The Kindle supports audio books, and here are a few tips and resources –
Audible & the Kindle Reader
Audible make it really complicated as you have to first register your Kindle – anyways, you can check out the complete audible kindle user guide, or follow my summary –
- Go to: Audible.com’s Software section, and download the version for Windows XP or Windows Vista based on what your computer is running. Edit: I see they just added Mac support – let me know if these steps work on Mac.
- Choose listen on my computer as the primary way you’ll listen to Audible files.
- This’ll bring you to the Audible Manager download.
- Click on the Download button and select ‘Run’ – once the file is downloaded, the installation will start. Note that on firefox you might have to first save the file, and then run it.
- The first screen is the Terms of Service screen. The 2nd screen will have a ‘Select your Device’ type message – something like ‘Select your Audible Ready mobile device form the list’. Amazon Kindle is the first choice in the drop-down.
- Select Amazon Kindle from the list.
- Finish the install.
- Note: If you already have Audible Manager, simply start it, click on Devices > Add new device. You will be asked to connect to the Internet. Click Yes to connect. From the list of devices, select the Amazon Kindle, and click Ok.
- Connect Kindle to your PC via USB.
- Now you can use the Audible Manager to transfer your Audible purchases to the Kindle, or you can manually move audible files to the ‘audible’ directory on your Kindle.
Also Jump to the end of this post to see Commands you can use when reading audio books on the kindle reader.
Librivox is the definitive site for free audiobooks – It takes books in the public domain and turns them into audio books. They’re constantly adding new books (ex: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins was recently added). The audio-books are available in mp3 format so you can easily listen to them on your kindle (thanks to Rick Miller at BookSummit for figuring this out) –
- Download the .mp3 files from LibriVox to your computer.
- If you’d like you can concatenate them together. You can also edit the ID3 tag info for the music file (both these steps are optional).
- Connect your Kindle to your computer and put the mp3 files in the Audible directory of your Kindle (or in a sub-directory of the Audible directory). Each mp3 file (regardless of whether it’s in Audible directory or in one of Audible’s sub-directories) will show up as a book on the main page (and is indicated as an audiobook by a speaker icon).
This works because a .mp3 file in the Audible sub-directory is interpreted as an audio book by the Kindle Reader.
Audible has a site geared at helping parents get kids interested in reading. Its a well designed site and includes a rudimentary social network for the kids and some free audio books too. You can search for books by category, or your kids’ ages or even their grade. They have reviews and ratings and you can search by various criteria. A very well done site overall.
Actually Reading Audio Books (listening?) on the Kindle
On the home page, an audio book has a ‘speaker’ icon next to it, which lets you know that its an audio book, and not a normal book. This is what it’ll look like –
When you select it, you get a screen that gives you various options to navigate through the audio book –
- Beginning — takes you back to the beginning of the audiobook.
- Previous Section — moves backwards in the audio book to the previous section.
- Back 30 sec. — moves backwards thirty seconds from the current location.
- Pause/Play — pauses or plays the audio book (there is no Stop control).
- Forward 30 sec. — moves ahead thirty seconds from the current location.
- Next Section — moves ahead to the next section in the audiobook, which is usually the next chapter.
- Location — indicates how far you have come in the audio book, the elapsed time, and the section you are in.
And here’s the actual kindle screen image of an audio book –
And here’s a bonus – two other good sources for free audio books and free audio content –
Wired for Books – an amazing range of interviews, poems, plays, stories, and lots of great audio content.
- Well Told Tales – Short free audio books at Well Told Tales.