Legally, of course.
Unfortunately, most of the these are US based so I apologize to international readers.
If you live in the US and have a library card, I can almost guarantee that your library system uses OverDrive and/or its sister app Libby. All you need is a library card to use it.
The selection in your collection is up to your library. Unfortunately, digital materials are quite pricey for libraries and some publishers choose to intentionally make things difficult for libraries. Please don’t get angry at your library for what it does/doesn’t own. Keep this in mind when elections roll around in your area. Library bonds on the ballot are where money for materials comes from.
Pro tip: You’re not limited to one library card. In fact, OverDrive makes it incredibly easy to add multiple systems to your app. Check out the library card requirements for cities near you. I work in the largest library system in my state and we give full privilege cards to anyone who is a resident of the state.
Yes, another library app.
One of the reasons I like Hoopla is you have instant access to the collection. The library only pays for what you check out. The downside is they will limit how may items you can check out a month.
Sync has been one of my favorite programs for years now. They work directly with publishers to give people access to free audiobooks. [The program was designed with teens in mind; as a result, the books available are Young Adult titles or other books of interest to teen listeners.]
It pairs easily with OverDrive so with just a few clicks you can download it to your device. You can also download it to your computer as well.
How it works: Each year, typically late April- early August [April 30-July 29, 2020], two audiobooks are posted for download for exactly seven days [the week starts on Thursday]. You have to download the book during that time period but can listen to it at any point. That’s it! US listeners will have the greatest selection of books. They will clearly list the geographical restrictions each week for the books. There are typically at least a few options that are open to everyone globally.
Lit2Go features MP3s of classic books in the public domain. Perfect for people wanting to read more classics or those struggling with required reading.
It’s connected to iTunesU. This allows for iPhone users to easily download books/chapters.
LibriVox is a collection of free public domain books read by volunteers.
You can listen to the books before downloading them. This will be highly recommended since these aren’t professional narrators.
Audible [not totally free]
You do have to pay for your subscription which gets one book a month. Many Kindle books have the option to bundle a Kindle book with the Audible version (for free or very low cost). The trick is to wait for a good sale on the Kindle book [$1.99-$3.99]. A Kindle copy AND an audiobook copy for less than a cup of coffee? That’s almost as good as free. Then you save your Audible credit for the expensive books.