Want to Listen to High Quality Books without a Subscription to a Paid Service?

I love audiobooks! But I’m on a budget. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were ways to access free audiobooks? There are!

Let me show you a few ways you can find and enjoy audiobooks for free!


Use Libby

The Libby app opens a world of possibilities. It connects your library card to the digital resources of your local library and allows you to borrow these titles for free.

In order to use it to access free audiobooks, you must have the app and a library card to a participating library. (So, get your phone out, download the app, and head to the library to sign up for a card.)

Now connect your card to the app and start browsing. The Multnomah County Library system here in Portland, OR has tons of great audiobooks available. In the past few months I have listened to books from CS Lewis, John Grisham, Gary Chapman, Dale Carnegie, Peter Scazzero, Fredrik Backman, and other great authors!

Within the app you even have control of the narration speed, can navigate to specific chapters, and can set a timer so it stops playing automatically (which is great if you fall asleep while listening to a good story).

Some potential downsides: You may have to put yourself on the wait list for the audiobook you want as other patrons have the materials checked out; and you can only borrow the title for a limited duration (but extensions may be possible, and audiobooks are “returned” automatically, so you never pay fines).

But what happens if Libby doesn’t have the book you want in an audio version? There’s a workaround for that!


Libby + Kindle

What do you get when you combine the technology of Libby with the Kindle app? Remarkable access to free “audiobooks”! With the Kindle app, you can download and read e-books on the go. But Kindle doesn’t offer audiobooks, does it? Technically, it doesn’t, but it offer another amazing feature that turns an e-book into an audiobook! Here’s how it works:

If you can’t find an audio version of the book you want through Libby, but you find the text version, you can actually listen to it through the Kindle app on your PC, mobile device, and tablet. When you checkout an e-book through Libby, you can download it, send it to the Kindle app,and listen to test-to-speech narration. Just follow this process:

  1. Search for and borrow a book on Libby
  2. Download it to your device (This is important. If you don’t download it, you may not be able to access it through Kindle.)
  3. Send to your Kindle
  4. Sign in to your Amazon account and confirm delivery
  5. Open book in Kindle
  6. Hold “Ctrl” and press “t” to start listening!
    1. Press the spacebar to pause or resume narration
    1. Hold “Shift” and press “+” or “-” to increase or decrease narration speed
  7. Enjoy your audiobook!

Some potential downsides: books may not be readily available for download; it’s not guaranteed that all books will work through Kindle; narration is computer generated, so it may not sound natural; and this feature does not work on a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader.


Logos

If you use Logos Bible Software (version 7 and newer) you can listen to any book you own! While Logos offers some audiobooks, not many are free. Instead of buying audiobooks through their site, you can use a workaround similar to that of Kindle. Here’s how it works:

  1. Open the book you want to listen to
  2. Hold “Crtl” and press “R”
  3. Use the pause/play button at the top of the window to pause or resume narration
    1. Control the play speed with the button at the top of the window

Some potential downsides: Logos is an expensive program so it’snot a viable option unless you already have it; Logos does not offer many free resources: e-books or audiobooks; and narration is computer generated, so it may not sound natural.


Your turn: Do you know of any other ways of accessing free audiobooks?

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