Librivox is a non-profit initiative to record public domain books and release them as free audiobooks. The site boasts over 10,000 projects, with a diverse set of titles ranging from War and Peace to Leaves of Grass to The Dream of the Red Chamber to Anne of Green Gables.
Scribl is a great option for newer releases, with many of the books read by the authors themselves. These free audiobooks are provided in a serialized form, so you can listen to small chunks that fit into your commute.
The thing is, Audible isn't cheap. While $15 a month for an otherwise $20+ audiobook might seem like a steal, there are plenty of other audiobook apps out there that are either completely free or at least much cheaper than Audible.
Libby offers a pleasant, intuitive interface with an audiobook player that resembles Audible's. You can increase or decrease playback speed, set a sleep timer, skip a few seconds backward or forward, place a bookmark, and view chapters. Also like Audible, you can download books for offline listening.
Once you purchase a book from Chirp's website, it will be downloaded to Chirp's audiobook player app, which includes all the essentials: a playback speed adjuster, bookmarks, a sleep timer, downloading for offline listening, and more.
Unlike Libby and Chirp, LibriVox offers over 50,000 public domain audiobooks completely produced by volunteers, from reading and recording to editing and distributing. Of course, the wonderful advantage of volunteer production means that LibriVox is completely free.
Loyal Books is much like LibriVox in that its collection consists of free, public domain audiobooks. While Loyal Books' audiobook collection is much less comprehensive than LibriVox's, Loyal Book also offers thousands of ebooks.
You can stream or download audiobooks, add a sleep timer, skip forward and backward, and adjust the playback speed. Loyal Books also includes book reviews, which can be quite helpful in deciding which ones to listen to.
Hoopla is similar to Libby, in that it's completely free to anyone in the US who connects their library card to the app. You borrow audiobooks virtually and can stream them in the app or download them for offline play.
There you have it! Six Audible alternatives free or almost free of charge. But is it worth the switch from Audible to one of these apps? Of course, it will depend. If you like to listen to books only off your reading list, then you'd be better off with Audible because of its large collection of instantly available audiobooks.
In the past, you might have known Loyal Books as Books Should Be Free (amen to that). The site offers free audiobooks from a multitude of genres, from adventure and romance to science fiction and historical fiction. Users can download titles from Loyal Books to be listened to via an MP3 file or through the Apple Podcasts app, or to stream on an RSS feed. The site offers content in 28 languages, from Ancient Greek to Urdu, not including multilingual titles. Volunteers from the site itself, or from Project Gutenberg and Librivox, which are listed below, digitize public domain books to make them accessible in the Loyal Books library.
Open Culture wants us to learn today. The site does more than provide a wide array of audiobooks: It offers free cultural and educational media to whomever wants it. You can find online educational courses on everything from economics to philosophy and even demography to guided meditations, textbooks, and movies. Selections can be listened to via free mp3 downloads, streams, or iTunes downloads. Open Culture runs on donations.
Overdrive helps users gain access to free audiobooks and encourages them to explore their public libraries; the site partners with local schools and libraries to bring its catalog of audiobooks to as many people as possible. Its apps, Libby and Sora (available in the App Store), make collaboration with libraries and schools possible: Libby instructs users on how to get a library card in order to connect them to local public libraries where Overdrive houses audiobooks, and Sora utilizes student logins to grant student users access to Overdrive's catalog of audiobooks in their school's library. Overdrive is fueled by its partnerships with major publishing organizations and media companies, and audiobooks can be listened to through the aforementioned applications.
Of course LibriVox grants its users with free audiobooks, but it also takes the process one step further: Because the site's free audiobooks are made possible by volunteer readers, you can volunteer your voice(Opens in a new tab) -- and dramatic reading skills -- to help LibriVox expand its library. In particular, LibriVox needs your help to record books in the public domain, or those that were published before 1923 (no audition or prior recording experience is necessary). Turn your love of audiobooks into a way to give back to the public domain, of which your recorded voice will become a part! LibriVox's audiobook catalog can be enjoyed by downloading audiobook files onto a computer, smartphone, or CD-ROM.
As the oldest digital library online, Project Gutenberg has been working to archive as many books as possible since its founding in 1971. The site's catalog now consists of over 60,000 free ebooks downloadable as mp3 files. That number was made possible by the site's practice of approving 99% of the requests it receives to turn books into audiobooks or ebooks(Opens in a new tab). Similar to LibriVox, Project Gutenberg asks readers to donate their voices if they're willing and able. Volunteer voices contribute to their human-read audiobook collection(Opens in a new tab), and the site also houses a computer-read audiobook collection(Opens in a new tab). If you've got a book you'd like digitized that Project Gutenberg doesn't already have in their catalog, send them an email.(Opens in a new tab) Otherwise, the organization is powered by donations.
This audiobook archive is a registered nonprofit that impressively compiles some libraries mentioned on this list and more. In addition to housing LibriVox and Project Gutenberg's catalogs, Archive grants users access to Naropa Poetics Audio Archive, Maria Lectrix, and Internet Archive. Instead of visiting each of those five catalogs and searching them individually, you can head over to Archive to do a master search. Archive doesn't only handle audiobooks, web pages, images, and software programs, it also offers free audio access to over 200,000 live concerts.(Opens in a new tab) The audio files on Archive can be streamed directly from the site. You can get involved with Archive by donating, volunteering at one of their many events throughout the year, or through the career opportunities listed on their website.
StoryNory's offerings are as cute as its name suggests: The site offers free audiobook versions of stories, fairytales, poems, music, and myths. That includes narrative works by classic authors (think Dickens, Carroll, and Baum), myths from Welsh, Norse, Greek, and other world cultures, and fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, Aesop, and Charles Perrault. StoryNory is perfect for parents looking for a great way to entertain kids, or for folks of all ages who just want to be read a bedtime story. The books are read by an enthusiastic, kid-friendly voice, and selections can be streamed from the site, which stays up and running thanks to Patreon donors.
Thought Audio prides itself on providing the gift of knowledge(Opens in a new tab) through free audiobook versions of classic titles, philosophic works, biblical excerpts, and prayers. The site's catalog consists of ancient wisdom from multiple faiths, so tune in to discover new truths and find your center. Thought Audio is powered by donations, and audiobooks are read by volunteers. The site's material can be streamed directly from its website or downloaded onto computers.
Who knew everyone's favorite streaming service housed an audiobooks playlist? Although it's not as exhaustive as other collections listed above, if you've already downloaded the app, audiobooks are at your fingertips. The playlist is entitled "Audiobooks" and each of its 122 "songs" is actually a book (or part of one, depending on length). Like the free music on Spotify, the audiobooks playlist doesn't cost a thing, as long as you don't mind sitting through the occasional ad. However, audiobooks can't be listened to in any selected order without Spotify Premium.
Use the search box to find the book you want to read. When you land on the book description page, you will see a list of all available digital versions, together with available download options. This feature, giving you freedom to choose from a variety of digitized print versions, is unique to the Open Library. By default, on the top of the list, you will see the most downloaded version.
Out of over 500,000 ebooks, well over 80,000 are free to download. A few thousands are usually on sale, with price cuts reaching 80%. Plus, many authors offer also their titles for the prices that readers set.
Prime members do indeed have access to free Audible content, thanks to Prime Reading: a service that provides Amazon Prime members with a rotating library of books and magazines to enjoy as part of their membership. Now, subscribers just have to look for Books with Audible Narration in Prime Reading, rather than Channels, when seeking out free audiobooks. The collection includes hundreds of Kindle Short Reads, Singles, and eBooks, at the time of this writing.
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