Friday, December 28, 2007

Audiobook CDs on your iPod

Hooray! Santa filled your stocking with a shiny new iPod! Time to play with your new toy...

Are you a Windows user who wants to add your audiobooks on CD to your iPod? Do you download free MP3 audiobooks from public domain websites such as LibriVox? Try these tricks for ripping the CDs so that they will be recognized as a single audiobook that will remember your place with a bookmark.

iLounge has a great introduction called The Complete Guide to iPod Audiobooks - from purchasing from online vendors to adding your own CDs. Includes a link to their spoken word discussion forum.

Michael Alderete's Aldoblog has a great How to Import Audio CD audiobooks into iTunes post showing step-by-step how-to directions.

Here's a VERY detailed method from Stan Brown on Converting CDs to iTunes Audiobooks.

You can purchase an excellent software product called MarkAble for $15.

Apple has a download for Mac users called Audiobook Builder.

And while you're at it - take a look at Openculture's 10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget

Plus, check out the Free Downloads from iTunes web site for no-cost weekly features from iTunes - often includes audiobooks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Digital Rights & the Audiobook

Digital Rights Management. Downloaded audiobooks from the public library or web-based vendor can find listeners hobbled by piracy protection. Stephen Downes has an interesting post in his Half an Hour blog on Economics in a DRM-Free World (thanks to Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog for the link).

But the tide is turning. Read about the first major online distribution of audiobooks without copy protection in this NY Times article on DRM-free audiobooks at EMusic. Major publishers are testing this low-cost MP3 method of distributing audiobooks. Want to find out more? Visit EMusic's audiobook site to see what they are offering. Soon, Amazon followed with their MP3 website, which carries audiobooks - but clearly is slanted towards music. Just try to easily search for audiobooks on the site! But Amazon's purchase of Brilliance Audio clearly shows the online behemoth's desire to expand its reach into the audiobook world. Read more in this Publishers Weekly article.

Some writers are bypassing the print medium entirely, Authors who serialize their works for free on the Podiobooks website follow many of the ideas in Downes' post, in a digital route that reminds me of how Charles Dickens' novels were first available in popular magazines (the blogs of the 18o0s!).

The issue of fair compensation for authors when their works are distributed digitally is most certainly important. Publishers are to be commended as they seek new methods to "print" works digitally, while ensuring an author's livelihood. Audiobooks are yet another entertainment medium in the intellectual property proving ground. It will interesting to see how things stand in 2009!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Listening to All!

I received this holiday greeting from Recorded Book's Plugged-in to Reading. I love this audiobook snowman! So I am passing the holiday wishes along to you!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Making of a Star Wars Audiobook

Columnist finds gold in Pullman's trilogy by toggling

I found this article written by busy mom & Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Catherine Mallette to be a refreshing take on the Pullman Golden Compass controversy. I especially liked reading her description of how she "toggled back and forth from real books (at night) to audio books (on the trips to Target and to work)" - except for that "real book" remark. I think that I will firmly embrace the term "toggle" for how busy literature-lovers consume books in any means available!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Zits" on Audiobooks

Sunday's "Zits" featured poor Dad trying an audiobook in his car - I found it here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

75 Years of Talking Books

Maya Angelou reads "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" for the Talking Book service in 1970. Listen to a clip.

Celebrity readers are not a new reflection of the booming popularity of today's audiobooks. Fun fact: In 1937 Gregory Peck auditioned as a Talking Book narrator. A report said "Damn nice fellow. Pretty good reader. Might try out when we get some books." The American Foundation for the Blind has an interesting online exhibit of 75 years of Talking Book services for the blind. The key role of Talking Books in the history of audiobooks can be explored here:

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, through the Library of Congress, administers the distribution of Talking Books for the vision impaired & those with learning disabilities. Every school intervention specialist & parent should be informed about the services provided at no cost to identified children. Find out more here:

Audiobooks are great for everyone, but the role of Talking Books in the lives of the blind & handicapped deserves greater recognition. How about including audiobooks in a local "Read-a-thon" and donate to the AFB?

Monday, December 10, 2007

From Audiobook to Film - Brendan Fraser & Inkheart

I find it very fitting that Brendan Fraser stars in the soon-to-be-released film of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (more here). He did the wonderful audiobook of Inkspell, the sequel to Inkheart - here's an audio clip.

Fraser’s audiobook narration of Funke’s Dragon Rider is also a personal favorite of mine – listen to a clip.

Fascinating to learn that Funke wrote Inkheart’s character Mortimer Folchart with Fraser in mind. Here’s a photo of the two together.
Too bad Lynn Redgrave isn't in the Inkheart movie - she did the outstanding Inkheart audiobook - listen here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Headphone Heaven

More holiday gifts for the audiobook addict! Here are three super buys on top-rated headphones from Amazon. Treat yourself or get a stocking stuffer. Or be like me and buy a pair & a spare!

Panasonic RP-HC500 Noise-Canceling Headphones: details from Amazon

JBL Reference 220 Headphone: details from Amazon

Sennheiser CX300-B: details from Amazon

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Grammy audiobook nominees announced

But don't get too excited. Here's a fun fact: There is no requirement that Grammy judges actually LISTEN to the nominated titles. And there are 109 Grammy categories. So are judges possibly voting for popularity or star-power narrator? Hmm...

Here are the spoken work nominees (from

Best Spoken Word Album For Children
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows / Jim Dale / Listening Library
Making The Heart Whole Again: Stories For A Wounded World / Milbre Burch / Kind Crone Productions
The One And Only Shrek /Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci / Audio Renaissance
Who's Got Game? The Ant Or The Grasshopper? The Lion Or The Mouse? Poppy Or The Snake? / Toni Morrison / Simon & Schuster Audio
Wickety Whack - Brer Rabbit Is Back / Diane Ferlatte / Diane Ferlatte

Best Spoken Word Album (for adults)
The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream / Barack Obama / Random House Audio
Celebrations / Maya Angelou / Random House Audio
Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change The World / Bill Clinton / Random House Audio
Sunday Mornings In Plains: Bringing Peace To A Changing World / Jimmy Carter / Simon & Schuster Audio
Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself / Alan Alda / Random House Audio

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Kindle & Audiobooks

Here's a post from Michael Alderete’s Weblog on Amazon's Kindle and audiobooks. A VERY expensive MP3 player!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Audiobook accessories

Wow! The perfect gift ideas for the audiobook lover in your life...
An audiobook chair from Lands End
Great earmuffs from Herrington
And to assuage the withdrawal of those who are addicted to Jim Dale's Harry Potter audiobooks... Take the Harry Potter Myers-Briggs Personality Quiz!

Monday, December 3, 2007

What??? No Audiobook Geek?

Clearly, there needs to be an addition to this list:

But I do fit the Con Geek profile occasionally - complete with bags o' swag!

Two books a week at age 102

Audiobooks from National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Talking Book Library allow 102-year-old Roy Nelson enjoy literature. Great story:

The Library of Congress honors audiobook readers who are over the age of 100 with membership in the Ten Squared Club - and there are over 1,600 members! I hope I get my club gold pin someday...

Inside the audiobook studio

Awesome video that shows a quick peek inside the glass booth during the recording of "The Boy with Two Belly Buttons."

Test your audio skills!

No, it's not an audiobook, but this site will test the listening skills of Baby Boomers:

I must say that I did best on the cartoon themes. Enjoy!

Teen audiobooks: adults love them, too

Nice post today by Ricklibrarian. I love this quote:

I like some teen audiobooks because they have engaging characters and their stories move along at a quick pace. They often have irreverent viewpoints, satirizing adults who are bound by the conventions of the adult world. They also remind me how horrible and wonderful that it is to be young.

Read what he says about The Canning Season: