Online source for audio books and ways to convert

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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby canaws » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:43 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:1. Is there a good online source for inexpensive audio books.

As others have mentioned, librivox and public libraries are great. Librivox is great for public domain audiobooks and libraries usually have audiobooks in their collections, borrowing agreements with other libraries outside of their system, and/or online audiobook collections (like Overdrive or Netlibrary). A lot of big city libraries also let out-of-towners use their service, you usually just have to get down there to get a card.

Gilgamesh wrote:2. Is there anything to watch out for as far as format or size for those that are downloadable.

For the roku: No ogg or flac. No DRMed (Digital Rights Management) stuff either, I think. That would mean that a lot of the online library stuff can't be played on the roku (DRM); they will, however, usually play on computers and mp3 players just fine. In general, MP3s and wma are the way to go. Now, if he wants to rip the library audiobook CDs...well that's between him and the god of copyright. :P

Gilgamesh wrote:3. What is a good, simple, and easy to use method (hardware and/or software)for him to transfer his cassette collection to a format that something like Roksbox can use.

Oy, that one is out of my league. :wink:

Gilgamesh wrote:4. Are any of the audio chs more suitable for this or is there an audio service like Netflix.

There's no audiobook channel, as far as I know. However, there are two ways (that I can think of) to get audiobooks onto the roku box:
1. Download (or rip) the files and serve it up via one of the local media channels (MyMedia, roksbox, Chaneru, etc)
2. Use the Mediafly or Sunimi channel to play audio podcasts on the roku.
-Mediafly and Sunimi both have rss audio/video podcast "channel" creators. Librivox has rss feeds for all it's books (as far as I can tell). So, all that would be needed is an account (free for both) and the ability to copy & paste the rss/xml links onto the MediaFly or Sunimi site. The books then show up in the Mediafly or Sunimi channels with all the chapters ready to go.

Gilgamesh wrote:5. Since he wants the video part I think that the Roku is a good choice but is there another device, in a similar price range, that would do the job better.

I can't really think of anything better, but to be honest I haven't really tried anything else.

Gilgamesh wrote:6. Any other questions I forgot to ask. :wink:

Half.com is a good place to get used audiobooks. It's owned by ebay, but it's not an auction site. People post their used media with prices. You can get good deals on there.

There are also some audiobook rental sites (simplyaudiobooks, audiobookworm, audiotogo, and probably more). I've never used any of them, so I can't offer and opinion of the services.
Last edited by canaws on Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby canaws » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:46 pm

RokuChris wrote:
kc8pql wrote:^ Good find. Now we need to bombard them with requests for a Roku channel. :wink

Edit: ...or get Chris to add the podcast to NowhereTV?


I'll do you one better. Librivox has an API that will give us access to their entire catalog. Might be a decent candidate for a standalone channel. Maybe I'll find time to play with it this weekend.


That would be an awesome, awesome channel!
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby rokewl » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:35 pm

A LibriVox channel would be cool.

It seems a no-brainer for Audible.com to make a commercial app for their library.

There are also tons of old radio broadcasts in the Internet Archive that should be accessible via Roku if they aren't already.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby Gilgamesh » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:40 am

RokuChris wrote:
kc8pql wrote:^ Good find. Now we need to bombard them with requests for a Roku channel. :wink

Edit: ...or get Chris to add the podcast to NowhereTV?


I'll do you one better. Librivox has an API that will give us access to their entire catalog. Might be a decent candidate for a standalone channel. Maybe I'll find time to play with it this weekend.


That would be great. To help a bit I and my friend and probably several others would be willing to pay a small one time fee for this as it would be a valuable addition to the already good Roku channel library.

And thanks to everyone for all the ideas and web sites I will investigate them over the next few days.

BTW: After talking more with my neighbor he checked yesterday with the local library and they are willing to work with him and one of the grandkids stopped by and brought him an old CD-cassette player that will serve him well so a player for those is available. The next problem is that he has a lot of trouble reading the labels on his library that he already owns. That is solvable with some shareware label printing software I found and a bit of time.

The doctors say that his vision will stabilize and not continue to deteriorate after a little more time and treatment. That is good news for him.

The thing I am still looking for is a seamless method for automating the conversion process so he can get his library into a Roku compatible format without needing anyone to help him as getting everything digitized is his best, long term, solution.

He wanted me to pass on his thanks for the help that has been given and he is ordering his own Roku today as even if we cannot get everything digitized he will find great value from the player. Also he finds the menus on the Roku easier to read than those on the alternatives that we looked at. Also the relative ease of creating channels means that there could be more functionality for him as time passes.

Again thanks for all the help and suggestions and keep them coming.

Oh, one last thing. It turns out he his a huge fan of classic science fiction stories and would like to find audio sources for the old science fiction stories from the magazines like Amazing Stories and the like.

He likes authors like: Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, Anne McCaffrey and others from the mid 1900s. Any source for those short stories would be good.

Also a reader that reads text in a natural manner could be quite useful for him and I will need to investigate that.

Does anyone know how good the text to audio conversion in Opera is and how easy is it to use?

Thanks one more time for the help.
Last edited by Gilgamesh on Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby mommom » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:17 am

If you register your email with Audible.com they will send out offers for a free book every couple of months.I usually download childrens books to the pc in my granddaughters room for bedtime.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby mastermesh » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:30 am

not exactly a way to get away from the use of computers, but the kindle's text to speech engine is very cool. It's very boring and mundane but it gets the job done, allowing you to convert just about any text in to something you can listen to with earphones instead of having to actually 'read.' Download Calibre and a few plugins for it, set is up to download various blogs and stuff, then get a library card with a library that has an ebook section, and start visiting amazon to download the free books and you just got yourself a library.

Lots of pros vs cons of ebooks elsewhere online... but will say that the best thing about kindle is the text to speech engine, the 30 day battery life (2-3 days if you use text to speech all the time), and the free 3g make it very good thing to buy imho.
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http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=64096 -linear channels
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby cwniles » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:38 am

just for info, I have always gotten my audio books and other goodies via "The Internet Archive" http://www.archive.org/


It's easy enough to find but just to make things easier, here is a link to the audio books sub category which features everything from the aforementioned Librivox library as well as Guttenberg and many others.

http://www.archive.org/details/audio_bookspoetry

Note that most, if not all are items in the public domain so if you, like me, are happy with classics such as The Swiss Family Robinson, Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes, The Art Of War, Moby **** etc etc etc, then you should be pretty content.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby pbnj » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:08 pm

Also would suggest that if you were to buy an audiobook on CD, use a ripping program. a very fine one is EAC (exact audio copy), just google EAC, download and go (yes it is from a foreign country, yes it is safe to install). rip to a roku appropriate format such as MP3 and get it to your roku using some nice method such as a jump drive. It is incredibly fast and pretty easy with a decent cd/dvdrom.

Be aware that this is only really legal/moral to keep or use the mp3 files while you have rights to listen to the audio book such as during the time that it is checked out from the library or while you own it. I'd think that TOS (terms of service agreement) of audiobooks.com would prevent you from doing this with rentals from them. To buy cheap audio-book CDs, you may also want to look at half.com. I note that you are wanting to help a neighbor, but there is an iffy moral line there. In our society, the producers of content deserve license fees. 'nuf said on that.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby techn0lizard » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:18 pm

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:The_Audio_Books_Project

This is probably the website Shawn has been trying to remember. It is hands down the most expansive free resource for digital books and audio books for free. Basically if it doesn't have a copyright, you can have it for free--provided it's for personal use.

The url points to the audio version of the website, but I encourage everyone here to browse The Gutenberg Project.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby Gilgamesh » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:26 pm

My neighbor wants me to thank everyone for the help and suggestions. We looked at many of the sites suggested and have downloaded several books from http://librivox.org/ .

I have introduced him to Dumas and we are also getting much of the works of Sir Arther Conan Doyle and Shelly's Frankenstein.

We are currently using RoksBox's music feature to play the books.

Again, thanks to everyone and I now really think that a ch for Librivox would be wonderful. The content there is amazing.

I may even listen to their books as much as I watch movies now as there is a lot there that I have not read or don't remember well and would have problems reading now as my old eyes give me headaches if I read too long.

We are also looking at audible.com for more modern books to listen to. We just have to decide if the value is really worth the charge per month.

The other sites offered also will be looked at but time may be infinite but my ability yo use it is not. :)
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby Saqqara » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:46 pm

Doesn't the CDNTwo channel have LIbrivox?
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby Gilgamesh » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:04 pm

Saqqara wrote:Doesn't the CDNTwo channel have LIbrivox?


Thanks, Yes it does but it is a very small subset of what they have. However it is another valuable resource that I did not know about.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby gonzotek » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:05 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:Oh, one last thing. It turns out he his a huge fan of classic science fiction stories and would like to find audio sources for the old science fiction stories from the magazines like Amazing Stories and the like.

He likes authors like: Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, Anne McCaffrey and others from the mid 1900s. Any source for those short stories would be good.

Man's got good taste! :)
Try old time radio sites, many of the classic sci-fi guys had their short stories produced as radio broadcasts.
http://www.otr.net/ (The 'X Minus One' program has some real gems!)
http://www.radiolovers.com/pages/scifi.html
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby RokuChris » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:15 pm

canaws wrote:
RokuChris wrote:
kc8pql wrote:^ Good find. Now we need to bombard them with requests for a Roku channel. :wink

Edit: ...or get Chris to add the podcast to NowhereTV?


I'll do you one better. Librivox has an API that will give us access to their entire catalog. Might be a decent candidate for a standalone channel. Maybe I'll find time to play with it this weekend.


That would be an awesome, awesome channel!


https://owner.roku.com/add/Q4DSY

The API is on the slow side, so navigation may be a bit sluggish at times. Have fun.
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Re: Online source for audio books and ways to convert

Postby Gilgamesh » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:35 pm

RokuChris wrote:https://owner.roku.com/add/Q4DSY

The API is on the slow side, so navigation may be a bit sluggish at times. Have fun.


All I can say is WOW! That was fast and it seems that the library is qute complete through this. Thank you!

I ask for a little help with the hope that a few suggestions might be offered and I get a plethora of very good ones and then this!

I cannot add this to my neighbors Roku right now as he is in bed but that does not mean I can't use it. I am listening to "The Count of Monte Cristo" right not.

After consideration I realized that the help I was giving my neighbor is also going to help me as I often get headaches when reading books however listening does not have that drawback.

Again, thank you.

A couple of questions:

1. Does the API allow for categories?
2. Does the API allow for the remembering of where you left off and/or a FF/RW.

One more time, Thank you.
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