Any modern laptop, tablet or smartphone will be able to play an audiobook.
A big factor in the pleasure of listening to an audiobook is the quality of the reading. You may find you develop a preference for a certain reader, an actor say, so remember his/her name.
Availability: the elephant in the living room is Audible.com. Like Kindle, it is owned by Amazon, and is profit driven. However, there are many other sites that offer free audiobooks to either own or borrow.
Audiobooks are available from:
- Audible.com Usually a subscription is needed, but during the covid crisis: The audiobook platform has stated that during the Covid crisis, for as long as schools are closed, anyone can listen to a vast selection of its titles. This means books read by Westworld’s Thandie Newton and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens are available to stream at no cost at all.
Simply visit stories.audible.com from any web browser to get started. No log-ins, credit card or passwords needed. But note that streaming means it is only available while you are online. You can’t download these books.
- Librivox provides “Free Public Domain Audiobooks”. They provide books in title.zip, i.e. compressed, format – which need decompressed* (unzipped) before they can be read. Unzipping reveals a number of .mp3 files, typically one per chapter. Usually you can just click on an .mp3 file to play it.
- Project Gutenberg has a selection of audiobooks for download. There are two categories: human-read books and computer-read books. Several audio formats are offered. Select .mp3 format as it is compatible with almost all devices.
- Open Library also has a selection or audiobooks. You need to be a member to use the library, but joining is free and can be done online.
- Haringey Library has a selection of audiobooks available for loan. To borrow an audiobook, the procedure is to use LIbby – same as for an ebook. See previous section for details.
Like ebooks, this is not an all-encompassing collection of resources. Searching the web will bring up many more sites offering audiobooks, free and for a price. But this is a good starting place.
*The idea behind Zip files is that they save storage space by compressing files. They are often used to speed the sending of long files. Fortunately, most modern hardware will recognise a Zip file and know what to do with it.