by this site’s basic appearance. Project Gutenberg is a no-nonsense site that offers access to public domain classic ebooks and audiobooks, like Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, and more. Project Gutenberg’s books are mostly narrated by their own volunteers and public domain audiobook contributors, but there are also some computer-narrated books available.

Explore Project Gutenberg

Lit2Govia Etc.usf.edu

Lit2Go

Lit2Go is a collection of stories and poems all strictly in audio format. Like many of the other sites, there are plenty of classics and public domain books, but these are all focused on providing literature for students K-12. Many books can be downloaded as a PDF and used as a read-along, and the books are split up into passages, for easy segmenting of the long-form stories. There are also other supplemental work and studies provided for students to help with their learning, and the books can be searched by reading level which is a big plus for students and parents.

RELATED: 18 classic books you can read in one day

Explore Lit2Go

Loyal Booksvia loyalbooks.com

Loyal Books

Loyal Books is another public domain audiobook provider but don’t let that word scare you off! With over 7,000 titles, you’ll certainly find something you’ve never read and will enjoy in either their free audiobooks or eBooks sections. Search by genre, language, Top 100, or just by title and author.

RELATED: The 50 books to read before you’re 50

Explore Loyal Books

Scriblvia Scribl.com

Scribl

Unlike a lot of the sites on this list, Scribl provides books that are not in the public domain, and not normally free, for free. Also unlike all of the other sites on this list, there’s no way to search through just their free catalog, so you have to check each book’s price as you go. That being said, Scribl is committed to keeping at least 50 percent of all books on their site free no matter how many they upload. Want your ebook or audiobook on one of these sites? Scribl also helps you publish—and might even pay you—for your audiobook.

Explore Scribl

Internet Archivevia archive.org

Internet Archive

Internet Archive has thousands of free audiobooks and audio poetry downloads available. Like several of the sites we’ve listed, Internet Archive doesn’t just have its own catalog, it also allows you to search through several other audiobook providers archives and play your favorite titles through Internet Archive’s portal instead. You can search by year, topic, media type, and more as you search for your next favorite book.

RELATED: This city transformed its subway cars into moving libraries

Explore Internet Archive

ThoughtAudiovia ThoughtAudio.com

 ThoughtAudio

If you’re into classic literature and philosophy, ThoughtAudio is the site for you. It provides a ton of free audiobooks from authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, and Virginia Wolfe. You can even see what’s new on the site by clicking the “new postings” section. Enjoy listening!

Explore ThoughtAudio

Youtubevia YouTube.com

YouTube

On top of having tons of free video content, YouTube also has free audiobooks you can listen to. There are many free audiobook channels you can subscribe to, and these channels have a variety of genres. You can listen to classics like Pride and Prejudice, fantasy hits like Harry Potter, and thrillers such as Stephen King’s In the Tall Grass.

Explore YouTube

Free Classic Audiobooksvia freeclassicaudiobooks.com

Free Classic Audiobooks

The name says it all—this is a website where you can listen to free classic audiobooks. These free audiobooks include Emma by Jane Austen, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The website does look basic, but if you’re only on there to find classic audiobooks, then it serves its purpose. Enjoy listening to these timeless pieces!

RELATED: 50 best fiction books to read this year

Explore Free Classic Audiobooks

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.

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