Free audiobooks for your summer reading

Every year since 2010 the good people at AudioFile magazine have made it their mission to put tons of FREE audiobooks in the hands of teens (ages 13+) all summer long so they can introduce teens to the joys of the listening experience.

If you are or know a teen who loves to read (or who’d love to try to love to read), this is fantastic news. But there’s good news for the rest of us: these books are available to anyone with a web connection and the ability to use (or learn to use) the Overdrive app.

This year’s program runs from April 25 (today!) to August 1. SYNC gives away two complete audiobooks downloads each week: that’s 28 titles total and you can view the whole list right here. The two audiobooks are paired with purpose—you could call it a mini book flight.

Titles are delivered via the free Overdrive app. Many of you know and love Overdrive because it’s the same app you use to borrow books from the library. It functions the same for SYNC titles, with one important difference—once you download these titles, they’re yours to keep, forever.

Sign up here and you’ll get notifications of when the free audiobooks are available. (SYNC gives away two downloads each week, all summer long. Titles are only available for 7 days; titles change every Thursday morning.)

The titles for this summer’s series are top-notch. Especially catching my eye in this summer’s program are Swing by Kwame Alexander, available today, and Gulp by Mary Roach.

A tip about file storage: audiobook files can be large. If you install Overdrive on a desktop you can download the titles you’re interested in without sweating the storage space, and sync them to the phone app when you’re ready to listen.

I hope this resource provides you with abundant summer reading. I adore audiobooks, but they can be expensive. Take this opportunity to try new titles for free!

If you’re hooked on audiobooks—or just want to give them a try—these MMD resources are for you: 20 celebrity memoirs read by their authors10 audiobooks to listen to while you clean, purge, or tidy; 13 adventure-filled audiobooks for your next family road trip; 15 audiobooks read by your favorite celebrity narrators; 20 extra-long audiobooks to get the most of those credits

If you have any Overdrive tips and tricks, fantastic summer audiobooks to recommend, or past experiences with the SYNC program, please tell us all about it in comments.

Happy reading, everyone!


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  1. Jess says:

    I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong
    I can’t get free books to download

    This is my first time on this, it may be operator error

  2. Kim Little says:

    Yay! Just downloaded, the first two titles. I had heard this on AudioFile Podcast. Thanks to you… I discovered that podcast from one of your episodes from “What Should I read next?” Also, really enjoying your newest podcast!!

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is seriously amazing. My daughter will go to full-time kindergarten at the end of August and I was thinking that would be a great time to try audiobooks (since I’ll actually be able to listen to something other than my daughter!). I signed up for the emails and downloaded the first two, and I’m so looking forward to trying these. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!

  4. Courtney L says:

    Thanks for the update, this is great! I listen to an audiobook with my three boys (ages 6, 10 and 12) almost every time we’re in the car. I thought I’d share our all-time favorites as I’m always eager to hear about a good listen. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Wonder, Auggie & Me, The Green Ember Series and The Indian in the Cupboard.

  5. RuthAnn says:

    The full cast recordings of the plays are SUPER intriguing to me, and I loved that Maggie Stiefvater book. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Christie says:

    I love using Overdrive for downloading audiobooks from my library so this is a great addition! My teenager even said he would be willing to give it a shot while we’re on road trips and a long flight this summer. ☺️

  7. Keri says:

    Oohh, I just checked out the list, and Kids of Appetite by David Arnold is on there… Squee… I love that book and can’t wait for my daughter to give it a listen.

  8. Pam says:

    Discovered this through your blog last year, and was already counting the days until the 2019 freebies would start. A great find! Such a diverse selection of different genres, and many books that appeal far beyond the young adult target market. I particularly like MTS books, and books with more than one narrator. I’m also a fan of live theatre, including Shakespeare, so it’s a treat to see dramas represented each year.

    I’m also helping my octogenarian mother download them to her iPad. She’s losing her eyesight and loves reading, so it’s great to have access to free audiobooks that she can keep. Our public library has downloadable audiobooks, but it is sometimes hard for Mom to finish listening to them before the loan period is up. So thanks a bunch for steering me in this direction a year ago, Anne.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I downloaded the first one this morning and immediately got sucked into the story.

    So, I can’t download them on my computer because I can’t find a Linux version of Overdrive. Is there an easy way to move the files on my phone (Android) into Google Drive or something for storing them? Or do I just need to commit to listening to two books a week so I can delete them from my phone?

  10. Libby Gorman says:

    Is this the “Libby” Overdrive app or the older one? I was resisting Libby (she took my name, after all), but finally made the switch this year and I’m loathe to switch back or have both…

  11. Kendra McIntyre says:

    Yay! Glad I finally got it to work! I’m sad I missed Swing, though. I just caught up on your recent WSIRN and was excited about Swing.

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