We would love to read great fiction or to learn more about the world on our commute, but we either find ourselves driving to work or sandwiched against a smelly man on the subway. Neither situation is any good for clutching a book. Same goes for vacations: Books are unwieldy, so there isn't room in our suitcase for more than one or two.
...Which is why we love audio books.
We've seen audiobooks that range from $6.95 to more than $20 a pop. At that rate, listening to two books per month could cost you $480 per year!
Download them for free.
If you're looking to catch up on the classics, there are a number of sites that offer free classic audio books. Our favorites are LibriVox, Free Classic AudioBooks, Project Gutenberg, BooksShouldBeFree.com, AudioBooksForFree.com, and Audiobooks.org. We downloaded Pride and Prejudice from LibriVox for free, without ever leaving our couch. If you're looking for business or educational books, check out Learn Out Loud. You won't find beach listens at this site, but you will find Great Speeches Of The 20th Century and some classic literature like Atlas Shrugged.
These books are available for free because they've generally passed into the public domain, meaning that their copyrights have expired. Of course, you can always hit up your local library to borrow an audio book. If you can't make it there during library hours, visit your library's website to see it uses OverDrive or NetLibrary, two distributors that allow library members to download audiobooks for free.
To make the magic happen, download the .mp3 files and sync them with your iPod. iPhone users can download audio books striaght from LibriVox's free Audiobooks app.
Admittedly, downloading and importing an audiobook into iTunes for transfer to your iPod is more work than buying straight from iTunes. All the same, we think that the money you will save makes the extra step worthwhile. Sometimes you may need to download multiple files in order to get an entire book. If you find a book that's not in an iTunes-compatible format, you may need to download a program to convert Windows Media Player files to MP3 format.
Additionally, if you're only interested in recent books and are impatient, you may be out of luck. You may be able to land more recent, used audiobooks on Amazon, however, to fill that particular niche.
*If you buy two audiobooks per month, at the cost of $20 each.
**If you are 25 today and retire at age 65. We calculated that number here.
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