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Tag: audiobook

Free eBooks From Your Local Library

Posted by Andrew at 8:19 AM on September 13, 2013

These are tough economic times and if you want to save yourself a few pennies, stop buying ebooks, join your local library and borrow ebooks for free. The OverDrive Media Console app lets you download and read ebooks offered by your local library for nothing, and if audiobooks are of more interest, the app can handle those as well. The OverDrive app is available for most common smartphones and tablets, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Kindle Fire and Nook tablets. If you have a Kobo, Sony or Nook ereader, you can still borrow books from your library but you’ll need to use Adobe’s Digital Editions to download via your PC. If you have a Kindle ereader, you’re out of luck.

The app can be downloaded from most app stores and directly from OverDrive if your device’s app store doesn’t host the app. In the first instance, the app asks you to find your local library via simple search. Poking around I was able to find libraries in UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, India and Japan, so it has worldwide coverage but I’ve no real idea of how extensive it is.

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For my library, I had enter my borrower number and again I assume it will be similar for most public libraries. Once you are in the system, you can browse for your favourite novels and authors, and then borrow the book you want. Before you can download the book, you’ll need to sign-up for an Adobe ID and put it into Overdrive’s settings. This is all part of the ePub DRM, but getting an ID is straightforward and free of charge.

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Obviously the range of books is entirely dependent on your library but I found a good selection of books available (several of which I already owned!) and once you’ve got your reading selection downloaded, you can swap to Overdrive’s bookshelf to see what’s available for reading.

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As a reader app, OverDrive Media Console is good. There’s a bit of delay when opening a book for the very first time, but after that it’s snappy. All the other usual features are there – typeface selection, font size, line spacing, colour schemes, animations, but overall it’s well done. Reading books is easy and a pleasure.

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So, if you don’t want pay for ebooks and you’ve a tablet or smartphone, download the OverDrive Media Console, join your local library and start saving money. It’s a no-brainer!

eBooks with a Sound Track?

Posted by Andrew at 4:53 PM on August 31, 2011

US company Booktrack has just released a new concept onto the literary market – ebooks with a sound track. Yes, you read that right, ebooks with a sound track. To quote from their website, “Booktrack represents a new chapter in the evolution of storytelling, and an industry “first” in publishing, by creating synchronized soundtracks for e-books that dramatically boost the reader’s imagination and engagement. The company’s proprietary technology combines music, sound effects and ambient sound, automatically paced to an individual’s reading speed.

One of the first Booktracked novels is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Speckled Band. Plenty of scope there for creepy sound effects but…

…does anyone else think this sounds (sorry) doomed to fail? I’m all for new ways of experiencing stories but we’ve done pretty well with books, radio and TV / film. Each medium has its own strengths and for me, the attraction of a good book is that your imagination creates the world in your head. Now when I read that the door creaks open, I hear it too. Surely if I want a story with sound effects, I get an audio book? Maybe I’m being too critical.

If you want to try it out, it’s available from the Apple App Store for the iPhone et al. There’s only five books available at the moment, two for adults and three for children. On reflection, children may well respond to this approach and it might encourage reading, so that changes my opinion a little. Great idea for kids, bad idea for adults.

What do you think?

“In The Plex” Audible Audio Book

Posted by tomwiles at 8:59 PM on July 16, 2011

Controversy. The world of news seems to thrive on it, including the world of tech news.

Ever wonder what goes on inside a premier tech company like Google?

I just finished listening to “In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives” written by Steven Levy and narrated by L.J. Ganser.

“In The Plex” is all about Google – it’s employees, it’s business culture, and even it’s cafeterias. Additionally it includes behind-the-scenes accounts of major Google controversies most people will remember.

Google is one of those remarkable “Great American Company” stories that happened right under our noses within the past decade.

The unabridged “In The Plex” Audible audiobook version is 19 hours long. The narration is top-notch and the content quite entertaining. It ends with a discussion of Google’s sometimes-tumultuous, sometimes ho-hum social networking forays, along with a brief discussion of the development of “Google+” which has recently gone into a controlled roll-out to the general public.

If you were ever curious about the company behind the search engine, I recommend “In The Plex” as a means of sating that inquisitive urge.

Get Free E-Books and Audiobooks at Your Local Library

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2011

My husband went to our local library the Cabell County Public Library last week and picked up a library card. If you haven’t been to a library in a long time you maybe surprise how much they have embraced new technology. One of the areas that most libraries have embraced is ebooks and audiobooks. They use a system called Overdrive to allow customers to download the books. The Overdrive system works with Mac or Windows and a multiple of portable devices including: iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Sony Readers, Barnes and Noble Nook, various Palm and Window devices. On some devices like the iPhone you can download directly to the devices.  On other devices you have to download to the Overdrive console on your computer and then transfer to the device. A full listing of supported devices can be found at Overdrive Resource Center. Once you install Overdrive on your chosen device or platform, then you are ready to download your book. The steps are as follows:

  1. click on Overdrive Icon
  2. click on Add a Website
  3. enter name of your library, zip code or city
  4. if you enter zip code or city you then have to click on the library you want
  5. log into the your library using your library id and the pin #
    the library gave you.
  6. Find the book you are looking for
  7. At that point you can either add the book directly to
    your cart or too your wish list.
  8. If someone else has the book out,
    you can put a hold on it and when
    it becomes available it will download automatically

I did run into a couple of problems while attempting to download some books. Sometimes entering the zip code work and sometimes it didn’t  and I would have to browse by state. The first time I downloaded a book I had to shut down and restart my iPhone before the book showed up on my list. I also noticed that the number of books available for download is limited. One of the reasons the number of books available are limited is because not all publishers offer their books to libraries. Some publishers are under the mistaken idea that libraries are stealing sales from them. “Public libraries are more important than some blogger,” said Potash from Overdrive. “The library is the best way to elevate your sales. The data is starting to prove it.” Unfortunately the one device that is not supported directly by Overdrive is the Kindle. Although it possible add ebooks downloaded from Overdrive to Kindle, it takes additional steps you have to be able to remove the DRM and convert to Mobipocket format. Clearly most people are not going to do this. Hopefully this is something that can be fixed, its unfortunate that library books can’t be downloaded to the most popular e-book reader easily. Despite these problems if you like to read ebooks or listen to audiobooks, try your local library on-line you maybe surprised what is available.

Smartphones As The New Facebook

Posted by tomwiles at 2:40 PM on November 19, 2010

Facebook hit critical mass and managed to move into the mainstream and is now sucking in mass numbers of new users. Much of the value of a many goods and services revolves around mass adoption – it becomes beneificial for people to use Facebook simply because so many friends and family are already on it.

We keep hearing statistics about smartphone adoption rates. No doubt about it, smartphones are increasingly popular devices and are quickly moving into the mainstream.

How does this translate into the real world?

I came across a guy a few days ago that had recently gotten an iPhone 4.0 specifically so he could do Facetime chats with his brother. This guy was in his 50’s and had never owned a computer or dealt with the Internet in any way. I was surprised at how well he had learned to run his phone. He was clearly thrilled with the smartphone and what it was capable of. Even though this fellow had somehow managed to resist getting a computer and the Internet, the smartphone managed to pull him in. Furthermore, this guy was using a lot of data above and beyond WiFi and Facetime. Even as a novice user, he had already purchased a few iphone apps. Additionally he expressed a lot of interest when I was describing Audible.Com audio books.

There’s a segment of the population I run into personally that doesn’t like the idea of or see the need for or perceive any benefit from paying for mobile data connections. These are the people that are hanging onto more basic phone models. I suspect that these same people likely resisted the idea of getting a cell phone in the first place – in other words, they are late adopters when it comes to cell phone technologies and services.

We are now entering the phase of smartphone adoption of where mass numbers of people will get smartphones simply because everyone else has them. I believe smartphones are poised to outstrip even a service like Facebook with the total number of smartphone users.

These new smartphone users are likely to use mass amounts of data. Cell phone companies wanted people to have data plans because of the extra revenue from larger data-enabled bills – now they’d better be prepared to deliver on the promise.

My first Librivox audiobook chapter recording

Posted by J Powers at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2009

Electronic readers have been a hotbed as of late. Audio books are other ways to get the content on the go. Last week Google posted a bunch of open domain books, but did you know that there is also a service that lets you download open domain audio books?

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Audiobooks iPhone Application

A couple weeks ago I found out about Librivox.org – a place to go to get audio books in the open domain. For the last few years, volunteers have been reading chapters to these books. I was so impressed with the service, I decided to contribute to the service.

I went to the site, signed up for a chapter, read and submitted it. I chose a book on musical notation by Karl Gehrkins. The chapter was short, but challenging enough – I had to remember how to pronounce those latin words you see all the time in music. After all, Molto Dolce is not just a coffee.

If you have an iPhone, check out the application “Audiobooks”. You will find that there is a book for whatever you want to read. I just got done listening to “How to write and speak correctly”. Hopefully it shows in this article, but I think I will be going back over that book for items I may have missed.