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By: Chhavi Sachdev
This week, weâ€™re looking at more spoken word podcasts, but in the form of audio books. I got introduced to audio books on a 600-mile road trip more than a decade ago, before mp3 players, when we had to buy (*gasp*) tapes and cdâ€™s! It was so much more engaging to be inside a story than tuning the radio every half hour. My love affair with audio books was sealed with a kiss though, because I get migraines and I canâ€™t do much when Iâ€™m in the throes of one: I canâ€™t watch tv or read because the light hurts and I get bored with my music. Iâ€™ve now got a tidy set of books to entertain me the next time Iâ€™m stricken.
There are three main places from where you can purchase very good, professionally read books â€“ audible.com, amazon.com and iTunes. These range from $0.95 for a short story to about $20 for a full-length, seven-hour book. If youâ€™re not ready to splurge, there are a number of free audio books out there for the downloading. Yes, you wonâ€™t find Salman Rushdie or Dan Brown in their titles, but â€¦ thereâ€™s plenty of books begging to be explored.
A good place to start is Podiobook.com (search â€œPodiobookâ€ in iTunes or Google). Subscribe and youâ€™ll get serialized chapters as podcast episodes! Their range is vast and they cover genres from humor to sci fi and horror.
Classic titles and lots of kids books are available at www.booksshouldbefree.com. A little light reading, anyone? Theyâ€™ve got Einstein and Freud here, too.
Another one with a limited but solid selection is http://freeclassicaudiobooks.com/ with fare like King Solomonâ€™s Mines, Shakespeareâ€™s sonnets, and Huckleberry Finn â€“ all worth listening to even as a refresher.
The final word on audio books, of course, are the three I mentioned before, where you can purchase nearly any title. Current bestsellers include Barack Obamaâ€™s The Audacity of Hope and The Appeal by John Grisham. I donâ€™t know if I particularly want to hear a Nora Roberts romance â€“ but thereâ€™s plenty more where that came from, as well, online.
Remember, you can find these podcasts in several different ways: by searching topic, title, or author in iTunes or on podcatchers – aggregators like podcastalley.com or odeo.com â€“ or simply by searching through an engine like Google. You can play them back in Google Reader or Netvibes as well while at your computer. The point, though, is to be mobile. So do download them to your phone or mp3 player.
Next week, we look at advertising and marketing podcasts for your listening pleasure on the go. If youâ€™d like to share your favorite sites and discoveries, drop me a line and weâ€™ll publish them here.
Happy listening! And DO try this at home. ☺