Blog – Posted on Friday, Dec 04
How to Find Kindle Unlimited Audiobooks (And 20 of Our Favorites)
We all love reading, but with more people working from home than ever before and screen time at all time high, giving your eyes a break is extra important — and that’s where audiobooks come in.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) plan gives you access to a whole lot of books, many of which also have audiobook companions at no additional cost. So if you’re looking to dive into the Kindle Unlimited audiobook catalog but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover 20 of the best Kindle Unlimited audiobooks, and learn how to find free Kindle Unlimited audiobooks for yourself in the future.
20 best Kindle Unlimited audiobooks to get you started
To kickstart your audiobook adventure, we’ve compiled a list of 20 must-listen Kindle Unlimited audiobooks for you below. All of them are free if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber (and if you'd like more freebies, we recommend checking out our post on free Kindle books).
Bear in mind that Kindle Unlimited titles and availability vary by region — this list is based on the US selection, and it may differ in other countries.
Eternal Fan Favorites
1. The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe (narrated by David Ian Davies)
A master of Gothic stories and the macabre, Poe will take you on engrossing — and often unsettling — journeys through poetry and classic short stories. This collection includes some of Poe’s most famous works, including “The Black Cat,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Raven,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (narrated by Rob Inglis)
The first installment of Tolkien’s legendary trilogy is ready for binge listening! Travel with Frodo Baggins and his ragtag band of friends on their epic quest, befriending a diverse set of beings on their way out of the Shire. But servants of the ancient Sauron are everywhere — can Frodo and his cohort escape with the all-powerful ring of Sauron with their lives? Only time (specifically, 19 hours and 7 minutes, or the length of this roadtrip-worthy audiobook) will tell.
3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818 edition, narrated by Ralph Cosham)
The green-skinned, doddering Frankenstein’s monster in pop culture has morphed into something very different from the original. Refresh yourself on Dr. Frankenstein, the brilliant student turned biological hacker, and his eloquent but disfigured being brought to life — and the complex relationship between creator and creation that comes to a tragic conclusion, making for one of the greatest horror books ever.
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (narrated by Simon Vance)
The most famous detective returns in a bite-sized collection of short stories! If you’re new to Sherlock and want somewhere less intimidating to start than the full collection of Sherlock Holmes, take a listen to this highlight reel of some of the most famous adventures of Holmes and Dr. Watson like "The Speckled Band" and "A Scandal in Bohemia".
5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini)
One of the most recognizable literary epics might be a long read, so why not take the audiobook for a spin? Settle in for Tolstoy’s tale of 19th century Russia, the rending power of war, and the ways love, camaraderie, and bonds of faith can weather that storm — or are ultimately unable to do so.
6. Halsey Street by Naima Coster (narrated by Bahni Turpin)
After her career as an artist in Pittsburg goes awry, Penelope Grand moves back home to Brooklyn to stay with her father. But everything she knows is gone, gentrification has sunk its claws into Brooklyn, and Penelope’s mother Mirella has moved back to the Dominican Republic to “reclaim her roots.” When Penelope accepts an attic loft space with the well-to-do Harpers, she feels she might have finally found somewhere to claim as her own — until her mother comes calling again, leaving Penelope at a crossroads, unsure which life she wants and ultimately, who she wants to be.
7. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah (narrated by Lauren Ezzo)
With the recent passing of her mother and an extended bout of breast cancer, Joanna Teale throws herself back into her graduate studies as a way to cope. Her plans of healing are interrupted by Ursa, a barefoot child covered in bruises who shows up at her cabin in rural Illinois. Worried about an abusive family, Jo finally agrees to let her stay, recruiting her solitary neighbor Gabriel to help her solve the mystery of Ursa’s past. But when Ursa’s extraordinary abilities are eventually revealed — and her murky past begins to grow clearer — Jo and Gabriel may be in for a lot more than they bargained for.
8. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni (narrated by Robert Dugoni)
Sam Hill’s ocular albinism has given him red pupils — his classmates have taken to calling him “Sam Hell” and “Devil Boy.” Sam’s mother instills a belief in God in him that he clings to like a life preserver to protect him from the world, and his small circle of misfit friends at school form a tight-knit bond. But 40 years later, Sam, now a rural eye doctor, no longer has faith that things are meant to happen — not after the event that made him leave his friends and hometown behind. Sam finally decides that he’s run for long enough, but will he be able to endure the pain of reliving his past long enough to try and set things right again?
9. Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King (narrated by Will Damron)
Disaster after disaster has rocked former cellist Braden Healey’s world: first the loss of his family and use of his hands, and now his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident. Braden takes this time to try and reconnect with his struggling daughter Allie, but he can’t help feeling like his family has been cursed. Ophelia MacPhee, the granddaughter of a strange old man who sold Braden a “one-of-a-kind” cello, may have some answers. Now that Braden can’t play music anymore, however, Allie and Ophelia must help him in figuring out just how the old man’s cello and Braden’s family are connected — before another tragedy strikes.
10. Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon (narrated by Lauren Ezzo & Shaun Taylor-Corbett)
Reeling from the unexpected loss of her husband, 20-year-old Naomi May decides a journey is just what she needs, and accompanies her family on a wagon out West. On the grueling trip, she and half-Pawnee frontiersman John Lowry fall for each other — but love on the Oregon Trail just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. As conflict after conflict force Naomi and John to make impossible choices and sacrifices, the strain threatens to tear the two apart. Will their bond persevere? Or was their complicated relationship doomed from the start?
11. The Future of Feeling by Kaitlin U. Phillips (narrated by Kaitlin U. Phillips)
Combining extensive research and interviews with personal anecdotes, Kaitlin Phillips tracks how social media, online communication, and the Internet as a whole are affecting our psyches and how social interactions are shifting. Deep dive into how our ways of living are being reprogrammed by the technology we use every day — and what it might mean for the future.
12. TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson (narrated by Chris Anderson, Tom Rielly, & Kelly Stoetzel)
Chris Anderson has worked full-time on organizing and curating TED conferences since 2001, and now he’s bringing you all his inside tips and tricks to public speaking. For TED fanatics and casual readers of the best nonfiction books alike, anyone can take away something new on how to communicate more effectively with a healthy dose of fun anecdotes over the years of TED talks.
13. You Have the Right to Remain Innocent by James Duane (narrated by James Duane)
Law professor James Duane became an internet sensation after a 2008 lecture on why you should never answer questions from the police. He’s decided to compile additional notes and Supreme Court examples to reinforce his lessons. A sobering but necessary handbook for any concerned citizen on how to avoid having your words used against you in court.
14. Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir by Cinelle Barnes (narrated by Cinelle Barnes)
As a toddler, Cinelle Barnes moved into an opulent Philippines estate, Mansion Royale, with her social climber mother and affluent entrepreneurial father. It was everything a young girl could want — until a monsoon hits, her father vanishes, and her mother’s abusive lover fills her father’s place. As her childhood fantasies fade and the now dilapidated mansion and its occupants threaten to swallow her whole, Barnes traces her tale of survival and how to persevere when family can’t be relied upon.
15. That Wild Country by Mark Kenyon (narrated by Mark Kenyon)
The United States has the largest public-land trust in the world. Outdoorsman Mark Kenyon visits many of the iconic landmarks around America while using them as points of entry to talk about land history and the ongoing controversies around conservation, nature, and resources — and what the future might bring for the 28% of U.S. soil that qualifies as “public land”.
Suspense & Drama
16. The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia (narrated by Xe Sands & Angelo Di Loreto)
An abandoned child, disfigured and covered in bees. Branded a child of the devil in the small Mexican town of Linares. Taken in by Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who care for him like they would one of their own and name him Simonopio, from the Hebrew “Simon” — “one who listens.” Simonopio truly is one who listens, able to foresee the dangers and blessings of the future when he closes his eyes. With this mysterious gift at hand, he attempts to protect his surrogate parents, and might just end up being the savior of the very town that turned its back on him as revolution and disease descend on Mexico.
17. The Master's Apprentice: A Retelling of the Faust Legend by Oliver Pötzsch (narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner)
In 1494, born under an auspicious alignment of the stars, Johann Georg Gerlach is a young man with an undying thirst for knowledge. However, after children in his town begin to go missing and his lover in a trauma-induced stupor after “seeing the devil,” his voracious appetite for books and studying of the sky increasingly makes him the subject of suspected witchcraft. Eventually exiled from his hometown, Johann’s sojourn leads him to the ideal mentor in the mysterious arcane practitioner Tonio del Moravia. But as the stars are set to align again, Johann can’t shake a creeping feeling of dread and a hunch that his hometown may be Moravia’s next target in this acclaimed suspense book.
18. Paper Wife: A Novel by Laila Ibrahim (narrated by Nancy Wu)
Experience 1920s America through the eyes of Mei Ling, a poor woman from Southern China with an arranged marriage to a wealthy merchant in California. Forced to pretend to be his first wife to immigrate, Mei Ling and orphan girl Siew befriend one another on the fraught journey to San Francisco. But when the unlikely duo finally arrive on American soil, everything is not as it seems, forcing Mei Ling and Siew to make harsh choices in the face of deceit.
19. Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani (narrated by Karen Peakes)
The poor health of her father forces Indian-American photographer Sonya home, where she reunites with her sisters Trisha, who has built herself an idyllic suburban life, and Marin, who has shaped herself into a successful career professional. After all her time spent avoiding emotional ties and commitment, she learns that Trisha and Marin’s facades of normalcy and success are also coping mechanisms, something the three of them developed to survive the vicious abuse of their father — who was himself subjected to unrelenting racism. As their father’s condition worsens, the three sisters must grapple with how to interact with one another and how to deal with their father’s legacy while he still lives.
20. A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang (narrated by Saskia Maarleveld)
In WWI-era New York City, affluent socialite Allene sees friend after friend drop dead from the Spanish Flu. But she suspects there is more than meets the eye to some of these deaths as cryptic notes and suspicious circumstances are revealed. Allene recruits her old friends Jasper and Birdie to try and investigate, but as the flu continues its rampage and new truths come to light, the trio begin to start questioning their allegiance to each other — and it seems the killer is right on their tail.
How to hunt down even more audiobooks on Kindle Unlimited
If you want to peruse the Kindle Unlimited audiobook catalog on your own, we highly recommend using this link to Books with Narration in Kindle Unlimited, which will limit your search results to — you guessed it! — audiobooks that are accessible through a Kindle Unlimited subscription. You should see the following screen:
You can refine your searches further with a few secondary filters like publication date, reviewer ratings, and genres. Feel free to experiment and dig around — if the search itself is part of the fun for you, it might be worth it to look for diamonds in the rough 💎
Which audiobooks are free with Kindle Unlimited?
To check if a Kindle Unlimited book has an Audible companion available, look for a pair of orange headphones next to the ebook listing. It should look like this:
To determine whether that Audible accompaniment is free, look for the “Read and listen for free” button next to any Kindle Unlimited title. It should look like this:
Kindle Unlimited ebooks that have an accompanying Audible narration that isn’t free will only say “Read for Free” (you will, however, be able to purchase these audiobooks at a discount if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription).
Remember, Kindle Unlimited is not the same as Audible
Of course, keep in mind that a Kindle Unlimited subscription is not the same as a Audible subscription. Sure, Kindle Unlimited and Audible both fall under the Amazon umbrella. But Audible audiobooks are only available for a select number of KU books where the 'narration' has been made accessible to KU subscribers. If you want access to the hundreds of thousands of audiobooks on Audible (and the hottest new books you've been hearing about), you’ll need to pony up for a separate Audible subscription.
As a reminder, here's what you do get with a Kindle Unlimited subscription:
- 2000+ ebooks on Kindle Unlimited with free Audible audio versions; and
- The ability to read or listen to as many of these ebooks as you want to every month (with a 10 item limit “check out” at any given time).
Kindle Unlimited audiobooks can be a bit tricky to navigate, but we hope this guide helps you find your next roadtrip marathon listen or casual relaxation audiobook!