Nothing compares to snuggling up with a good book and smelling the real paper pages. For convenience, though, audiobooks are pretty darn close to as good as the real thing.
Audiobooks let you be well-read even when you don’t think you have time to read.
While it’s true that you’ll make time for what’s important to you, it really is hard when your list of important things is a mile long. I like to efficiently multi-task (note: not all multi-tasking is efficient) while listening to audiobooks. While I’m doing a chore that takes no brain power like cooking, laundry, dishes, cleaning, or organizing, I love getting lost in a good book.
Do you commute? Do you exercise? Do you clean your house? You can kill two birds with one stone by listening to a book while you drive or work out.
Audiobooks are great for kids too!
In fact, in our family audiobooks are the secret to serenity on any car trip. Of course they’re great for road trips, but for people who live in the boonies, going to church or the grocery store may as well be a road trip (we’re not quite in the boonies anymore, but we still dive a lot). All that time in the car is great for whining, whistling, wrestling, and generally annoying your fellow passengers.
Putting on an audiobook magically turns chaos into calm, whether it’s in the car, the kitchen, or the bedroom. The kids are glued to the story and suddenly forget complaining, arguing, nit-picking, mess-making, and pestering. They can relax and just listen or work on a project with their hands, like knitting or building with blocks.
The best part is that audiobooks don’t even have to cost you anything! Here are five great ways to get audiobooks for free!
1- Check the CDs out from the library
Your local public library has audio books on CD (or even cassette) that you can check out. If you’ve never looked at the audio book section, you might be surprised at how big it is. Our library has a whole section of kids audio books. Recently we have been checking out a few books each time we visit the library.
Just like other library materials, you can look up the exact title you want or you can browse in person or online. When I browse in person I always find titles I’m interested in that I never would have thought to look for. When you’re searching the catalog online, you can also filter by the type of media, so you can narrow your search down to audiobooks.
2- Check out the digital audio books on Libby
Did you know your public library has a lot more available than what you see on the shelves? If you haven’t been to your library’s website recently, you’re missing out on some hidden treasures.
Libraries partner with digital book providers to make them available to library card holders. Over 90% of libraries in North America use OverDrive, which gives you access to literally millions of titles, including thousands of audiobooks. Even though the books are digital, your library has a limited number of licenses, so you sometimes have to wait for a title to become available, just like you would reserve a book at the library.
All you need is a library card and the Libby app. If you don’t have the Libby app on your phone or device yet, do yourself a favor and download it for free! When you set it up you’ll link it with your library.
When your checkout period ends, the book will disappear. The best part is you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging the library’s resources or paying any late fees! And since the file disappears when your time runs out, you don’t have to worry about your device’s storage space being bogged down with audio book files.
3- Download books from librivox.org
While there are many sites online where you can download free books, LibriVox.org has one of the most extensive collections. You won’t find anything that is currently under copyright, but you’ll find loads of classics and other books published before 1926.
Unlike the audio files that you “check out” of the library, there is no time limit on these files. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have listened to The Adventures of Reddy Fox (and other animal stories by Thornton W. Burgess).
Volunteers record themselves reading books that are in the public domain, and thus no longer under copyright. These can be older books, published before 1926, books to which the copyright was never renewed, government works, or other books intentionally placed in the public domain. Librivox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project.
4- Get a free trial (or two)!
Audible is an Amazon company that specializes in audiobooks. They offer a free 30-day trial of their “Plus Premium” service which includes 1 free audiobook to download and keep or if you’re already an Amazon Prime member you get 2 free audiobooks during the trial. After the trial you get 1 book free per month with Plus Premium. You can cancel at anytime and keep the books that you’ve already downloaded. For a plus premium membership it’s $14.95 per month after the trial. Audible also has a membership (Plus) that doesn’t include any monthly downloads and costs $7.95 per month.
While “audible” has become synonymous with “audiobook” these days, it’s not the only option. When we started homeschooling I discovered Scribd and have loved it! Your Scribd subscription gives you access to millions of ebooks and audiobooks along with podcasts, magazines, sheet music and more. With a house full of readers, listeners and musicians, we access quite the spectrum of books on any given day. Scribd gives you a 30-day trial if you just go to their website, but since I have a Scribd subscription I can give you a 60-day free trial! After the trial
Which service is better? You’ll have to try for yourself and see which you prefer! For some people it’s worth it to have both. But in this article we are focusing on getting audiobooks to listen to for free, so I recommend doing the free trials for Audible and Scribd at different times to spread out the free audiobooks over three months.
I was recently talking with a friend who drives a truck inside a huge mine. School has never been his thing and he’s never been a big reader. Now that he spends most of his long work days in a truck by himself, he was excited to discover that he loves books! Audiobooks have opened a whole new world to him, offering subjects and stories that he never would have encountered without audiobooks.
There really aren’t any excuses for not having great listening material. Go find something motivating, uplifting, educational, or enjoyable to listen to.
Be careful though. You might just be motivated to clean the house, exercise or take a trip while you listen!
How about you?
- When do you listen to audiobooks?
- Where do you get your audiobooks?
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