How to listen to Audible audiobooks for free, without a membership

How to listen to Audible audiobooks for free, without a membership

Last week, I was talking to someone about books (if I had a nickel…). About Pride and Prejudice, specifically. This reader loved Pride and Prejudice. He’d been putting it off for years, much to the dismay of his wife, who’s in grad school for literature. But before he set out on a long road trip, he chose the Audible edition narrated by Rosamund Pike as his driving companion.

I love Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve read it at least half a dozen times. But I’ve never heard Rosamund Pike’s complete version. This reader’s raves about her fantastic narration—and especially, her perfect accents for Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins—had me firing up my computer to order that version for myself immediately. I have piles of Audible credits saved up; I was ready to use one.

But I didn’t have to.

I discovered that that audiobook—along with more than 40 other titles—is available to stream for Amazon Prime members through Audible’s new Audible Channels feature. For FREE.

Channels debuted in the fall, but when Audible announced it, I didn’t think I cared. And then this week I realized Channels has one feature I care very much about, and that is free streaming audiobooks —full-length audiobooks from best sellers, family favorites, celebrity-narrated classics, and more.

And these aren’t throwaway freebies—these are truly terrific titles.

(I’m going to try and restrain myself from dumping commentary on every single book here as I give you a quick tour of what you could be streaming for free.)

A few examples from the Editors’ Choice category:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (this has been on my list since a What Should I Read Next listener recommended it in Episode 62!)
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Have I told you about the time I was riding on an NYC bus and the woman across the aisle missed her stop because she was so absorbed in this novel? Yeah.
Watership Down by Richard Adams. I enjoyed this narration last year.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Kubica’s a pro; this is her best.
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Read it.

In the Celebrity Voices/Classic Stories category:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, narrated by Scarlett Johansson
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, narrated by Elijah Wood
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, narrated by Kenneth Branagh
Bram Stoker’s Dracula, narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, and a full cast

A few Better Than the Movie audiobooks:

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup

From the Truly Criminal category:

Columbine by Dave Cullen. High on my TBR because everyone says read it.
Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale

And a few more:

Stitches by Anne Lamott. Love her.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The audio edition is sooo good!
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. This Peter Dennis narration is the best.
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

The details:

Repeating for emphasis: Prime members can stream these titles for free, but you can’t download them (unless you buy them, of course). These are the books to listen to while you do the dishes or fold laundry, not while you go for a run or drive carpool.

Audible Channels is a completely free feature for Amazon Prime members. You don’t need to do anything to access this feature except download the app. (Make sure you’re running the most recent version of the app. I had to update my iPhone app before I could access Channels. At this time, Channels is available in the Audible app for Android, iOS, Windows 10, and Fire tablets.)

If you’ve never tried Prime before, you start a 30-Day Free Trial. You have access to Audible Channels during your trial period. Shop Amazon – If you want to become a Prime member, start here. If you’re a student, you can get 50% off your Prime membership.

If Prime isn’t for you, next week I’m sharing how to purchase Audible audiobooks not quite for free, but for cheap, and without a membership.

Do you use Audible Channels? I’d love to hear what features you use, and how. And of course I’d love to hear your experience with any of the audiobooks on this list! Please tell us all about them in comments.

P.S. The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks, and 10 engaging audiobooks read by their authors. Check out all audiobook posts on Modern Mrs Darcy right here.

audible channels

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107 comments

  1. Niki Deutsch says:

    Thank you for this terrific information! I’ve had prime for a long time, and had no idea this feature even existed.

  2. This post is perfect timing for me. I love to read but struggle with audiobooks and have decided to give them a second chance this year. My renewed love affair with podcasts (such as WSIRN of course) has me hopeful that my attention has the stamina for audiobooks. Thanks for the Amazon Prime tip and the great audiobook suggestions.

  3. Oye! I didn’t realize channels offered whole books! I messed around with the feature a little bit when it came out, I enjoy the meditation channel a lot. Had NO idea I could listen to a complete book, though!!! Woot!

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Now to share this with my Facebook friends so they can take advantage too!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Wow this blog post was such a good find! I stumbled upon this on my Pinterest.I’m so excited to try it as I find myself not knowing what to read these days or have time for the library or the wait for a library e book. I accidentally purchased Prime…yes honest mistake but so far it’s paying off and with this it surely will too!

    • Mary Ann Garcia says:

      Wow, thank you so much for this information. I often run out of my audible credits and sometime need to wait soooo long for items from my library to become available. Now I have another option and this makes me very happy.

  5. Debbie Allan says:

    Thank you so much for this fabulous recommendation. I am now listening to (and loving) Pride and Prejudice. Rosamund Pike’s voice is perfect. I did not now about the free audio books via Prime and so am over the moon.

  6. Kacie says:

    There is usually a free classic book available to all each month, the “free with whispersync” option. So, grab the free kindle copy and get the free audio book. This month, the title for me is “White Fang.”

    On Audible.com, go to “browse Audible” then select “Whispersync for Voice” then “read and listen to a title for free” further down the page to see the month’s selection.

  7. Stacy A. says:

    I just finished listening to the Pride and Prejudice version you mentioned. It was my first Audible listen, and I’m unequivocally hooked! Thanks to your good information, I also have a long listening queue that was free or very nearly. Thank you!

  8. Kae says:

    SO just clarifying- I can listen to the books that I purchased on Audible without paying a monthly membership for Audible? I purchased several from your Deals, but thought that I had to pay the membership to be able to listen to them. I don’t listen much, just when I drive long trips. So I don’t want to pay the monthly fees, but I want to be able to listen periodically.

  9. Natalie B says:

    I’m struggling trying to find the books. On my “Channels” list I don’t see editors choice or celebrity voices or better than the movie categories. There are lots of “article” type podcasts but only one fiction category which has a handful of books like “a Christmas carol” Where do I find the categories you’ve listed?

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