Audio Books

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:22
ThreadID: 83986 Views:2579 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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Hi, I was just wondering if listening to audio books on a big trip is a good way to kill time while driving. And if they are, any recommendations ???
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Reply By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:37

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:37
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:38

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:38
Might be a good way to kill you if you concentrate on the book instead of the driving.

Personally I look at driving as a full time job and not something to be done while doing something else.

Just my opinion, but after seeing tradies reading Refidexes Couriers reading delivery sheets and a young woman reading a book whilst driviing I shake my head at times.

We play background music that doesnt disturb concentration.

AnswerID: 443514

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 11:02

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 11:02
Interesting. I find just the opposite. Background music eventually lulls me to sleep. A good audio novel keeps me awake.
Google for Audible to find a huge range of downloadable books at reasonable prices. They have a book club that gives discounts.
Most local libraries have audio books but big books take up quite a few cds and are time consuming (and, I think, also illegal if we want to be precise about this) to download onto your mp3 player. Or you can just play them on an in car CD player. Thje cds are much better than the older tapes. Both tend to be a bit bulky to carry unless you convert them to mp3.
One of the biggest library collections of audio books I have come across is oin the Alice Springs library. Most of our friends up there loaded up when they did the annual "Relly run" down south at Xmas.
FollowupID: 715589

Follow Up By: SDG - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 14:06

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 14:06
Concentrate on the story teller, lose concentration on the driving.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:08

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:08
Way back in around 1964 I was one of a bunch of uni students who were used by the Road Research Board in Denmark St, Kew Vic, as guinea pigs for a whole lot of research on different aspects of driver behavious and road safety. One of the areas looked at was the effects of radio and conversation in cars on driver reaction times. While we didn't have audio books to test with, we were tested for reaction times when listening to music and having conversations etc. The results showed that such things tended to keep drivers awake and that they reacted faster when some sort of response was required. Interestingly, when given some sort of stimulus that requred a reaction, none of the subjects could ever remember what it was that they were listening to during their response (they could remember what they were listening to before, but not during, the response time.) The conclusion was that some sort of wireless background, or conversation, kept drivers sharper over long drives and that when required, they(we) were hit with a burst of adrenalin while dealing with the siuation and this simply blocked the other stimulus out until the situation was dealt with.
No one was tested on audio books, but comedy radio programs as well as music were used and I'd imagine that responses to comedy radio would be pretty similar to audio books.
Other projects we were used on related to drive's ability to read various fonts on road signs; the effects of different colour combinations on road signs; whether or not drivers could judge speed after driving for long spells; intensity of light needed in traffic lights; analyzing data at traffic black spots that was later used as part of the case for compulsory seat belts in Oz.
FollowupID: 715618

Reply By: Member - Ian F (WA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:42

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:42
Hi Julio,
I find them very good and I know a few truckies that use them.
I have a few on my Ipod through fm radio.
I have "The Power of One", "Whitethorn", "Jessica", "Deception" and a couple of others. These average around 26 hours.
Some shire council libraries hire them for free if you are a member.
Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 443515

Follow Up By: Member - Ian F (WA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:45

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 09:45
You have to be that you don't lose concentration though.
FollowupID: 715580

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 20:31

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 20:31
Hi Ian - please explain
FollowupID: 715649

Follow Up By: Member - Ian F (WA) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 22:23

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 22:23
Sorry Dennis,
I was in a hurry and now looking back , shocking English.
I found that every now and then I had to turn the book off especially,but not mainly, through towns etc. as one tended to be absorbed in the story ie mystery's.
If you take care they are very good.
FollowupID: 715670

Reply By: kend88 - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 10:59

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 10:59
I have found them an aid to concentration, and warding of tiredness.
Have bought a few but have also borrowed them from the library, they have at least 100 at most libraries.
If going away for only a month we take them with us, if for longer we transfer them to MP3.
Can't remember it's name, but one of the best was the story of the fellow that Crocodile Dundee was supposedly based on, developed the area around Shady camp in the NT. It was particularly interesting as we on our first trip to the NT at that time. I was not a Crocodile Dundee fan, but this was a great story.

AnswerID: 443521

Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:19

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:19
A great way to pass time Julio, you should know if and how it will affect your concentration (can depend on the reader). As far as warding off fatigue - would have thought that a wee break of 10 mins or so, a scratch, walk around and a drink of H2O every 300km or so is far better. Variety is a key for me. Radio on/off, music, audio books, air-con on/off, window down occasionally, and regular breaks.

Scanning for 'stories' on local radio stations can sometimes turn up unexpected gems. Workmate and I were heading to outback SA couple of yrs ago and stumbled upon a discussion on Sth Aussie horseracing administration. The interviews had us in stitches. Mate, a novice at racing things, me a longtime racing fan, but it mattered little because many of the utterances were breathtakingly silly, and it was clear the (ABC) interviewer knew he had a live one on the hook. Kept us entertained for much longer than the radio spot went as we then had another topic to talk (and laugh) about. Not quite as good on your own obviously.
AnswerID: 443541

Reply By: Member - Richard C (ACT) - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:37

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 15:37
I have been using audio books for quite some time and find they are great for long driving trips.

They work for me in that by listening to the book it stops me from drifting off.

You can buy the CDs from nearly every where now but what I am now doing is down loading the stories to my IPOD and play them from there through the radio.

Many of the libraries have ebooks for download.

Many of the books have 10+ hour listening times so can probably cater for a couple of days driving.

One draw back is if you get a real good one you will find yourself driving extra distances just to listen to them :).

I would recommend giving them a go. If you find they distract your driving stop listening but as said they work form me.


AnswerID: 443543

Reply By: Busy Bee - Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 23:15

Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at 23:15
I download the excellent Conversation Hour podcasts from the ABC website and burn them to a CD. Dozens fit on a CD but if you can't play mp3 files you can burn them as audio files but won't fit as many on each CD.
AnswerID: 443595

Reply By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:23

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:23
Both the wife and I have been listening to books in the car from 'Audible Books' for years now. Absolutely beats the crap that's on the radio and really makes a long journey seem quicker and enjoyable. I feel more refreshed when i arrive as I am not tending to get as tired.
Used to play them from my Garmin but the latest doesn't do it so now use the Android HTC phone connected to the car radio. The Iphone also has an Audible book program available.
AnswerID: 443626

Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:26

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:26
Should have said that one of the benefits of the Audible book player compared to MP3 is the ability to add 'book marks' and return easily to wherever you wish in the book very quickly.
FollowupID: 715700

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:13

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:13
In theory, your iPod/iPhone should remember the position of any book (not just Audible downloads), provided:
1. you imported the book into iTunes in AAC format (it doesn't work with mp3 format), and
2. in iTunes you tick the box for "Remember position" under Get Info | Options.

But in practice it is unreliable. In fact I find the bookmark function with Audible book unreliable too (e.g. sometimes it remembers where you were up to the time before last, sometimes it doesn't remember any position).

We usually leave a post-it note in the cover of our iPod and write down the track number/time where we left off.
FollowupID: 715735

Reply By: Member - Des - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:56

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 09:56
I also find listening to an audio book superb on a long trip, especially if the scenery is monotonous. I don't find it distracting. On the contrary I find it helps keep me alert.

We load everything on our iPod. I enjoy ABC podcasts (go to ABC podcasts) - there is something for every taste there. I also load talking books from CDs.

In one car we have a dedicated iPod connector, in the other we use a $10 cassette tape adapter. You can use FM radio transmitters but I have never had much success with them. If you have a CD player, you can now get an adapter to connect an iPod or other mp3 player.

Personally I prefer unabridged classic novels: e.g. Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, P G Wodehouse. But the choice is endless. Some readers are better than others. The best ones are outstanding. (Look for Jonathon Cecil reading Wodehouse, or Juliet Stevenson reading Jane Austen.)

It gets rather expensive to buy talking books on CD. But if you haven't checked your library for a while, you might be surprised how many talking books are available. Our library is part of a network, which provide access to a huge range of material. You can reserve items for free on-line.
AnswerID: 443638

Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:36

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:36
There's lots of classic novels available as audiobooks here: Librivox

They're read by volunteers and are free.

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Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:57

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:57
I've tried some of these and similar ones (often produced for the vision-impaired), but frankly don't like them. As explained below, I prefer skilled actors, who can bring the text alive.
FollowupID: 715749

Reply By: tg123 - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:39

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:39
I'm investigating getting an ereader (probably a Kindle 3) for extended trips. You can fit thousands books in its memory so no more bulky paperbacks to cart around. Apparently many books available for purchase also have a text to speech feature so the book you are currently reading on the ereader can also be 'spoken' via headphones - best of both worlds?? Would also mean my missus can listen to music MP3's while I enjoy a book. Has anyone any experience with this??
AnswerID: 443645

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:01

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 14:01
The monotonous drone of a text-to-speech reader would drive me nuts.

An audiobook is not just a recitation of a text, it should be an artistic performance in itself. Which is why authors reading their own works are not necessarily a good thing, because they are generally not skilled readers. (There are exceptions of course: examples are Charles Frazier reading his fine novel "Cold Mountain"; Clive James reading his intelligent essays in "Cultural Amnesia".)

FollowupID: 715731

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:09

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:09
I should have said: if you enjoy listening to Stephen Hawking reading his book, "A Brief History of Time", you'll enjoy listening to a text-to-speech reader.
FollowupID: 715741

Follow Up By: Dr Hook - Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:38

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:38
Yep, tg123: wot they just said!

I bought a Kindle 3 for myself for Xmas: great for reading (particularly when your eyes start to age, and in reduced 12volt lighting, when you just crank up the font a bit) but the text-to-speech is worse than Hawking!
FollowupID: 715746

Reply By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 07:21

Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011 at 07:21
Julio, plenty of good books available now. CDs are easy enough, but I have also had bigger ones on a memory stick and sometimes your reader on there gets a little lost, or mine did.

There are some good Aussie ones too and a friend loaned us the story about crossing the Tanami by camel, and had a lot in an historic context as well as the more recent. The Burke and Wills story too is a more recent one we listened to while away. It can help provide the background to where you are travelling.
AnswerID: 443756

Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 03, 2011 at 13:40

Thursday, Feb 03, 2011 at 13:40
We have a total of 45 audio books in our library, mainly thanks to my wife who loves them.
If you go to and join as a member you can download the books for about $14 each which is about half the normal price on other sites.
Audible books load straight into ITunes so there are no compatibility problems.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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