My life is pretty hectic at the moment, with two preschoolers, and full time study. Reading is one of the things that has been sacrificed, as the only time i get to sit down without interruption seems to be when I am “encouraging the kids to fall asleep”. Since returning to study, I get even less reading done. However, I have gained a commute.
Slowly, I have started to listen to audio books in the car, and it has opened up a new world for me. Although it takes me about a fortnight to get through a book, this is at least as fast as I am reading in real life.
How to find audio books
Audio books are openly available and inexpensive.
- Readings of classic literature is available for free download from Librivox (these can also be downloaded as a podcast into itunes, so you can get the book in manageable installments)
- Local libraries have Books on CD that can be borrowed, and even converted into digital format if you use an MP3 player in your car
- Itunes has new release books for about $10 or $15 each
- Audible offers a subscription service where a yearly fee gives you to download a quota of books each month
- Books on tape and CD are often available at charity shops and garage sales, but choice and quality is limited.
How to convert books to itunes format
If you download a book from Librivox or record one from a CD, then it is not automatically recognized as an audiobook by itunes. If you use an iPod, this means the tracks won’t keep a bookmark and won’t show up in your audiobook folder.
If you have Itunes 8, it is very simple. Simply select the track, hit “get info” (CMD- I on the mac) and select “audiobook” as track type. Make sure the “Remember playback position” check box is ticked as well.
If you have a previous version of iTunes, it is a little more complicated. This method definitely works on Mac, but I haven’t tested it on Windows
- Download the “make bookmarkable” script from Doug’s Applescripts
- Follow the instructions to install it to itunes
- Select the track, right click and choose “create AAC version”
- Select the AAC version and run the applescript (from the applescript menu on the toolbar). It will be converted to audiobook format, and shifted to your Audiobook folder.
- Make sure you check the track info, and if you have multiple tracks, number them correctly. This ensures they will play in order.
- Check “gapless playback” if you find there is a pause between tracks.
I listen to a lot of books in my car now - mainly non fiction and classical. It has created an oasis of self-indulgence in my grinding trip home. What audio books do you love?