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If you’re an Audible subscriber, you know how quickly you can burn through your monthly credits. Naturally, you might be wondering what free books on Audible you can listen to pass the time.
There’s a slight catch: Audible doesn’t offer any free books to download. But there are plenty that you can to stream, and you don’t even need to be an Audible subscriber to do it. You just need to be an Amazon Prime member. That might cost $119 per year, but it includes free two-day shipping and Prime Video along with your cost. Plus a few other perks you might not know about. It adds up to one incredible deal—and a lot of free Audible books. The only real challenge is knowing where to start.
Here are the best free Audible books streaming right now. No matter what your tastes, there’s something here to whet your appetite.
The best free Audible books
Read by Wil Wheaton
Randall Munroe is the foremost scientific mind of the comedy world. His beloved webcomic xkcd has developed a massive following by carefully blending hysterical humor with brilliant science. What If? continues that tradition by giving legitimate thought to some of the silliest scientific questions of all time, questions like “what would happen if you tried to hit a baseball thrown at the 90% of the speed of light?” The answers are often as terrifying as they are funny, but each one is explained using real-world science. Who says learning isn’t fun?
Read by Janina Edwards
Octavia E. Butler is one of the most important, and most under-appreciated, science-fiction writers in the genre’s history. An African-American woman born in 1947, Butler found inspiration in the prejudice she witnessed growing up, and her work explores hierarchical behavior, intolerance, and violence through the lens of science fiction. Bloodchild… is her first collection, full of tales of alien races intermingling with humanity and viruses that destroy human speech. You don’t have to appreciate Butler’s metaphors to enjoy her stories, but listeners who dig deep will uncover one sci-fi’s best voices and one of the best free Audible books.
Read by Clive Chafer
Dr. Siri Paiboun wasn’t trained to be a coroner, and he doesn’t want the job, but when you’re the only doctor left in the city following a revolution, you do as you’re told. At first, Dr. Paiboun simply plays along, but when a series of brutal murders uncovers a vicious conspiracy, it’s up to the doctor who didn’t want the job to save the day. Set in Lous in 1976 during the communist revolution, The Coroner’s Lunch is full of rich historical detail and chilling mysteries.
Read by Nick Offerman
You probably read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in school, but it’s way better in Nick Offerman’s voice. The celebrated actor, best known for his work on the show Parks and Recreation, brings a joyful, gravely performance to Twain’s classic tale. Being narrated by an actor with actual comedic chops helps uncovers all the humor that you probably missed. If you’re looking for a fresh take on a classic, you can’t go wrong with Twain and Offerman.
Read by Simon Vance
In 2000, Lucie Blackman, a tall, blond, 21-year-old English citizen arrived in Tokyo and promptly disappeared. She was found the following winter, her dismembered body buried in a cave by the sea. The mystery of her abduction raised more questions than answers: Was she kidnapped by a cult or sex traffickers? People Who Eat Darkness is a harrowing true-crime tale.
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6) Columbine by Dave Cullen
Read by Don Leslie
The massacre at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, marked the beginning of a dark period for America. Dave Cullen’s account of what happened that day and in the lead up to the shooting is a brutal experience. Yet it is an important work, especially in a world where mass shootings have become all too common. Columbine isn’t a fun listen, but it’s essential.
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Read by Simon Vance
If your knowledge of The Prestige is informed by Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster movie adaptation, you’re in for a true treat with the audiobook. In this thrilling tale of magic and madness, we follow two brilliant young magicians in 1878 who find their rivalry spin wildly out of control. Christopher Priest’s original text is dramatically different than Nolen’s interpretation, giving even passionate fans of the film a new experience.
Read by Kirby Heyborne, Stefan Rudnicki, Theodore Bikel, Scott Brick, Samantha Eggar, Harlan Ellison, Susan Hanfield, Roxanne Hernandez, Janis Ian, Rex Linn, Richard McGonagle, Jim Meskimen, Emily Rankin, John Rubinstein, Christian Rummel, and a full cast.
This full production, radio-drama-style recording includes multiple narrators and professional special effects to build an immersive science-fiction experience. Ender’s Game drops you in a world where children are recruited as pawns in an intergalactic war for the survival of mankind. Full of space battles, endearing characters, and occasional psychological horror, it’s clear why the book has become so beloved by fans of the genre. No other free book in the Audible app showcases the versatility of the format like Ender’s Game: The Full Cast Audioplay.
Read by Bronson Pinchot
When Karl Marlantes was 23, he went to war in Vietnam and was placed in charge of 40 Marines despite his inexperience. While Marlantes survived the war, the scars of his deployment stayed with him long after returning home. What Is It Like to Go to War is his attempt to explain the experience of combat in an effort to help us better prepare future generations for the lasting impact of conflict.
Read by Lisa Flanagan
Liz Moore’s The Unseen World is a deeply human, almost science-fiction tale about a woman’s journey to learn about the past of her father. Ada Sibelius was a child prodigy raised by a brilliant but eccentric scientist and single father. When his mind goes, Ada makes it her life’s quest to answer the questions that haunt her about his past. Utilizing a virtual reality world, Ada dives into his past, unsure of the answers she’ll find. Liz Moore’s beautiful writing creates characters you truly care about as she creatively explores the impact of Alzheimer’s on families.
Read by Thomas M. Sterner
Do you struggle with keeping focused during the day? Part philosophical text, part actionable text, Thomas M. Sterner’s self-help book is designed to help you live in the moment and fight distractions. Modern society abounds with overstimulation, but using the simple techniques outlined in this text can help you get a leg up on defeating your distractions. You just might want to listen at 1.25x speed, since the narration can get a little dry at times.
Read by Paul Boehmer
Isaac Asimov is best known for his works about robots, but The End of Eternity is his most romantic novel. Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a being living outside space and time, helping shift the course of history to help mankind. It’s a peaceful job, until he falls in love with a woman from our reality, putting his entire existence at risk. The gender politics of this book haven’t age particularly well, but the world-building is exquisite, and the is action incredibly staged.
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Read by Gabra Zackman
Buddhism is one of those things plenty of people know exists without actually knowing anything about. Thubten Chodron’s text, complete with a forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, breaks down the basics of the faith in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand. From basic questions about karma to more complicated issues like past lives, Buddhism for Beginners seeks to educate rather than indoctrinate. At just 4 hours and 43 minutes, it’s a short listen that might show you the path to enlightenment.
Read by Brian Tracy
Procrastination is murder. Beyond being destructive to your productivity, it hurts your personal time, building up stress for projects left undone when you should be relaxing. No Excuses! shows you how to use personal goals and time management to get your life under control. With 21 short chapters, this is a great free Audible book that doesn’t require a big time commitment to try out. Just make sure you don’t put it off forever.
Read by Ralph Cosham
Between 1931 and 1945, 13 million people in Eastern Europe were killed by Nazi and Soviet regimes. The violence was part of a nightmarish struggle to control the land between Germany and Russia waged by Hitler and Stalin. Bloodlands recounts the bleak history of that time period, drawn from diaries, letters, and stories from the survivors. Unlike many war histories that focus on why a conflict is happening, Bloodlands examines the suffering inflicted on human beings caught unwillingly in war.
Disclosure: The author of this piece has worked with Audible in the past, writing a script for an upcoming Audible podcast that will be released in 2018. He is not currently working with the company.
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John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.