As we are a site dedicated to finding the best possible price for any book on the planet, it stands to reason that we are always on the lookout for bargains and other ways to get our literature fix on the cheap. With this in mind I would like to tell you, my humble readers, a little bit about my favorite new discovery on the web. Free Audio Book Sites.
Anyone who has ever looked at the prices of audio books knows that they can be expensive, even prohibitively so. The first listing from a quick Google search shows that the Harry Potter series will set you back a cool $250 for the entire series on audio book. A quick search using our Book Price Comparison Tool will net you the entire series for well under $50 in paperback form. That is a fairly big price disparity.
But why is this? Well, the cost of production of an audio book can actually be almost the same as the writing of the book it is based on in the first place. A sound studio is required for weeks on end, as well as mixers and cutters and professional voice actors. I recall an anecdote from a book publisher years ago when audio books were first taking off that the publishing company paid the Author of the book $150,000 to write it, then the creation of the audio book alone ran up a quarter of a million dollar bill. I imagine that hiring the indomitable Stephen Fry to do the voice acting such as in the Harry Potter Audio Books would set the bill even higher.
So with that in mind, I set upon myself the task of finding a source of cheap, yet high quality audio books. Once again the Internet does not disappoint.
librivox.org is a fantastic resource for acquiring free audio books. All of the books listed there are from the public domain, so they are quite ethical and perfectly legal to own. A quick search netted me the entire Tolstoy collection, including the epic War and Peace, which if I manage to listen to it in its entirety, should keep me entertained for a good 40 odd hours. They offer you the opportunity to download their massive collection in a few formats, including mp3, so it is quite possible to put these on your phone or iPod and take them everywhere you go.
OpenCulture.com has a fairly good list of free audio books from a number of different sites. It is more of an free eBook aggregator. It combs the web looking for free eBooks listed on sites such as Audible and iTunes. Its one advantage over Librivox is that not all the books it list are in the public domain, so often there are quite new titles available.
And last but not least, we come to the behemoth that is Youtube. Youtube is a fantastic resource for audio books, new and old, though i suspect that many of the newer titles are not strictly speaking legal. But there are a huge number of free and legal titles. A quick search shows us a great number of wonderful audio books such as the below Sherlock Holmes title. So now, as long as you have the Internet, you need never be without a book again.