Finding Free Audiobooks Online

Decorative: Headphones embracing seven books


A. Why Include or Link to Audiobook Versions of Your Texts?

One way to increase student reading and/or "text participation" (as well as text comprehension) is to provide linked or embedded audiobook versions of assigned texts, whether for read-a-loud or read-along purposes.

  • Listening to the text as they read can help students understand the text more deeply as well as learn how to pronounce key words, names, places, and terms.
  • Audio versions are a great help for reluctant readers, students facing reading or visual challenges, and students who simply feel overwhelmed by the printed word. 
  • Any text available in pdf (including many textbooks, most academic articles, etc.) can easily be read in multiple voices and multiple languages in Voice Dream Reader ("Read With Your Ears").
  • But, free online resources make "audible" not only the "great books" but also a wide range of (largely) out-of-copyright, extra-canonical texts (the social sciences and humanities are particularly well-represented). 
  • Most of these sites also have apps for downloadable, on-the-go listening.

B. Sites to Search

1. Librivox - 15,000+ audiobooks, 50+ languages, human-read

Goal: "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet."

  • "[N]on-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project"
  • "[D]onates its recordings to the public domain"
  • "[P]owered by volunteers"
  • "[W]elcomes all volunteers from across the globe, in all languages"

2. Project Gutenberg - 56,000+ audiobooks; many human-read, other computer-generated 

  • "[A] wikipedia style site that has even more audiobooks from the public domain to offer than Librivox ... the collection is bigger and they support more international and regional languages."
  • "While the site is primarily available in English, you can also find some audiobooks in other languages like French, Chinese, Swedish, and even some regional languages."

3. Internet Archive 

  • "[A] library of audiobooks ... from a variety of sources, including the Naropa Poetics Audio Archive, LibriVox, Project Gutenberg, Maria Lectrix, Internet Archive users, and more"

4. Open Culture 

  • 900+ "free audiobooks, mostly classics" for download

5. (was Librophile)

  • "[O]ver 5,000 free audio books ... listen online, open in a podcast app, or download audio books to your PC"
  • [S]earch by title, author or genre and then listen online, open as podcast, send to Kindle [or Kindle app] or download"

6. LoyalBooks (was BookShouldBeFree)

  • [F]ree audio books in multiple genres and languages ... mostly classical literature and very well organized with reviews and a small preview." 

  • "[C]heck out the Top 100, drill through the genres, or use the Google search at the top to get the free audio book for download ... in mp3 and iTunes format."

7. ThoughtAudio

  • "[F]ree audio books for a selection of classic literature and philosophy titles" for streaming or download

  • "Click a title to access the audio and pdf document.

8. Lit2Go

  • "[A] free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format."

  • "An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages."

  • "Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom."

9.  Overdrive (and/or Libby) - "provide[s] audiobooks that are available in your local public library"

  • "The library is free to use and the collection is huge."
  • "[F]ind and borrow new audiobooks at Overdrive if they are available in your public library."
  • "All you need an ID card of your local public library that works with Overdrive."
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