During the pandemic, our local library shut down so we were not able to check out books. I wasn’t willing to dish out dollars for dozens of books on Amazon, so I turned to audiobooks. Our library is open now, but I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks and I’m hooked! I listen to them in the car, while exercising, and even when grocery shopping. My kids listen to audiobooks while taking long car rides, doing chores, or hanging out on the couch. I cannot believe I waited so long to get hip to this game!
Audiobooks are great, but getting audiobooks for our family of five had the potential to become expensive. The most popular audiobook sites and apps charge for membership fees and credits. I didn’t want to pay for all of that, so I started hunting for free or reasonably priced audiobooks. If you’re into audiobooks, here’s where you should look:
- Your local library: This is my favorite way to listen to current and bestselling books. Your local library likely provides an audiobook app that will allow you to listen to hundreds of audiobooks for free. If you have a library card (and I know you do!), simply add the app to your phone, input your library card credentials, select an audiobook, and start listening! Hit up your library’s website to see if your membership includes access to any of these popular audiobook portals:
- Out of state libraries:
- Did you know you can get a library card for a library outside your town and even outside of your state? Yes ma’am, you can! For less than $50, I was able to was get a virtual out of state library card that gave me access to Hoopla, which includes audiobooks AND television shows for the entire family. Now, I have access to both Libby (from my local library) and Hoopla (from an out of state library). Paying for an out of state library card is much cheaper than paying for an audiobook subscription. Plus, I love that titles I can’t find in one app are often available in the other app.
- If you want to learn more, check out this helpful post: Libraries With Non-Resident Borrowing Privileges.
- Search YouTube for adult reads you might enjoy. Just input the title in the search bar and see what pops up. I’ve listened to dozens of audiobooks using this method.
- Get something for the kids. Check out the Bookmarks series on the Netflix Jr channel to find great books that celebrate Black voices. (We love Tiffany Haddish’s fun and engaging reading of I Love My Hair and Jacqueline Woodson’s thoughtful and heartfelt reading of her book, The Day You Begin.) Also do not, DO NOT leave YouTube without listening to As Fast As Words Can Fly by Pamela M. Tuck read by Dulé Hill! Hill’s soulful, emotional, and authentic reading of this inspiring story is AMAZING and the detailed illustrations are top notch!
- LibriVox: You won’t find the latest bestsellers here, but LibriVox is a good place to look for books within the public domain. If you’re looking for books like Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery or The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B DuBois, you’ll find it here.
- Spotify: If you think Spotify only provides music, think again! Check out Spotify’s audiobook page. There’s a great selection of titles there! Novels are often split according to chapters, but if you select a book’s album option, you’ll be able to listen to the entire book.
Audiobooks don’t have to be expensive. Use these options to see if you can find your next great read!