5 Legit Ways to Download Free eBooks & Audiobooks

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a good book, must be in want of another good book. And books are expensive to buy, especially if you burn through them quickly like many of us do. So how can you (legally) keep yourself in reading material without spending a crazy amount of money?

Well, since this is a Library Blog, the #1 answer is obvious: use your public library card! But there are even more ways to get your hands (eyes) on free reading material. In this blog post I’m going to focus on downloadables (ebooks and audiobooks), and ways to legitimately get your electronic reading devices chock full of free stuff.  So many freebies, it’s easy to make “read more” one of your New Year’s resolutions. Thrifty readers rejoice!

1. Use Your Library’s Digital Collection. Free stuff is what libraries all about, and most have at least one e-book borrowing platform that their cardholders can access. At CPL, we have 3 (because we’re awesome like that): OverDrive, RBdigital, and hoopla. Each platform has slightly different borrowing rules, and a different collection of ebooks & audiobooks to choose from.  All you need is a library card and you can start downloading tons of free titles tonight!

2. Check out Open Library and Librivox.  Open Library features hundreds of thousands of scanned books, courtesy of the Internet Archive, offering classic literature, out-of-copyright, public domain works, and many modern titles.  eBooks can either be read page-by-page in a browser (requiring an internet connection), or downloaded to your device and read via the Overdrive Media Console app or a PDF reader. Librivox audiobooks are public domain works read by volunteers from all over the world. They are free for anyone to listen to on a computer, mobile device, or even to burn onto CDs.

3. Become a Reviewer with NetGalley and Edelweiss. Netgalley and Edelweiss  make digital ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of upcoming books available in exchange for honest reviews. In order to gain access to their catalogs of available ebooks, you may be expected to publish regular reviews of what you read, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for free advance copies of books!

4. Promotional Offers & Sales from Major Retailers. Retail sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Google Play all offer free ebooks,  some are permanent freebies and some are for a limited time.  There’s lots of fiction and non-fiction titles, everything from new authors looking to get a sales boost, to established authors promoting their backlists. Check these sites regularly to grab some great deals.

5. And Speaking of Amazon…  Did you know Amazon Prime members have access to a bunch of free ebooks and audiobooks? If you’ve got Prime membership, you can take advantage of a lot of freebies through their Prime Reading program. Most are Kindle ebooks, but there are some audiobooks available through Audible.com, too,  including lots of podcasts from Audible Channels.

SYNC Up Free YA Audiobooks This Summer

Sync audiobooks for teens, sponsored by Audiofile magazine

What if I I told you that you could download 26 audiobooks this summer, and keep them as long as you want,  FOR FREE? It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. The SYNC Summer Reading program has been giving away free YA (also known as Teen, but adults love them, too) downloadable audiobooks all summer long since 2010, and they’re at it again this year.

Starting April 26, 2018, SYNC will give away two complete unabridged audiobook downloads per week – pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. This awesome program is sponsored by Audiofile Magazine and titles are delivered though OverDrive.

SYNC titles aren’t part of the library’s regular OverDrive collection, however. They are part of a separate collection from audiobooksync.com. Head to their website to preview the titles that will be available this summer. The first two titles, available April 26 – May 2, are The Great War : Stories Inspired by Items From the First World War and A Study in Charlotte: a Charlotte Holmes Novel by Brittany Cavallaro.

What do you need to know about SYNC?

1)  Each pair of audiobooks is available for 1 week only. Per agreement with the publishers, the free audiobooks are not available after their original Text synca to 25827download week. The files are available from Thursday morning 7am Eastern Time until the following Thursday morning at 7am Eastern time, when the new audiobook titles become available. You may download more than once if you have more than one device. You can sign up for Text Alerts when new books become available, so you won’t miss out. Text  synca to 25827 or visit audiobooksync.com to arrange alerts.

OverDrive app icon2) You’ll need to have the original OverDrive app (not the newer Libby app) to download the SYNC audiobooks. You can listen to the audiobooks directly through the OverDrive app, download and transfer from Windows or Mac computers to MP3 compatible players.

3)  The audiobooks you download are yours to keep, but bear in mind they can take up a lot of space on your mobile device. If you are using a mobile device SYNC iconlike a smartphone or tablet to listen to the audiobooks, it is recommended that you download to a computer and transfer the audiobooks over as you want to listen to them.  When you’ve finished a title, you can then delete it from your device but still keep the original file on your computer for as long as you want.

Take advantage of this opportunity to build up a collection of quality YA audiobooks, absolutely free. Just think of how you can expand your reading time by listening in the car, around the house, waiting in line. Multitasking was never so enjoyable!