(I’m linking up with TWO linky parties today…if you just want my “top ten list” of free audiobooks we’ve enjoyed, just look to the bottom of the post!)
Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time or multitask. While our audiobook listening has diminished somewhat ever since Miss M learned to read on her own, we are still sure to stock up our Mp3 player with books before a long trip. Miss M still also occasionally likes to listen to audiobooks while folding her laundry or just to relax. When Miss M was in Kindergarten and 1st grade, her attention span was much longer than her ability to read on her own, so she listened to several long audiobooks those two years!
The boys haven’t been big fans of audiobook listening so far, but I would like to try again to find some books they might enjoy (it’s been a while since we tried listening to one all together). They are each getting a bit older and Mr. E in particular is getting to that same point of having a bit longer attention span to perhaps enjoy a longer audiobook.
While many audiobooks are available for purchase on sites like amazon, the price for an audiobook is often higher than the price for a regular book! Of course libraries have offered books on cassette tape or CD for years, but we (as I am sure is true of many families these days) have no convenient devices for playing cassette tapes, and even CD listening is more of a challenge than it used to be — most of our CD listening devices have broken and we haven’t replaced them!
Luckily we’ve found two great ways to get MP3 format audiobooks for free — our library and websites offering public domain audiobooks.
Most the audiobooks we’ve listened to have come from librivox.org, a site dedicated to organizing volunteers to make recordings of books in the public domain. The recordings are then available as free downloads. Librivox is a great site, but can be challenging to browse if you don’t have something specific in mind. I just realized recently that booksshouldbefree.com lists most (or maybe all?) of Librivox’s audiobooks as well as a few others in a much easier-to-browse format. Booksshouldbefree.com also gives links to ebooks in various formats, just in case you decide you would rather read it yourself instead of listening. Ipad/Iphone apps are available to help interface with these free audibooks as well, but to be honest I haven’t tried any of them yet, since we don’t find the iPad to be our preferred device for audiobook listening.
Our library system also offers free audiobook downloads. I’m guessing that this service is offered by many libraries! Most of the audiobooks are available to be “checked out” for a limited period of time, after which they are electronically “returned”, and no longer available on your device. Because of this system (sometimes called “DRM” or digital rights management), these library audiobooks won’t work on all devices — but they do work on computers and many MP3 players, smartphones, and the iPad/iPhone are supported.
Not sure where to start? Here are 10 free audiobook titles we’ve enjoyed (in no particular order):
- Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Marvelous Land of Oz
- Raggedy Ann Stories
- Raggedy Andy Stories
- Our Island Story
- The Bobbsey Twins
- Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
- The Secret Garden
- Five Little Peppers and How they Grew