Audiobooks are a great way to maintain your sanity while doing mindless tasks, and to up your reading credentials while on the run. You can listen to the classics or catch up on the latest releases while commuting to work, taking the dogs for a walk, working out, or cleaning the house.
An audiobook subscription can be expensive, when really you want downloading audiobooks to be like going to the library – free. However, we all know that downloading copyrighted materials from the internet can be a bit dodgy and we don’t want to get caught out, so we also want it to be legal!
Here are 8 websites where you can legally download audiobooks for your listening pleasure.
The Internet Archive has around 15,000 audiobooks available, all classics such as Jayne Eyre and Moby Dick. They are easy to use on your computer as you can download as MP3, OGG or a variety of other formats. You can download individual chapters or the whole book as you prefer.
You can browse by subject or keyword, or use the search box, though this can be a bit challenging as many of the books have been poorly named, so that can be a bit hard to recognise at first glance. You can search by number of views to bring the most popular audiobooks to the top of the list.
Almost all the books on the site are in English, so don’t come here if you are looking for foreign language books. If you are a science-fiction geek, there is a subsection of the site, Mind Webs, where you can find dozens of classic sci-fi reads.
If self-improvement and self-development are your goals, then this is the audiobook site for you. It has over 10,000 free educational titles, and not just books, also documentaries, speeches and courses.
You can browse for recently added or most popular, search by keyword, or follow categories that interest you such as science, self-development, business or travel.
You do need to create a free account in order to access the service, and there are also some chargeable titles on the site. But the free books you can either stream or download by ‘purchasing’, for free.
LibriVox manages to have a good selection of audiobooks by working with volunteers, who read chapters from books that are in the public domain. This means that it is all legal, but you won’t get the same quality of narration as you find with the paid sites (no Stephen Fry, sorry).
Books are available in multiple languages, and you can browse by language, title, author or genre, but not by most popular. You can download the whole audiobook, or just the chapters that you are interested in, and you can subscribe to receive new releases as they become available.
You can download books straight to your computer, and there is also an app available for both iOS and Android, where you can download or stream as you prefer.
Lit2Go is unique in that it doesn’t just organise books by category, but also reading comprehension level. This way you can pick something that won’t be overly taxing if you want to read while doing other things. We all love Dostoevsky, but he can be hard to concentrate on when working.
The site offers reads that are in the public domain, so we are talking Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Oliver Twist and Wuthering Heights. You can browse by genre such as fable, gothic or poetry, or by theme, such as Civil War.
You can download by chapter, which is great, but unfortunately you can’t get the whole book at once if you already know you want to read the whole thing. For many of the books you can also download a PDF of the text. The site was originally designed for teachers for whom this is an excellent feature.
Previously called Books Should be Free, you know the philosophy of this site. Loyal Books achieves its goal again by providing access to audio versions of books that are in the public domain, so sharing them is not a breach of copyright.
The search and browse by genre on the site work week, and it is also easy to access the top 100. Unlike some of the other sites on this list, it provides a lot of language options if you are looking for foreign language reads.
You can download books as MP3 files, but you cannot download individual chapters. You can also stream directly to your iPhone or Android, or even gain access via your RSS reader.
This site offers a massive range of audiobooks in several languages, though they achieve this by providing both human-read and computer-generated audio, and computer-generated audio simply is not as easy to listen to as human read content.
You can browse by language or genre, or search authors and titles. You can also browse through recently added, and the project is always adding new titles to the site, so you have lots of options. If you are just looking for the classics, then their top 100 page should be your first stop.
Access to the books is via download, and you can download individual chapters or whole audiobooks as you prefer.
This audiobook site is aimed specifically at kids, so is great for teaching your kids or if you are trying to streamline story time, but not really for finding reads for yourself.
Here you will find fairy tales, classic stories and educational books, and you get the text as well for kids to read along as they build their reading skills and vocabulary.
You can download the books directly or stream via iTunes or other podcasting services.
While YouTube is not an audiobook service, and it can be quite challenging to find the audiobooks amongst all the other content, it is a great, free way to listen to books.
If you are looking for a particular title google the title with the word audiobook, and it should come up. If you are looking for browsing options, there are a few Reddit threads dedicated to sharing YouTube videos that are actually audiobooks.
Once you have found a listen, you can either stream it via YouTube, or download the audio from the site using a YouTube MP3 converter.