Free Audiobooks from the Gutenberg Project

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 20, 2007
Updated • Aug 8, 2018
Mobile Computing, Music

Gutenberg was a German inventor most famous for inventing movable type printing around the year 1450 in Germany revolutionizing European printing. Project Gutenberg offers more than 57,000 free Ebooks for download and has a large audiobook section as well that many users don't really know about.

The audiobook section of Project Gutenberg offers a great list of free audiobooks in various languages but with a strong emphasize on English audiobooks.

Project Gutenberg offers human-read and computer-generated audiobooks on its site. Human-read audio books are usually of higher quality than computer-generated ones but if you had to choose between no audiobook or one generated by a computer, you might pick the computer-generated one.

The Audiobooks

project gutenberg audio books

The two main entry points are the human-read and computer-generated audiobook listings on the site. Each category page starts with quick jumps to authors or titles based on the first letter of the alphabet.

What follows are links to languages for which audiobooks are available; the list is divided into languages with more than 50 audiobooks and those with less than 50 books.

While English is the dominant language on Project Gutenberg, you will find a good assortment of books for languages such as German, Chinese, French, Spanish, or Portuguese on the site as well.

You find mostly classic literature on the site. Lett me name a few authors and books that caught my attention in first place: Hans Christian Andersen, Jane Austen, Balzac, Joseph Conrad, Descartes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Goethe, Kafka, Jack London, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mark Twain.

Lots of famous classic novels that are worth the download if you ask me. Most audiobooks are offered in different formats and are usually divided into chapters. Supported formats may include mp3 audio, Apple iTunes audiobook format, the free Ogg Vorbis Audio format, and others.

Recordings use different encoding settings such as 128 kbps. The site does not list the quality of the sound recording and you can find out only after downloading an audio file to your local system and loading it in a suitable player that highlights the quality level of the encoding.

The quality of the actual audiobook varies from book to book based on the actual reader. There is no information about the person who recorded the audiobook on the site itself.

You can play any file directly on the site or right-click on files to download them to the local system instead.

Update: The selection of human-read and computer generated audiobooks has been expanded considerably ever since our first review of the service in 2007.

You know find hundreds of audiobooks in dozens of languages on the Project Gutenberg website. There are a good dozen languages with at least 50 audiobooks available, and a couple dozen with up to 50 audiobooks. The English section is by far the largest available one. You can download all available audiobooks without registration.

While you won't find the latest blockbuster on offer, you find many classic novels and books on the site that you can download for free to your system.

Free Audiobooks from the Gutenberg Project
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Free Audiobooks from the Gutenberg Project
The audiobook section of Project Gutenberg offers a great list of free audiobooks in various languages but with a strong emphasize on English audiobooks.
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