Sunday, May 29, 2011

Audiobooks and podcast novels

Audiobooks (= books to listen to) are a great way to enjoy books while doing other things, for example, while commuting to and from work or school/college, doing housework, cooking or gardening. You can listen on a CD player, a computer or a portable music player such as an iPod, or a mobile/cell phone. Some audio books are full-length; some are abridged (= shortened).

Fiction / Non-fiction

Audiobooks can be fiction (= imaginary story books) or non-fiction (= fact and opinion books). Fiction includes contemporary (= modern) fiction and classic literature (= older books). Fiction genres range from crime thrillers to science fiction and fantasy. Non-fiction genres include biographies, hobbies and interests, sports and travel.

Audiobooks for Learning

Some people prefer to learn by listening, rather than reading. Non-fiction audiobooks, such as self-help books, are popular. Language learners can listen while reading the text, helping to improve their language skills, including reading speed, pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence construction.

Audiobooks to buy

A good source of quality commercial audiobooks is the Apple iTunes online store.
Online websites include:

Audiobooks for free

You can often borrow audiobooks from your public library. These can be good quality.
Free audiobooks are often produced by amateur enthusiasts, and consequently, resulting in products of variable quality. That said, there are various online website catalogues, including:

Podiobooks and audiobook podcasts

Podiobooks put out "serialized audio books in podcast form", which means you can listen chapter by chapter, on the website, or better, by subscribing to the RSS feed (you need to register first). Check out Podiobook's top audio books.

Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler is the writer of the world's first "podcast-only" audio novel, Earthcore, a science fiction / horror thriller, released as a free download, chapter by chapter, in March, 2005. Sigler had had problems with his publisher, and decided to go direct to the public to try to get an audience. He succeeded brilliantly, building a large enthusiastic fan-base with further books, in both audio and print form (Amazon best sellers). His science fiction thriller, Earthcore, is at the time of writing (29.05.11) still the most popular Podiobook.
Sigler "performs" the stories himself, using a different voice for each character, so the novels are brought strongly to life,  The stories are action-filled and exciting, but carry a warning for younger and more sensitive listeners: these stories contain adult situations, strong language and violence - lots of violence! Try listening to one or more of Scott Sigler's audiobooks:
Infected (Science fiction thriller, first podcasted 2006, published 2008) "Perry Dawsey is 6-foot-5, 265 pounds of angry ex-linebacker. He knows all too well that if he doesn't control his quick temper, people get hurt. Through constant focus, he has locked his violent past away in the deep dungeons of his mind. The infection changes everything. Strange, microscopic parasites tap into Perry's bloodstream like tiny little vampires. The Triangles, as Perry calls them, try to control their host by manipulating hormone levels and flooding his body with neurotransmitters - imbalances of which cause paranoia, schizophrenia and excessive aggression. As Perry begins a desperate battle to cut the Triangles out of his body before it's too late, his self-control dissolves into raging, murderous madness." Check out Sigler's trailer for Infected, the book and the official trailer for the movie, Infected

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