Best Free Audiobooks?
December 26, 2009 7:19 AM   Subscribe

What are the best free audiobooks out there?

What are your best websites for free, downloadable AudioBooks, read by good readers (not text-to-speech)? There are many sites out there (compare this AskMe two years ago), but some of them use computerized text-to-speech, and some use volunteer, amateur readers, and I'm asking for your favorites.

Also are your favorite free audiobooks?

Does anyone have a source for pre-modern poetry read aloud?
posted by musofire to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a fan of Librivox, as suggested in your link, though mostly for my children. This version of "The Wind in the Willows" is a particular favorite.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:44 AM on December 26, 2009

I've been a fan of Podiobooks for some time now...they have a very good collection, and their audiobooks are all free (you are encouraged to donate, but it's not a requirement).
posted by Telpethoron at 7:44 AM on December 26, 2009

This may or may not help you, but my best source for free audiobooks is the library.
posted by Lucinda at 7:45 AM on December 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've used only NetLibrary (mentioned in your linked post) and the readers are the Recorded Books readers (excellent).

There is limited content, but some authors' complete works are included so when I find one I like I "read" them all. My favorite authors on NetLibrary are Alexander McCall Smith and Lee Smith (not related in any way). Fair & Tender Ladies is Lee Smith's best, IMO.

NOTE: I linked to the (not free) Recorded Books site for the author/book info since you don't have to register for that site, unlike NetLibrary.

NetLibrary also has the excellent The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini as well as his other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, both read by the author which is a big plus in this case because you get to hear the correct pronunciation of all the Afghanistani names and places, etc.
posted by ourroute at 8:47 AM on December 26, 2009

nthing your public library. I have access to a ton of free audiobooks through mine. I can even transfer them to my ipod for a limited checkout time.
posted by special-k at 9:04 AM on December 26, 2009

Seconding Librivox... I've listened to several (recommend Moby Dick and Pride and Predudice.... Frankenstein and Dracula were not so good)

They have quite a bit of poetry up there as well.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:36 AM on December 26, 2009

Seconding Podiobooks.

Escape Pod and its sister podcasts are great sources of short fiction.
posted by NoraReed at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2009

If you like shorter fiction, the following podcasts are excellent and reliably feature good readers:
New Yorker Podcast
Selected Shorts Podcast

For full audiobooks, I agree with the others recommending public library ebook collections. Nothing else I've found matches the selection or quality.
posted by susanvance at 3:22 AM on December 27, 2009

but some of them use computerized text-to-speech, and some use volunteer, amateur readers

And both sorts are generally unlistenable.

Many people illegally download torrents of great stuff recorded by professionals, but you can get the same stuff legally at your library.

I don't know if you'll count these as audiobooks, but the BBC radio site offers plenty of dramatised novels (as well as plays, documentaries, poetry shows, and comedy shows). Try Radio 7 to start with.
posted by pracowity at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2009

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