Forums

I have started listening to audio books as well as reading traditional books. I found that with my busy schedule (working full time, taking college courses part time, and having a young family) that I don’t have enough time to read more than my school textbooks and one other book at a time. However, my desire for more information and understanding has left me looking for extra time to read. I decided that my commute, which is 35 minutes, would be a great time to listen to audio books. I also discovered that I do well as an auditory learner.

Please share your experiences and opinions on audio books.

Regards,
- Ben

terrih's picture

I LOVE audiobooks! You could knock out quite a bit in a 35-min. commute.

I don't love that they're so expensive, but I've found enough free ones to keep me busy a while.

Terri

brandall's picture

Free audiobooks? Where did you find them? Are there any great titles available for free?

- Ben

terrih's picture

Generally it's classics that are available for free, not new books.

There's www.LearnOutLoud.com

Also try your public library's website... YMMV.

Terri

TomW's picture

Do PodCasts count? ;-)

I've listened to several audio books that way and find them really useful

The only problem I have with listening on the commute is that I often want to make a note or try to follow up on something and I forget it later on.

ccleveland's picture

Because of my very long commute, I am a big fan of audio books, although my listening has fallen off lately as I've discovered podcasting.

My local library has a huge selection of audio books, primarily fiction on tapes and CDs. They also have the ability to borrow from other libraries, if I'm looking for something specific. And the couple of times I couldn't find a specific audio book that way, I've purchased them and then donated them back to the library.

Listening to fiction helped me expand my cultural reading from my normal sci-fi brain-candy reading. I especially enjoyed getting into some of the classics that I either have never read or only [u]had[/u] to read for school. They also had a lot of good non-fiction. I particularly remember an interesting biography about George Washington...lots of discussion about [u]his[/u] leadership style! (They didn't have M-T back then!) I also got some practice with my Spanish; however, one failure was trying to start a new language. Trying to start learning Mandarin while driving does not work.

On my someday/maybe list, I would like to look at some of the Internet sites that provide "books on podcast" for a subscription. One of these, a former professor recommended, gives executive summaries of business books coming out. I'll post the URL later as I don't have it with me.

Because there's so much great free content, I'm consuming that first and very selectively pick those things that I pay for.

CC

ccleveland's picture

[quote="tomwaltz"]The only problem I have with listening on the commute is that I often want to make a note or try to follow up on something and I forget it later on.[/quote]

Tom: The way that has worked for me is using my cell phone to either record a memo, leave a voicmail to myself, or, recently, use jott.com to transcribe an email to myself. It's been very effective for those quick ideas of steps I want to take as a result of something I've heard in a podcast, on the radio, or just popped into my head.

CC

brandall's picture

Thank you all for your input. Living in Vermont, many of the local libraries are small and do not have audio books. I am willing to spend the money as long as I get good value for my investment. So far, Mike and Marks book recommendations have been amazing!

I agree with your comments about taking notes being a challenge while driving. I have found that I actually do not need to take notes when I hear audio nearly as much as when I read printed text. I am assuming this means I am an auditory learner?!

- Ben

cwatine's picture

I do listen to audio book. But it is different than reading for me.

When I really love the book, I then buy the paper format because it is easier for me to pick up the main ideas and translate them ...

jeffh's picture

I listen to quite a few audiobooks. They really are not more expensive than regular books. I buy them from Audible.com for about $10 each.

JoeFuture's picture

I'm very lucky in that my company has a library of audio books and a license agreement with various audio book vendors. Right now, I'm working through "Never Eat Alone", and in my queue are "Tough Management" and "The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team".

The one problem I find with audio books is that if I'm driving, it's a little to easy to focus on the road and zone in and out of the book :).

ehyde111's picture

I'm a big fan of audiobooks. After exhausting the local library, I have turned to ebay. With a little patience, I can find most anything that I want. After I'm finished, I just turn around and sell them back. Typically I get 50-75% of what I paid initially.

Audible has not been to helpful tome. They seem to have many abridged versions. When I listen to them, I wonder what I was missing.

ccleveland's picture

I just tried Audible. It looks like it could grow to be a good solution and perhaps I'll try them again in the future.

I had one big problem: they do not support any of the media players I own. As such, I had to burn to CD the first audio book I got--28 CDs worth. Be sure to check for the exact model on the supported list before signing up. The brand list isn't good enough. Just because they support iRiver, doesn't mean they support all iRivers. :( Maybe I should go mainstream and get an iPod or even an iPhone!

As far as the library, the books that I wanted to listen to were all there unabridged. The one I downloaded, "The World Is Flat" was there in several versions including the full unabridged latest edition.

CC

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="JoeFuture"]The one problem I find with audio books is that if I'm driving, it's a little to easy to focus on the road and zone in and out of the book :).[/quote]

I'm not a driver myself (due to a disability) but would have thought that focusing on the road whilst driving would be considered a good thing! :)

Have you looked into the possibility of doing part or all of your commute by public transport (bus, train, metro &c)? that way you can concentrate on your audio book and take notes in safety.

I have a 30-45 minute (depending on traffic conditions and which office I'm going to) commute each day by bus that I use to catch up on my reading and the news. I tend to read traditional books or a newspaper/magazine but sometimes listen to podcasts or audio books.

Stephen

TomW's picture

[quote="ccleveland"]I had one big problem: they do not support any of the media players I own. As such, I had to burn to CD the first audio book I got--28 CDs worth. [/quote]

Is my math right... a 28-hour audiobook?

ehyde111's picture

The unabridged version of [i]The World Is Flat[/i] was 20 CDs.

jhack's picture

Which version (1.0, 2.0, or 3.0?)

You should only read or listen to 3.0 (or later).

John

TomW's picture

[quote="jhack"]Which version (1.0, 2.0, or 3.0?)

You should only read or listen to 3.0 (or later).[/quote]

I agree with the concept that the newer version is more up to date.... and I also agree with Mark that "should" is a bit of a dangerous word.

skwanch's picture

[quote]Is my math right... a 28-hour audiobook?[/quote]

Technically, no; a CD is 70min, so 28CDs = 32.66hrs

sorry. High C. (and I don't mean the nasty fruity drink)

ccleveland's picture

Run time of v3.0 of the unabridged version per Audible website is 27 hrs, 21 minutes.

Not all the CDs are totally filled, but Audible's software (and the NERO burner linked to it) took 28 CDs to get the whole book.

And yes, definitely make sure you get the v3.0 version. If you've listentened to or read an earlier version, there is an "update" to the book to just get the new parts.

CC

DanStratton's picture

[quote="TomW"]Is my math right... a 28-hour audiobook?[/quote]

Oh yes, I have listened to 38 hour books. Remember, the thicker the book, the longer it takes to read it. It can be shortened by abridging, but I don't like the idea of losing content at someone else's decision. I always go unabridged.

nancys's picture

Check out your local public library to see if they have downloadable audio books. My library has this great service and I am able to download the audio version of huge collection of books. I can literally check out a virtual book from home, listen to it on an MP3 player or from the computer and I don't have to worry about checking it in...it does it automatically. If you need to recheck it you can online. The only downside is that the Ipod isn't compatible so it does require another small device. It is a great service and many mid to large public library's have this service.

BusinessStudent's picture

[quote="brandall"]... I don’t have enough time to read....discovered that I do well as an auditory learner. Please share your experiences and opinions on audio books.
[/quote]

I, too, don't have enough time to read and am an auditory learner. I have found that Audible.com has a very good selection of books (most, but not all of the books I am interested in). I have been an Audible member for nearly three years and am very happy. However, audiobooks aren't enough for me. I listen to a few podcasts which cuts down on my my audiobook listening time. As an Audible member I can get the daily New York Times or Wall Street Journal audio summary. I listen to the daily WSJ podcast each morning on my way to the office.

From a hardware / software perspective Itunes and a Nano work best for me. I have tried other hardware / software combos without as much success. I'd be interested in hearing other's opinions about hardware / software pairings that work well for audiobooks and podcasts.

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="ccleveland"]I just tried Audible. It looks like it could grow to be a good solution and perhaps I'll try them again in the future.[/quote]

Near my home there is an excellent walking/biking path. I have made MT podcasts and audio books part of the exercise routine. Long walks are a great way to work through audio books and podcasts...all while keeping fit.

tlhausmann

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="ehyde111"]The unabridged version of [i]The World Is Flat[/i] was 20 CDs.[/quote]

That is one that I purchased on-line and downloaded to my iPod. I worked through that book while doing yard work. We have almost 2 acres to mow and a bit of landscaping too.

So working through audiobooks is what I do when doing yard work.

tlhausmann

PattiBarcroft's picture

In Denver there is a local audio book company that has a rental membership program. You can go to the local store and check out the audio books or they also have an online rental store. You can use the web, much like NetFlix, to have them send you the books through the mail. The web site is [url]http://www.comehearbooks.com[/url].
Patti

ktnbs's picture

Audio books are my forte of late. I can listen more frequently with more flexibly than my normal, crack the book open mode. And, though I love books, they take up space on my bookshelf which is reserved for "keepers" and I end up giving them to the library anyway. With the audio books, one click and I can revisit them.

I used to get most of my books off Itunes but have since found better values through other sources such as audible.com.

Truly, the quality of the narrator or reader is important to me as they can greatly enhance both my enjoyment and what I get out of the book.

Podcasts are wonderfull, I have large portfolio that I regularly listen to over wide variety of topics....current events, university lectures, lifestyles, fitness, travel. Always looking for new ones too.

ramiska's picture

I love audiobooks. Unfortunately, not all the books I want have an audio version. The ones read by the author are best because you don't have to worry about someone else's interpretation in voice inflection, etc.

All people learn differently. I learn better from the spoken word. I actually get through an audiobook quicker than reading the paper version.

I went to every class and rarely read the professor's book. Others took the other path. We met the same results.

I'm not surprized that many people on this forum have expressed their love of audiobooks. We got here through podcasting!

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="ramiska"]I actually get through an audiobook quicker than reading the paper version. [/quote]

Yeah. Instead of writing in the margins of books...when listening to an audio book I keep a voice recorder in my pocket and jot down the notes later. Rare--but I have done it.

ramiska's picture

What do you say when you have completed an audiobook? Do you say you "read" it? Did you listen to the book?

I guess I answered my opinion in the question. I say I completed the book.

tcomeau's picture

I rarely listen to audiobooks, mostly because I read much faster than I listen. (I don't usually read while I'm driving. :shock: )

I have found the Portable Professor series ( [url]http://tinyurl.com/ytwtqo[/url] ) very interesting. I just finished "Sailing to the Edge of the World: Journeys of the Great Explorers." They are billed as "University-level lectures by renowned university and college professors." Certainly the lecturers have impeccable credentials, and the content feels like a good High School AP course or a very basic undergrad course.

The series is like a really-well-done podcast, similar in content level to what you get from iTunes U at Stanford or Duke, but much better organized and edited. There are 12-14 half-hour lectures in each series, which is nice for my 31 minute commute.

I import these and reorganize them into audiobooks, and listen to them while I'm doing mindless things, like laundry or driving. I recommend them to people who are interested in general knowledge -- the kind of stuff you get in a liberal arts education.

tc>

juliahhavener's picture

Thanks, Tom! I'll have to check those out - they look interesting...which is a primary consideration for me when searching for listening material.

AManagerTool's picture

I LOVE audiobooks. My iPod is chock full of them. I also buy and read at least 4 regular books every month. I find I can fit 6 titles in a month with audiobooks. Granted, I learn more when reading but I will usually circle around for the book if the audiobook is good.

bteachman's picture

I travel once a week to to our remote sites. I have up to six hours of travel in one day. Audio books are a great way to pass the time on these longer trips. I have the problem also that they read to slow on some audio books, if you buy them through iTunes and you have an iPod you can turn up the speed. When i travel i tend to be taking notes and creating task lists, so i leave them at the slower speed.

kaspar's picture

Do you agree that an audiobook read by the author him/herself is of higher value than read by a deep whiskey trained barriton voice ?

Kaspar Stevens

AManagerTool's picture

I don't believe that it matters at all.

HMac's picture

[quote="kaspar"]Please listen to the midwestern voice of Jack Welch in his Audio book Winning, and you might ...[/quote]

Jack's first book ("Straight From the Gut") was narrated by Mike Barnacle, whose Boston accent comes pretty damn close to Jack's own. It was a very good choice.

I read "Winning" and didn't listen to it, so I'm not aware of who narrated it.

-Hugh

aniinl's picture

I prefer audio books (only if they are read in a voice that doesn't make me fall asleep) since I get through them faster than when I read a book.
Also I found it's the only thing that keeps me on a treadmill in the gym :) I guess I'm trying to concentrate so much on the content that I forget I'm running...
The only thing is that you can't underline the important bits to go back to them whenever you like...

Anja

AManagerTool's picture

[quote="HMac"][quote="kaspar"]Please listen to the midwestern voice of Jack Welch in his Audio book Winning, and you might ...[/quote]

Jack's first book ("Straight From the Gut") was narrated by Mike Barnacle, whose Boston accent comes pretty damn close to Jack's own. It was a very good choice.

I read "Winning" and didn't listen to it, so I'm not aware of who narrated it.

-Hugh[/quote]

Jack did. His voice is as gravelly and abrasive as his persona seems to be portrayed by the media and his own substantial PR machine. I liked it! Although, I wouldn't have cared less if it was narrated by James Earl Jones or Gilbert Gottfried. The content is what mattered.

greencat's picture

I use audiobooks or podcast while walking to work or out running.

I often use them as a form of pre-reading (although I don't know why I'm always surprised when the book is exactly the same as the audio version :lol: ).

kaspar's picture

being a visual person, I specially like to get the illustrations with the audio-book... Don't know if this is possible :?:

terrih's picture

[quote="kaspar"]being a visual person, I specially like to get the illustrations with the audio-book... Don't know if this is possible :?:[/quote]

It's possible, just depends on the producer whether they include them or not, and of course if you have a device that allows viewing such as an iPod with a screen.

Ignatz's picture

I'm also a big fan of audio books. I can listen while I'm driving or doing housework (especially housework; I do more if I'm not bored, which my wife loves.) A good source for material is [url]www.librivox.org[/url]. It's an open-source project that creates audio versions of public domain works. Since it's volunteer driven, the reading can be a bit spotty from file to file, but there's a huge amount of material there, enough to keep you busy for an entire year. There's material in English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese and Japanese, and some short files in medieval Latin and Anglo-Saxon. You may not get much management-related material, but there's something there for everyone. Best of all, the recordings themselves are public domain. No restrictions on use whatsoever.

Vince