Apple offers free audiobooks narrated by celebrities

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Apple Books free audiobooks
‘Great First Listens’ get you started with Apple Books.
Photo: Apple

Apple is offering a bunch of free audiobooks narrated by celebrities, including Kate Beckinsale and Kelsey Grammer.

The giveaway is an effort to promote Apple Books, which saw a big overhaul with iOS 12 — but audiobook fans will probably feel Apple could have done better.

Apple is offering six free titles altogether, all of which are public domain works that you could obtain for free from other sources. What makes Apple’s offerings a little more exclusive is the “wonderful celebrity narrators.”

Apple Books brings in familiar voices

These are the audiobooks on offer:

  • Pride and Prejudice — narrated by Kate Beckinsale
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — narrated by Tituss Burgess
  • The Secret Garden — narrated by Karen Gillan
  • The Time Machine — narrated by Kelsey Grammer
  • Frankenstein — narrated by Aaron Mahnke
  • Winnie the Pooh — narrated by Disney Book Group

Apple will be hoping that the titles can lure iPhone, iPad, and Mac users into trying Apple Books, which is stepping up its fight against the likes of Audible. Formerly known as iBooks, the platform saw a big redesign and a new store with iOS 12 this fall.

Apple has also shaken up its Books leadership team, now led by Kashif Zafar, a former Audible senior vice president. It is yet to offer the subscription service that makes Audible so popular, however.

Apple could have done better

The giveaway is a nice gesture from Apple, and the titles on offer are certainly worth a listen if you’ve never enjoyed them before. But it seems Apple could have done a better job of promoting Books by pushing the boat out a little further.

Offering audiobooks that aren’t available for free elsewhere would have been a great start. Giving users the opportunity to choose a free title or two for themselves would have been even better. It is Christmas, after all.