Untapped: How to Access Free Audiobooks & E-books

In continuing with the Untapped series which sheds light on local resources that the community often doesn’t know about or take advantage of, this week we come back to the library.

I had heard, not from my neighbors or friends, but on the internet that local libraries had apps that gave people access to free audiobooks and electronic books e-books.

Audiobooks and e-books are a great resource, especially for students who have limited time but a lot of reading. With audiobooks, they can listen to Lord of the Flies while brushing their teeth or on long car rides to their sports games. With e-books, they can carry multiple books, perhaps for different classes, with them to read at any time in their pocket.

They are a great resource to everyone really. To listen to on your commute or have a book to read whenever you get caught in a line.

I go to the library often but it was only two weeks ago while researching this piece that I got an actual library card in Costa Mesa. And I got it in order to access the library’s audiobooks and e-books.

Any California resident can get a library card. It doesn’t matter if you live in San Francisco or

Santa Ana, a San Francisco resident can get a library card in Costa Mesa and vice versa. What I love about this: perhaps your local library isn’t very nice or doesn’t have many books or audiobooks. You can get a library card for a well-stocked library far away and be able to access their audiobooks and e-books without trouble.

Costa Mesa libraries are a part of the OC Public Library network. As such, with their library card you can access a huge network of books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. available at libraries from Garden Grove to San Clemente.

The OC Public Libraries use the Libby app to share their library of audiobooks and e-books. I love the app so far because it’s easy to use and convenient. You can access new and popular audiobooks and e-books with over 19,000 available just in fiction alone. As you see in the video, you can search for books by title or author. Some books have wait times, so you can put a hold on them for when they become available. While other books are available to read or listen to immediately. I checked out Beloved read by Toni Morrison herself.

However, because I’m absolutely ridiculous when it comes to books, I also went and renewed my library card in Huntington Beach. They aren’t apart of the OC Public Libraries, so they have a whole other library of free audiobooks and e-books unto themselves. They use the Cloud Library app. Thus, if an e-book isn’t immediately available through one app, you could check the other.

Fun side-note: with the apps, you no longer need to carry your library card with you. The app has your library card number and even a barcode to let you check out books quickly. It can also inform you when a book needs to be returned to prevent late fees (or you can renew your rental with just the touch of a button).

Audiobooks and e-books have never been more accessible to the community and it's all thanks to libraries.

How can YOU get involved? SIMPLE!

Suggestion #1: Go to the library! Get a library card and tap into this free community resource!

Suggestion #2: Tell others about this! You can reference them to this article or share what you read here. Who knows how this could benefit their lives. The joys an audiobook could bring to an elderly relative or the stress-relief to a parent from a free, unable to be misplaced e-book.

Suggestion #3: Tell us about a community resource you love or that you wish more people took advantage of! We would love to share that and perhaps can add it to our Untapped series.