Free Audio Books

It sounded too good to be true: free audio books in MP3
format. I went to AudioBooksForFree.Com
and indeed there are free audio books. Hundreds of them.
But to get the best quality recording you have to pay.


The site consists mainly of public domain books, mostly
fiction but some nonfiction. There are lots of great
classics, in 25 categories, by authors ranging from Mark
Twain to Sun Tzu.


The site clearly explains the tradeoffs between file size
and sound quality, and gives the user five choices from 8
Kb/sec to 48 Kb/sec. Only the 8 Kb/sec is free. I tried
one, and found that it was actually quite workable if I used
headphones with my Pocket PC. There was some slight
distortion, but not enough to interfere.


At this quality, the file sizes are manageable; for
example, a one-hour volume by Mark Twain was made available
as four files, from 776 to 912 KB in size. The higher
quality files range in price from $3 to $6 per book.


My impression, and that of a friend who has really been
enjoying these freebies, is that the readings of these books
are very professionally done.


You can search by author or title, and within a category
you can filter by playing time, by whether it's a male or
female narrator, by whether it's unabridged, and more.
Overall, a nicely organized site with clear
instructions.


You have to register on the site in order to download,
and they ask for some personal information, such as where
you live and date of birth.


Of course, for contemporary books you'll want to try
Audible.com,
which sells digital audio books, magazines, and newspapers,
as well as radio programs.


If you know of other sources of free audible books, I
invite you to post in our "What's
Happening on the Web
" forum.

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