Audio Books

Free Audio Books

A couple months ago when I wrote about investing time wisely and the concept of multiple positives many readers commented, saying that an excellent way to educate yourself and spice up an otherwise boring workout is listening to audio books and podcasts while you hit the gym. It also works great for beating the boredom while you’re stuck in traffic during your daily commute.

To help you find the best audio content the web has to offer, I’ve compiled a list of resources for free audio books and podcasts on a wide range of interesting topics. Enjoy, and you if know of any good sites I’ve overlooked, please leave a link in the comments.

Free Audio Books

LibriVox, if you don’t know it already, is the king of free audio books. You can use the catalog to search through their library of nearly 1000 works, all part of the public domain. If you’re feeling generous, you can even contribute wiki-style by recording audio of your own.

AudioBooksForFree also has a big catalog to sort through, with an emphasis on classic works, but a decent amount of mystery, sci-fi, and thriller as well. The only catch here is that you’ll have to pay for quality: the lowest quality downloads are free but anything better than 8 Kbps costs $5-8.

If you’re looking specifically for classics, FreeClassicAudioBooks is a nice little resource. Although the library isn’t huge, there are a lot of big names. They also offer the convenience of downloading in an iPod-ready format.

Who knew that on top of all that print content, ProjectGutenberg also has a huge audio section? They’ve got everything from Aesop to Zola, including a decent number of works in French, German, and other languages.

LearnOutLoud has over 500 educational titles and offers a lot of video as well.

The bright side here is that you can probably get almost any older work in the public domain for free. If what you’re looking for is a bit more modern you’ll either have to shell out a few dollars or try to find a relevant podcast.

Free Podcasts

For iTunes users, the fastest and simplest way to find podcasts and load them directly to your iPod is through iTunes Store. Just click on the podcasts button in the store and you’ll be taken to a huge podcast directory. The trick is finding what you actually want.

If you’re looking for a particular subject, The Educational Podcast Network has a big list of subject specific podcasts that cover most academic topics.

If you could use a few personal recommendations, this thread on AskMetafilter points out a number of educational and entertaining podcasts. NPR has a nice collection of informative podcasts too.

Other good sources include the PodcastDirectory and Yahoo! Podcasts, which allows you to browse by popularity and user ratings.

For the tech savvy reader looking to catch up on the latest buzz, I’d also recommend checking out Digg’s podcast section.

Image by Dala*