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How To Never Pay For High Quality Audiobooks Again - Free and Legal Source List

Updated on April 4, 2013

Never Pay for An Audiobook Again!

Every day I spend at least two hours in the car.

To fill some of that time with productive activities, I listen to audiobooks.

In fact, it is now a highlight of my mornings to get in the car and hook my ipod in to the aux cable and continue the story.

It is also a great chill-out from my day at work teaching to listen on the way home.

Right now, I'm on a science fiction kick.

With two hours a day (at least) dedicated to audiobooks, I go through them rather rapidly.

As a result, it is a fun obsession of mine to find free and legal locations to download audiobooks to keep my audiobook queue full.

Whether you plan to listen to audiobooks while driving, exercising, housecleaning, babysitting, or working, this "Top 3 List" of my personal favorite free and legal sources will help you save money and get quality books on your iPod, iPhone, MP3 Player, Android, Tablet, burned CDs, or PC.

1. Overdrive at Local Library

Your local library may be the best source for free audiobooks, especially if they subscribe to Overdrive's extensive collection of ebooks and audiobooks.

Local libraries purchase the rights to loan a certain number of copies.

How Do I Know If My Library Has Overdrive?

Check out whether your library is a participant in the Overdrive network by selecting the "library search" tab here.

The audiobooks are a constantly updated and extensive collection including all the latest best sellers and books in high demand.

Check if you library has Overdrive and if not, then ask for it! Each library varies in how many checkouts you can have at one time, but you can set a short check out period if you think you will go through them rapidly.

Short and Sweet Benefits of Overdrive

  • Large collection with updated selections and hot best selling books.
  • Available on most platforms - desktop and mobile - with apps and software
  • Variable check out terms
  • Permission to burn some titles to CD (for you old schoolers out there *wink*)
  • Widely available even in many smaller libraries
  • Many officially supported devices to play DRM WMA formatted books
  • Quick and easy download system


What Do I Need To Use Overdrive?

You will need a device that supports the software, which includes Windows and Mac, as well as a variety of mobile options.

  • iOS devices that support apps
  • Android
  • Window's Phone
  • Blackberry Phones
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • Kindle
  • Nook
  • Mac
  • Windows

Find your software links for your platform of choice here!

iOS Overdrive App

WMA Audiobook Formats and Devices

WMA format audiobooks must be either listened too on the PC/MAC or transferred using the Overdrive download software to an approved player capable of maintaining the digital rights built in to WMA formatting.

The easiest to use approved player for these types are iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

Additional devices other than and iOS device approved to play WMA files are:

  • Memorex MP3 Players
  • Microsoft Zune® and Zune® HD
  • Califone 8101
  • Philips MP3 Players
  • Coby MP3 Players
  • Samsung MP3 Players
  • SanDisk MP3 Players
  • Sony Walkman® MP3 Players
  • Creative MP3 Players

Overdrive for Android

MP3 Audiobook Formats and Devices

MP3 files are less protected and consequently, they work with nearly any mp3 player, phone, tv, game console, etc.

In the event that the Overdrive download software does not recognize your device to transfer the MP3 files to it, you may simply drag and drop the files to your MP3 capable device.

The folder location on Windows should be [your profile name] --->My Documents--->My Media--->MP3 Audiobooks.

A Final Word About Audiobook Formats

When searching on Overdrive for an Audiobook, you will be able to see what kind of file type --- WMA or MP3 --- the audiobook is available in. If the book is offered in both formats, you will have to choose what type you want to download.

On occasion, all the licences of one format may be checked out while the other format may have a few left. In this case, you will have to be mindful of which format you are checking out so that you can confirm that it is compatible with your listening devices.


2. Whispersync for Voice with Amazon and Audible

What is Whispersync?

Amazon has a new system that links their Kindle ebooks with Audbile's audiobooks called Whispersync.

It is a sweet service, especially if you have a newer Kindle device. If you have one of these newer Kindle devices, it will track exactly where you leave off in your book and allow you to pick the book right back up in the audio version from Audible.

The incredible thing about Whispersync is that the Audible books are discounted extremely if you purchase the Kindle ebook. I find nearly daily a temporarily free Kindle ebook that links to Whispersynce at a highly discounted price usually around $1.99.

You can also purchase many many classic books professionally read for just $0.99.

What Is Free About Whispersync Audiobooks?

However, since this article is primarily about NOT paying a dime for audiobooks, Whispersync has a collection of books offered for free to essentially try the service. As of this writing, there are 10 on the list, which you can access here.

Benefits of Audible Products

The main benefit of using Audible products here is that they are consistently HIGH QUALITY, which is very important if you are going to have to listen to someone's voice for many many hours. Professional readings can really make a difference.

Using Whispersync for Voice on Your iPhone and Kindle

3. Lit2Go

Teacher Friendly

As a high school teacher, I find Lit2Go particularly useful in my daily work life because it is so accessible for teachers and for students. It has reading scales, word counts, PDF and web text read along materials, and its all in accessible MP3 format.

However, I use it regularly in my own life on the long commutes to and from work to catch up on classic literature, poetry, etc.

Young People Friendly

Since most of you reading are probably not teachers (but if you are, you need to use this free resource), I want to point out that Lit2Go is very useful for families who want their children to be exposed to a wide range of quality literature.

Lit2Go offers a feature that makes it particularly friendly for young people by having a PDF or web based version of audiobook so students and kids can read along. This is very useful for struggling readers and to help reinforce good reading skills and vocabulary in on-level readers.

Lit2Go is a project of the University of Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse. All the readings are done well and are easy to listen to.

What Kind Of Books Are Available At Lit2Go?

Here are a few audiobooks highlights for young and old available on Lit2Go:

  • Books of Oz Collection
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Crime and Punishment
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • David Copperfield
  • Dracula
  • Hamlet
  • The Jungle
  • Moby Dick
  • Oliver Twist
  • Treasure Island
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • The Works of Edgar Allen Poe

Get Hooked Up Now!

These are just a small taste of what is available.

Scope it out Yourself!

Speak Your Mind!

Which service do you plan to try first?

See results

Get In There And Try It Out!

There are ALOT of sources on the internet for audiobooks, but there are few places for high quality ones.

I hope you try Overdrive, Whispersync, and Lit2Go.

In fact, I hope your whole family tries it out - keep reading alive even if its listening!


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