Monday, January 18, 2010

Spreading the Gospel of Audio Books

I know that some people have a hard time processing information heard aloud, and that audio books aren’t for everyone. But I expect there are a lot more people who could beniffit from audio books than are currently listening. So I’m just going to step up on my soap box for a moment and tell you how much I love them.

As a dyslexic, I have listened to thousands of audio books in my life, and read hundreds. At least 95% of all the books I’ve expereinced were read alloud to me – either by a teacher, parent, or audio book reader. Audio books taught me how to love literature long before I was able to read books for myself.

Now that I can and do read, I still spend a lot of time plugged into audio books. In 2009 I consumed 115 books. But 83 of them came to me in audio. If I limited myself to paper and e-books only, I’d never be able to read more than 50 books a year. There just isn’t enough time in a day.

For people new to the world of audio books, let me share some good audio book sorces. The absolute best place to get audio books is RFB&D (recordings for the blind and dyslexic). This service is only available to people with a print related disability. It is a result of the American Disability Act and provides every book with a isbn number registared with the library of congress in audio – including text books. If a book is not available in audio, the library of congress will hire someone to record it for you. There is no way I ever would have survived college without RFB&D. If you’re blind or dyslexic and aren’t a member of RFB&D, you are selling yourself short.

If you don’t qualify for RFB&D, the next place to look for audio books is your local public library. Libraries always have an audio book section. Even the standard print reader can check out an audio book or two and listen to it in the car. Author, Steven King, admits in his memoir ON WRITING that he listens to about 10% of the books he “reads” while driving. Do you really think you’re better than Steven King?

If you live in Oregon and want to up your listening anti, you can utilize Library 2 Go. With an Oregon State library card, you can check out up to six audio books at a time and load them directly onto your I-pod. At the end of the check out period the files automatically deleate from your computer. My father, who is also dyslexic and enjoys a good audio book just as much as the next guy, just went out and bought an I-pod because he was jealous of all the great books my brother and I were listening to. If you don’t live in Oregon, you should check with your own library. I expect many other states provide similar services.

If you want to actually pay for all your audio books. Audible is an on-line bookstore connected with Amazon that features downloadable audio books. I don’t find ethical issues in frequenting the library and have never actually used this service.

One for cost audio book service that I do use is Audio Bookworm. This site is a netflix for books on cd type service. For $28 per month, you can recieve up to two audio books at a time. Audio Bookworm doesn’t have as large of a total selection as Library 2 Go, but they do have more recent best sellers. Also since you don’t have to worry about books being checked out by other patrons it’s easier to get the titles you crave. The one downside of Audio Bookworm is that the most books are 8-12 CD’s long and need to be shipped in a small package, so they spend a lot of time hung up in the mail.

If you to are an audio book fanatic and get your audio books from another sorce, please let me know what it is. I’m always on the prowl for a good listen. And if you aren’t a listener, WHY NOT? You are definitely missing out.

Joke of the Day
A person who speaks three languages is called tri-lingual.
A person who speaks two language is called bi-lingual.
A person who speaks one langauage is called American.

1 comment:

T. Anne said...

I always thought I'd do audio readings for the blind someday. Wish my voice could last longer!