audiobook

The Prophecy Con

My favorite audiobook I listened to all last year was The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. I wrote more about it in Recommended: The Palace Job, but the summary is it was fun, funny, and clever, with characters I just loved.

The sequel is out today. The Prophecy Con returns to the same world and characters, and makes it officially a series, “Rogues of the Republic”.

I haven’t listened to it yet, though I did buy and download it about 15 minutes after the audiobook was released. Instead, I started The Palace Job … for the third time. Did I mention I like this book? I’ll listen to The Prophecy Con this weekend, with the first book fresh in my head.

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Audie Audiobook Winners for 2012

by Michael Alderete on 6/8/2012

Just a quick note to congratulate the winners for this year’s Audie awards, the Grammy Awards of the audiobook world. (Yes, I know there is an actual Grammy for audiobooks, but the Audie is the real award to win.)

The 2012 Audie Award Winners at Audible.com

The 2012 Audie winners are all available at Audible.com, for your immediate listening pleasure.

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Free download of Walden by Henry David Thoreau

by Michael Alderete on 4/7/2011

Henry David Thoreau's WaldenFor a limited time, you can download a free audiobook of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden read by Mel Foster. This is the commercial version of the book, which retails for $23-33.

The unabridged audiobook is provided as MP3 files, which you can simply drag into iTunes, and then sync to your iPod or iPhone for listening. You can change their Media Kind to have iTunes treat them as audiobook tracks, or with a little more work, you can convert them to a single audiobook file.

Note: If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an account on Tantor Media’s site, which will sign you up for their newsletter where, among other things, you can learn about future free downloads.

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App Review: Audible Audiobook Player

by Michael Alderete on 11/5/2010 · 11 comments

If you search the App Store for “audiobook” you turn up hundreds of results, most of which are crap. (More on that in a future post.) Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge. Aldo on Audiobooks will only bother to review worthwhile apps.

My favorite source for audiobooks is Audible.com, an online service offering over 85,000 digital downloads of audiobooks and other spoken word content (more here). This summer Audible released the Audible audio player app, dedicated to playing Audible content and interacting with the Audible.com service directly, without requiring the use of a computer or iTunes. The app is free, but requires the use of an Audible.com account.

Audible app

The short version of this review is, if you’re an Audible customer with an iOS device, getting this free app is a no-brainer. It’s intuitive and optimized for audiobooks, it plays in the background just like the built-in iPod app, it adds useful features not in the built-in iPod app, and its design is clean, simple, tasteful. I’ve used it exclusively for audiobooks for the last four months, and it’s a great replacement for the iPod app. I plan to continue using it indefinitely. I still use the iPod app for podcasts and non-Audible audiobooks, and regularly miss Audible app features.

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Free download of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

by Michael Alderete on 10/20/2010

Mary Shelley's FrankensteinFrom now through Halloween, you can download a free audiobook of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein read by Simon Vance. Vance is an extraordinary narrator, winner of many awards, and certainly a Golden Voice. This is a high-quality production.

The unabridged audiobook is provided as MP3 files, which you can simply drag into iTunes, and then sync to your iPod or iPhone for listening. You can change their Media Kind to have iTunes treat them as audiobook tracks, or with a little more work, you can convert them to a single audiobook file.

Note: If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an account on Tantor Media’s site, which will sign you up for their newsletter where, among other things, you can learn about future free downloads.

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App Review: Recorded Books Audiobook Apps

by Michael Alderete on 1/13/2010 · 6 comments

If you search the App Store for “audiobook” you turn up hundreds of results, most of which are crap. (More on that in a future post.) Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge. Aldo on Audiobooks will only bother to review worthwhile apps.

In my review of the Bookmark iPhone app, I noted that for the long tracks of an audiobook, the standard controls of the iPod app, optimized for 3 minute music tracks, can be frustrating. Bookmark is one solution to this issue. Another comes in the form of self-contained audiobook apps from Recorded Books.

Recorded Books audiobook apps

These audiobook apps are found in the App Store section of iTunes, rather than in the Audiobooks section. You are buying not merely the audio portion of the audiobook, but also an app that will play it back. Indeed, you can only play the audiobook from its dedicated app; you cannot use the iPod app, or Bookmark, etc.

These apps are the iPhone equivalent of the Playaway format: player and book baked into a single device. The idea is to make an audiobook as easy to use as a regular book — a single (physical, for the Playaway) object that you pick up and take with you, no other items needed. The self-contained audiobook app makes the experience of buying an audiobook, getting it onto your iPhone, and playing it simple and straightforward. In theory.

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App Review: Bookmark

by Michael Alderete on 12/21/2009 · 12 comments

If you search the App Store for “audiobook” you turn up hundreds of results, most of which are crap. (More on that in a future post.) Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge. Aldo on Audiobooks will only bother to review worthwhile apps.

Bookmark is an alternative audio player dedicated to audiobooks, based on the insight that the iPhone is great for music, but not very well-suited to audiobooks. Bookmark was designed around the central concept that, when listening to a long audiobook, you want different controls for moving around in the much longer tracks, and tools for marking positions in the recording that go beyond just saving where you left off. Bookmark app If you’ve ever listened to a long audiobook track on an iPod, and especially if you’ve ever thought “I want to go back and hear that part again,” you know what this is all about.

Using Bookmark is simple. Start the app, choose a book from the list of titles (Bookmark filters out everything but audiobooks), and press play. In this regard, Bookmark is much like the built-in iPod app. The basics of playback are pretty obvious, with standard controls for play/pause, volume control, and track progress.

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Speeding up and slowing down audiobooks

by Michael Alderete on 2/10/2009 · 12 comments

Once your iPod or iPhone recognizes a track as an audiobook (see FAQ #1 for details), you have the ability to speed up or slow down the playback of the track. Audiobook Speed For people looking to power through a book (say, while driving to your book club), speeding up playback can be useful. For language learning, slowing down the playback can help to hear nuances of pronunciation and emphasis.

But the options provided by the iPod is not that great, just “Slower”, “Normal”, and “Faster”. Not a lot of control, and the speed change isn’t huge, in either direction. (And I find that it adds a nearly imperceptible but irritating clipping to speech). If you want to make an even bigger speed change, you need to turn to third-party tools that can process the tracks, and then sync the processed versions to your iPod or iPhone.

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Another way to import audiobooks from cassettes

January 29, 2009

The New York Times has an article about the Alesis TapeLink, which is a tape deck you can attach to your computer via USB, and use to convert analog cassette tapes to a digital format you can use with iTunes, or any other media player. I haven’t tried it, and at $299 list price, I’m […]

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Another audiobook importing tool for Windows

May 1, 2008

In a recent post I recommended a few tools for importing audiobooks, which work around some of the more tedious aspects of importing audiobooks using iTunes. Last week I came across another interesting tool for Windows users, which might also be useful: Teridon’s Audiobook Helper I have not yet tested it with importing a book, […]

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Deathly Hallows not coming to iTunes Store

August 28, 2007

I’m a bit late to have stumbled across this information, but it would appear that the final novel in the Harry Potter series will not be coming to the iTunes Store: HEARING HARRY You may have the seen the avalanche of press coverage about the new “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” hardcover selling 8.3 […]

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Harry Potter #7 shipping July 21st

February 2, 2007

The end is nigh. Preorder at Amazon.com today!

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