The Quest for Audio Books Made Easy
Sometimes all I want to do is shut my laptop, silence my smart
phone, power off my iPod and read a good book. But then there are times when I
need those gadgets to help me get through a good audio book so I can busy my
eyes and hands on others things like the long car trip to Kansas (Oklahoma can
be a killer) or while I'm completing the odious task of washing dishes. These
are great times to put on an audio book. Luckily, our audio book options
You can, of course, being by browsing the library's collection
and picking up a book on CD or checking out this list of Audie Award winners.
I've taken to listening to Oscar Casares' novel Amigoland on CD while I'm getting ready in the morning, eating a
meal or cleaning up.
However, as much as I hate to admit it, the library isn't
the only place to find great audio books. Below I've listed a few other places
you might consider before that next long road trip.
offers free, downloadable audio versions of books in the public domain (books with expired
copyrights). Some of these have been recorded by groups of volunteers but most
of them have been digitized by The
Gutenberg Project and recorded by Libriovox
. The site itself makes browsing a visual treat. It offers pictures of the
cover, a short description of the book, a preview of the audio book, two
options for downloading, recommendations for similar audio books, and reviews
of the specific recording of the book. I especially like that the reviews take
the reader into account. Sometimes a book can be phenomenally written and then
read by a dud. Bummer. Check out the page for The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Another Libriovox-powered site, Librophile resembles Books Should Be Free is
many ways and includes many of the same titles. One exception is that Librophile
allows users to listen to the book right from your browser, a handy little
feature. However, I find the site to be less appealing visually and the search
feature felt clunky to me. In addition to the public domain content, Librophile
also sells audio versions of popular books. Unfortunately, the cost reflects
publishing costs plus the cost of a professional reader. Hence, an audio-only
copy of Stephen King's Under the Dome would
cost you $52.50. Yowza.
If you're more interested in educational material you might
consider skipping over these earlier options and trying LearnOutLoud.com. They
exclusively provide copyrighted materials which means users must be charged for
downloads. Based on a quick glance at the site, it looks like the cost can be
as low as $5 and $20. The site doesn't have the same visual appeal as Books
Should Be Free but it is also searchable and has books broken down into
categories. For more non-fiction books, you might also consider The National Academies Press