Apple releases six celebrity-narrated audiobooks, and they’re all free

If you have yet to dabble in audiobooks and you have an iPhone or iPad, then how about kicking off 2019 with some free offerings from Apple?

Accessible via the recently revamped Apple Books app (formerly iBooks), the stories are all classics and narrated by famous folks such as Kelsey Grammer and Kate Beckinsale.

Here’s the full list:

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett and narrated by actress Karen Gillian
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and narrated by podcaster Aaron Mahnke
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells and narrated by actor Kelsey Grammer
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen and narrated by actress Kate Beckinsale
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum and narrated by comedian Tituss Burgess
Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne, narrated by the Disney Book Group

You can search for the free audiobooks in the Apple Books app, but the easiest way to locate them is to head straight to their own download page via the links above.

Pride and Prejudice is the longest reading at 11 hours and 43 minutes, with Frankenstein the next longest at 8 hours and 11 minutes. The shortest is Winnie the Pooh at just over half an hour, and the next shortest is The Time Machine at 3 hours and 29 minutes. The Secret Garden takes 8 hours in all, while The Wonderful Wizard of Oz runs for 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The release of free audiobooks by Apple reflects an effort by the company to compete more strongly in the format, and comes a couple of months after Apple redesigned Apple Books with the release of iOS 12, the mobile operating system used by its mobile devices. Changes to the Apple Books app include the introduction of an Audiobook tab at the bottom of the display. Tap on it and you’re offered various choices that include limited-time offers on audiobooks, trending titles, and featured collections, among other options.

Interested in audiobooks but don’t have an iDevice? Android users also have access to a range of audiobook players, with Amazon-owned Audible probably the most famous one among them. The best ones offer features such as speed control, silence removal, bookmarks, and sleep timers.

While the players themselves are free, the services that they offer usually operate with different payment structures, so best check each one to see which suits you best.

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