How to listen to audiobooks and read eBooks for free

Last month around Amazon Prime Day there was a deal to get an Audible subscription for $4.95/month for the first 3 months.

I hopped on it pretty quickly considering an Audible subscription is usually $15/month AND you have to pay for any audiobook you buy beyond the one  audiobook that you are entitled to each month.

For perspective, Audible costs more than a Netflix or Spotify subscription, which is honestly kind of mind-boggling to me.

When I bragged to my weekly mastermind group about this great deal I got, it was suggested that I ditch Audible for a library card.

A library card…really?

I haven’t had one of those for about 15 years, and I’m pretty sure I rarely used the last one.

But apparently libraries have changed a lot in the last 15 years.

Who woulda thunk?

Libraries have fortunately managed to keep up with emerging technologies like eBooks and audiobooks, meaning that members can actually borrow digital copies, which each library presumably has a limited number of licenses to distribute for each book.

At least, this is how I’m assuming it works. And you know what they say about ASSuming…

So how do you borrow audiobooks and eBooks from your library?

It’s stupid easy.

First, get a library card at your local library.

I’m fortunate to have access to the San Francisco Public Library, which has a massive collection of content.

However, apparently you don’t even have to live in San Francisco to become a member.

As long as you live in California and can present a California Driver’s License (and potentially other forms of ID as well), you’re eligible.

I imagine that many city libraries operate at a state level, but you’ll want to double check before you make the trek out to a bigger city’s library.

Worst case, just start with a library card from your local library.

The second thing you’ll want to do is download an app like Libby.

This app seriously has one of the most user-friendly/clean interfaces I’ve ever experienced. You’ll love it.

Link up your library card in the app, and voila! You now have access to thousands of eBooks and audiobooks FOR FREE.

The one downside…

The one downside to this system is that it’s just like a traditional library in the sense that if other people have checked out the book you want to read or listen to, you’ll have to wait until it becomes available.

So you’re not always going to be able to read a book right away, especially if it’s a popular one.

The good news is that placing a hold/getting in line for a book is as simple as tapping a button.

Libby will not only tell you how long you’ll have to wait for your copy, but it will also send you an email when the book has become available and automatically downloaded onto your device.

So far, I’ve always been able to find at least one book that I want to read that is instantly available. The other ones I just add to my queue, and many of them are available by the time I’m done with the previous book.

Don’t be a sucker

Amazon is probably gonna send me a cease and desist letter for discouraging people to sign up for Audible or Kindle Unlimited…but seriously, there is pretty much no reason to be shelling out that kind of cash for something you can get for free.

The only reason you might want to use a service like Audible over Libby is to keep your copy of a book indefinitely.

You own it.

But what’s the point of owning something that isn’t tangible?

I suppose you don’t have to worry about returning the book. But why not just check it out again if you really plan to read it again?

Seriously, don’t be a sucker like I was.

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