Audiobooks present a great way for all seniors, and especially for those with visual handicaps, to enjoy books by listening to them.
They’ve been around for a long time; you’ll find an interesting history of audiobooks in Wikipedia. The first “talking books program” was established by the American Federation for the Blind and the Library of Congress in 1931. Since then there have been many changes as various technologies evolved. The industry settled on the name “audiobook” to be inclusive of all the different formats.
Today you can download audiobooks to listen on your smartphone or other mobile device. You can stream them over the internet. And you can play them on CD and DVD players. There are lots of options.
The website LibriVox offers an easy way to listen to audiobooks for free. LibriVox includes more than 10,000 audio recordings of books in the public domain, all recorded by volunteers. I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan, so I decided to test LibriVox by listening to stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. There are 67 titles by Doyle in LibriVox. I settled on The Hound of the Baskervilles for my test and found five different recordings. In three of them, the entire book was read by a single reader. In another, chapters were read by different readers. And one was a “dramatic reading” where different readers read the parts of the various characters. I found them all to be excellent and very enjoyable.
With LibriVox you have several ways to listen:
- Download entire books in zip files for later listening.
- Click the “play” button to play in your browser.
- Click the iTunes button to download the audio files into iTunes.
- Subscribe to the RSS feed.
- Download using BitTorrent protocol.
In future posts I’ll cover some other sources for audiobooks, including today’s bestsellers.