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Topic: Free Audiobooks

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Old 02-16-2006, 06:58 PM
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This is a miscellany of non-standard listings.
  • ThoughtAudio offers Siddhartha, Nietzche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and about a dozen other audiobooks in "abridged format". These were actually fairly hefty samples of of audiobooks (mostly works of philosophy [Tao Te Ching, Kahlil Gibran, Plato, Ayn Rand] or literature [Mark Twain, Bram Stoker, etc.]) that were offered for sale as mp3 CDs a year ago, and are now simply listed as audio podcasts. The story collections (Japanese Fairy Tales, Great American Indian Stories, Buffalo Bill Cody) might work best as excerpts. Professional reading job.
  • BMW drives into audio book podcasts describes a series of podcast stories, about 45 minutes each in length, each incidentally featuring a different BMW car (product placement!) that are available for download from http://www.bmwaudiobooks.com/ (requires registration -- just a first name and email address). This started at the beginning of February, and will have a new audio book podcast released every two weeks. Sort of an answer to the Mercedes-Benz Music Mixtapes (in the Consolidated List of Free Music Websites under the iLounge Music Forums). Two of these have appeared so far.
  • The New York Times TimesTalks series are one of 11 podcasts that the NYTimes started releasing in late January. These are spoken word interviews that were also available for purchase until very recently on Audible and the iTunes Music Store. A few of these have been mentioned earlier (with source links to sound excerpts) in posts about interviews with U2's Bono and at the end of the author interviews post under the Recommended Audiobooks thread. These are issued two per week.

    The first weeks' programs: inteviews with Larry David(actor/writer/producer/director/comedian known for his work on Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, etc.)[1/26=2/06=2/15] and with Philip Seymour Hoffman (actor and co-producer of the film Capote)[2/1]; followed by interviews with musicians Ben Gibbard and Nick Harmer of Death Cab for Cuties [2/7] and actor and comedian Bill Murray(Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, Rushmore, Ghost Busters]) and today's podcast, an interview with Grammy winner John Legend

    See this iTunes podcast page to subscribe. (Above links are to the NY Times podcasts programs for the earlier episodes which are no longer on the podcast page). There are also the assortment of NY Times front page news summaries, science news, Olympic coverage, and other podcasts.
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Old 02-17-2006, 12:52 PM
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Yes, I would like to add once again that there is a TON of free audio material right in iTunes: PODCASTS! Everything from history to philosophy to tech to comedy, and even some fiction being read. High quality stuff for just about every taste.

And one great thing about them (in addition to being free) is that they automatically load onto your iPod if you want it to, and automatically clear off of it when you have listened to it.

Here is a quick list of some of the ones I subscribe to:

Archaeology Channel
Diggnation (tech)
Medieval Podcast
Theology unplugged
Stanford Lecture series
Travel with Rick Steves
The Ricky Gervais Show
The Onion Radio News
Wait, Wait, don't tell me! (NPR)
This Week in Tech

Just so many out there, you might never need an audiobook again!
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:56 PM
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Vance,

I've been restricting my postings to things that are "audiobook and spoken word related". The above items didn't quite fit into the podcast audiobooks sticky, and aren't quite regular subscription items.

There is a whole list of Publishers' podcasts that I've been meaning to add as a post (since about October!), but haven't had time --- NAXOS, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, etc. plus book review specific podcasts. I'll try to start that under a separate thread.

Incidentally, on the Archaeology Channel, you know that the web page has small streaming real-time movies, don't you? They started podcasts quite a long time before offering it through the iTunes Music Store subscription.

This is also probably slightly off-topic (since the audiobooks are "free" but in streaming format), but KCRW, which jumped into podcasting relatively early (making the bulk of their programs available starting March 2005), also has a few great audiobook efforts that could go into the recommended list. Ten by Maugham, a collection of short story readings on 10 CDs produced by Martin Jarvis and his wife, Rosalind Ayres, won the 2001 Audie award in the category of Short Stories/Essays/Collections. (A good year for Maugham, the award for Classic Fiction went to Charlton Griffin's reading of Maugham short stories (vol.1, also available through Audible). That CD set has been used by KCRW as a member promo, and is not available in streaming format on the site, but some of their other efforts, such as Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New and Jewish Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond are there. These are great narrations (Peter Riegert, Elliot Gould, Eli Wallach, Claire Bloom, Theodore Bikel, Charlton Heston, Carl Reiner). For background (Klezmer) music, go to the NAXOS podcast page or if that doesn't work go to the NAXOS main site and look under the podcasts menu. Use the RSS feed to subscribe to the Episodes (about 1 per month) of music from the Milken Archive from the 13-part series on the American Jewish Music tradition hosted by Leonard Nimoy. The NAXOS site also give the current NAXOS audiobook podcast offerings from this RSS stream. They presently consist of 3 episodes (52 minutes in all) of David Timson reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Crooked Man from the NAXOS audiobooks of Sherlock Holmes stories. (iTMS users can search for NAXOS under the podcast directory; it will show the audiobooks, but you won't see all the other categories you can find at the NAXOS site.) NAXOS also comes out with Audiobook Samplers.

Edited 22 May 2006 (anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday)
Excerpted from the NAXOS podcast pages mentioned above -- sugggest readers subscribe to the original Naxos AudioBooks Preview and Naxos Audiobooks podcasts from which these are drawn, and also check the additional material not available in these podcasts on the NAXOS site described above:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Case of Identity, read by David Timson
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Crooked Man, read by David Timson
Comment: NAXOS Audiobooks Preview podcasts stay listed for 2 months. These direct links to the NAXOS site have been added because earlier episodes are no longer available via the subscription link, so late subscribers would only be able to listen to the end of a story.

Edited 1/4/07: Updated links to KCRW programs (prefixes changed from www.kcrw.com to legacy.kcrw.com) reflecting KCRW's revised web page design (December 2006). Updated NAXOS sampler link to their 2006 sampler. The NAXOS Audiobooks Preview podcasts no longer seem to be regularly updated, although the links given here to older content still work.

Last edited by moriond; 01-04-2007 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Updated links to redesigned KCRW site and to NAXOS sampler. 1/04/07
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Old 02-17-2006, 04:04 PM
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Great information as always. Yes, I think it would be great to put together a thread (maybe a sticky) covering podcasts which would be of particular interest to those who like audiobooks.

I was not aware of the video, but I have been downloading the Archaeology Channel's weekly news for a long time and listening on my Karma. I also recommend Stone Pages, which is available on iTunes as well.
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:36 PM
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Hey Vance, I might be a bit biased here but I'd definitely recommend our Audio Learning Revolution podcast to anyone looking for a podcast on audiobooks. It's essentially all we talk about and we throw in samples, etc. so it's a pretty good way to get a sense of what's out there.

By the way, we just posted our March Free Audiobook of the Month which is the Tao Te Ching. More good stuff for your Pod.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:06 PM
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Now that is a great idea: a podcast about audiobooks! I have subscribed and will download a handful of the past episodes. I hope you've put in a few plugs for your own site along the way. :0)
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Old 02-26-2006, 12:06 PM
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I agree with you guys, listened to some samples at 16kB/s and it's so awfull that I can't think of listening to 10 hours of such crap ! I guess the best way to obtain good Audiobooks is to buy them...



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Old 02-26-2006, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vance
Great information as always. Yes, I think it would be great to put together a thread (maybe a sticky) covering podcasts which would be of particular interest to those who like audiobooks.
Havn't you noticed we already have one?, it covers all the novels / short stories / radio dramas etc that have been produced as podcasts. Surely podcast novel would be of interest to audiobooks fans yet no-one mentioned those!.
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Old 02-28-2006, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cloysterpeteuk
Havn't you noticed we already have one?, it covers all the novels / short stories / radio dramas etc that have been produced as podcasts. Surely podcast novel would be of interest to audiobooks fans yet no-one mentioned those!.
You are right, I think they would definitely be of interest to audiobookphiles (if there is such a word). But let's not forget that most books are not fiction! :0)

As an audiobook junkie, at least 1/2 of my audio intake is non-fiction (lately a much higher percentage), and so those podcasts dealing with history, theology, science, archaeology, etc, fit the "audiobook" niche as much as fiction being read. True, some of them are akin to radio shows as well, but they really do scratch the same itch.
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Old 03-01-2006, 03:39 AM
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Don't you mean that most of them are fiction, you said "But let's not forget that most books are not fiction!".

I'm the opposite me I just don't have time for non-fiction stuff and most of the ologies would bore the pants off me. What I would like to listen to is a decent one detailing interesting new technologies that are being developed and maybe one about astronomy. Currently I watch The Sky At Night which is a really good BBC program which is on for maybe 15 mins once a month, that would be good podcast. But then again I don't have time for them so it's a moot point.
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:48 AM
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No, really, the majority of books published each year are non-fiction. Go into any major bookstore and compare all the non-fiction sections to the fiction. It is either 50-50 or non-fiction is in the majority.

And the podcasts reflect this. Compare the number of podcasts that are akin to non-fiction audiobooks compared to those that are akin to fiction audiobooks.
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:50 AM
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Oh I getcha, I thought you meant most of the podcast books are non-fiction. Because where podcast audiobooks (podiobooks) are concerned 90% of those are Sci-Fi/Fantasy, very little non-fiction stuff at the mo.

Last edited by Cloysterpeteuk; 03-01-2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 03-01-2006, 01:00 PM
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Oh, yes, I see what you mean. One interesting factor about podcasts is the degree to which they are still amatuers. Almost all of the fiction being read is either amatuer writers getting their stuff out there, or amatuer readers reading classic, public domain stuff. And, much of the non-fiction that would equate with audiobooks is also done by amatuers. But it seems that more and more of the non-fiction stuff is being done by more mainstream or at least with higher production values. You have Scientific American and Discovery Channel stuff, NASA and the BBC. And even the smaller operations like the Archaeology Channel does a top quality job.

Is this trend toward "professionalism" a positive thing? I can see both sides. With limited time, I want to get top quality stuff. But, on the other hand, I love the idea of ANYONE being able to put their stuff out there. I think the fiction reading is more likely to hold on to the amatuer "feel" longer.
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:59 PM
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LibriVox

You guys are missing one of the great resources for free audiobooks on the web: LibriVox. It was barely mentioned above as a link but it deserves much more. This site has an ever-growing list of free audiobooks in mp3 (64k or 128k) and ogg format.

The books are all in the public domain so you won't find bestsellers but you will find some of the all-time great books. The organization is all about freedom (they won't even take donations). They are dedicated to bringing books to people for absolutely free,

How do they do it? This is the cool part. Not only can you download books for free but you can help record them. They are actively looking for volunteer readers who can record chapters or whole books (it just takes a microphone and some free software).

Check this place out -- you may go to get some free audiobooks but you might end up getting (and giving) a lot more.

librivox dot org
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:45 PM
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Re: LibriVox

Quote:
Originally posted by Pappy
You guys are missing one of the great resources for free audiobooks on the web: LibriVox. It was barely mentioned above as a link but it deserves much more. This site has an ever-growing list of free audiobooks in mp3 (64k or 128k) and ogg format.

Excellent recommendation! Thank you.



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