There’s only a couple reliable ways you can listen to free self-help audio books:
- Check it out at a library.
- Find them on YouTube.
The library is great because you are often surprised by how extensive their collection is. New audio books that you don’t think they would have they sometimes do.
The downside is:
- Sometimes, they still don’t have what you want.
- You have to wait in line for it.
- It might be old or used.
- You can use it for a limited time before returning it.
- Depending on where you live, your public library collection could be worse.
Having said that, the library is still an amazing resource. I have managed to save a ton of money by finding old and new books I would have otherwise had to buy. You can even request for them to buy a book and they sometimes will do it.
Now, let’s talk about the YouTube option. People will sometimes illegally upload the full audio book version of a book on YouTube. The downside to this is that it’s illegal and they often get pulled down after a time once YouTube detects it. However, you’d be surprised how many don’t get found quickly. For example, the full audio book for The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino has been on YouTube for a long time. Yet it’s a famous book written in the 60’s with over 50 million copies sold.
If you consider using this message, just remember that it is illegal. There may be detection out there that can come bite you later. To illustrate, my dad’s friend got fined hundreds of dollars by the government after they detected him downloading new movies illegally. Chances are you should be safe listening to these on YouTube. Their detection is good, but not perfect and it’s unlikely they will fine tens of thousands of people every month.
Fun fact: I got into the personal development space by stumbling onto one of these videos years ago.
Finally, there are podcasts. These are free audio files you can download or play on your phone from iTunes. People host podcast episodes kind of like radio shows except each episode is more thoroughly prepared ahead of time.
While these are not technically audio books, they are sometimes better. When I get bored of listening to someone read a book or I run out of audio books to listen to, I will open a self-help or entrepreneur-themed podcast. I like them because:
- They’re free.
- They’re natural sounding and real.
- They give modern, up-to-date information.
- You get advice from authorities you can’t get anywhere else.
That’s why I decided to start my own podcast. I want you to be able to get advice and valuable insights while you are jogging, driving, waiting in line, or cooking dinner. With an article or video, it’s tough to do that because you have to stare at a screen and you cannot stare at a screen while you are doing your chores if you want to be efficient.
Without further ado, here is episode zero of Will’s Personal Development Podcast:
How To Convert Books or Articles into Audio Books For Free
Another trick I use that works wonders is copying and pasting text from a web article, Kindle book, or eBook into ttsreader.com (or any other free text to audio service online). It’s free and I can fairly easily understand what’s being said.
I’m a listener more than a reader so it works great. It’s an 80% solution because I’d rather have a real person read it in a smoother way. However, it saves me time and money because rarely will someone convert a web article into an audio version and audio books are priced two or three times more than a book (that’s where most authors make the most margins).
The Truth About Book Summaries
Another big question that self-help audio book lovers ask about is if book summaries are useful and accurate. I explain the pros and cons to book summaries and review the biggest self-help book summary app on the market, Blinkist, in this article. Check it out.
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