I love to read but run into what is undoubtedly a common problem, time. I have always filled a great deal of my free time reading but by the end of the workday I am also ready to rest my eyes. Audiobooks, podcasts and another wonderful discovery, iTunes University, have all been a godsend because I can listen to them anywhere. I find that I am consuming and retaining more by listening than I ever did looking at the page.
The Web service Audible is devoted to not only selling but also producing a massive library of audiobooks. The titles are playable on a wide range of devices including computers, iPods, iPhones, blackberrys, cell phones, CD’s and GPS devices making books widely available on the go!
There are over 75,000 titles available in every book genre. Also available are magazines, newspapers, podcasts and exclusive content produced for the service. A collection of talented readers make the quality of content produced directly by Audible itself amazing and resulting in many of the books sounding more like plays than books.
Note: Audible was purchased in 2008 by Amazon.com.
Many libraries, including my own Monroe County library system, offers audiobooks as free downloads. You basically “borrow” the books for a specific period of time just as you would anything else from the library, after which the content expires and is not playable. While this is a great way to download free content, the selections are usually more limited than you can find on Audible or iTunes. Also the books are heavily locked down with Digital Rights Management and because Windows Media Player plays well with DRM, much of the content has to go through that program first. This can sometimes make it difficult to actually get on a device like the iPod or to play well with a MAC or something new that is not readily supported.
Still I would recommend you visit your library’s Web page to see what is available.
Another amazing source of free educational content, both audio and visual, is iTunes University. The content here is lecture and course based. The appeal is that you can take a course from a college like Stanford or MIT for free, from home! A lover of technology, media and history, I have found a great deal of content on these subjects on iTunes U.
Currently I am “taking” a course on iPhone/iPad OS development taught through Stanford University that comes complete with downloadable course material. It is amazing the level of detail and insight you can gain on a subject, all for free.
The best part about all of this content is that you can easily take it with you to fill the free moments of your day. I listen while driving to work, on my lunch hour, before bed and most important of all while cleaning my house or mowing my lawn. Audiobooks take the chore out of reading and it also helps pass the time when doing real chores.