You know that feeling: you have about 10 minutes left on this month’s audiobook and it’s about 10 more days to Audible Credit Day. Your beloved has threatened to cut up your credit card if he sees another audible.com charge. What’s a gal to do?
Score some free audiobooks, that’s what! And it’s easy!
FREE AUDIOBOOKS! WAY #1
Audiobook giveaways! These are so popular you could practically fill up your MP3 player with them. Why, dash on over to Speaking of Audiobooks right now before the midnight deadline for 3 free audiobooks by author Julie James! (We’ll wait…) Then jump over to narrator Karen White’s blog for another chance at two of the same audiobooks; you have an additional 12 hours to get in! Hey, here’s another giveaway at the Highbridge. It’s not romance, but beggars and choosers and all that. Wait – another giveaway at Julie James’ page – oh no, it’s for print copies. Dang. Here’s the key to locating these incredible deals: use the Google keywords “audiobook giveaway” and the current month and year (like, September 2012) to get the best relevant results.
FREE AUDIOBOOKS! WAY #2
If you are a little more particular about what you read – for instance, you’d like to choose a title yourself, here’s a totally and completely legit free way to do it: go to your public library! Yes! I know, it’s a surprise to a lot of people, but public libraries have audiobooks on CD and even sometimes on cassette that they lend out just like books. And if you can’t find the one you are looking for, ask the librarian about InterLibrary Loan (ILL) – they can order available copies from other libraries just for you!
This way generally means that the new releases will be on a long waitlist. It also means you’ll need to upload the CDs into the MP3 software of your choice (like, iTunes or Windows Media Player) to get the book onto your MP3 player. What if you’re confronted with a book on cassettes? This is a topic Brenda knows an awful lot about and maybe if we ask her real nice-like, she’ll post a tutorial on how to get those creaky cassette versions into your 21st century player. For you Mac users, like me and Lea, I have three words: download Audiobook Builder. It’s the best $6 you can invest in making audiobooks easy-peasy (no, we don’t get paid by them, I just love this app!).
FREE AUDIOBOOKS! WAY #3
Easiest of all: download free from your public library! Many libraries use the same digital services (and this includes free eBooks as well!) – all you have to do is create your online account through your library’s website, using your library card. You do have a library card, right? That’s mine, up there on the right.
It’s not always the most convenient way – you might not be able to choose any book and download it at any time. There might be a waiting list; it might not be available for your OS; you might not finish it before the lending period. But hey – you can’t beat free!
OverDrive is the largest download service that libraries use, and has the best selection. There are both Mac and Windows versions of the software you use to download first to your computer then load onto your listening device. However, Mac users beware: the book has to indicate specifically that it is available for the Mac. The iPod icon means it can be downloaded to a Windows version of OverDrive and transferred to the iPod. One workaround (if you have access to a Windows computer) is to get books that can be burned to CD and transfer the CDs to your iTunes on your Mac. Keep in mind you are agreeing to destroy all copies after your lending time has ended.
You can also download the OverDrive app to your iOS device and download directly from the Cloud. It took several clicks, but I was able to locate an audiobook via Safari that downloaded easily (via wifi) to my app. Once there, the app is also the player – one more click and you’re off!
There are several helpful tutorials at Overdrive.com on using the service.
OneClickDigital appears to have replaced the awkward NetLibrary interface that I used a few years ago. It has a software download for Windows and Mac. Although it usually has different titles than OverDrive, the list isn’t very extensive – a search for the romance genre in audio returned just over 300 titles.
I found a book I hadn’t listened to and checked it out. When it wasn’t obvious how to get it going, I went to the OneClickDigital help page where a scary man appeared in 3-D at the bottom of the page and started talking to me. Wow! Hovering over him allowed me to shut him up (ok, fill in your own clever retorts here!!) while I looked for what I needed to know. There’s also an iPhone app for OneClick, as well as several help files. After a few clicks, I had the software installed and the audio downloading to my computer. Installing the app didn’t take long either – it’s even more convenient than going through the computer, and the book started right up before the download even completed!
There you have it: FREE FREE FREE audiobooks! You are welcome!