Q about e-book readers

Can any (or all?) e-book readers download audio books? I’d like to stop traveling weekly to the library and just get audiobooks via download. Obviously I’d need a device with the ability to drive audio thru headphones, and I don’t know which (if any) can do this. Please fight my ignorance on this.

Ideally, I’d like some sort of tablet on which I could visually read books, listen to audiobooks, and double as a netbook (no other PC file handling, etc needed). In the car, I’d plug the reader into the ipod port on my radio (this would also negate the need to fumble for the next disk while zooming down the freeway).

Does such a device exist?

I have both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color (long story).

On the nook there is an app (ezPDF readerPRO) that will read pdf files - so if you have any of the books as pdf files they can be treated as audio books, and take the same space a normal pdf files. I am sorry but I have never used audio books on the nook, however I have seen and heard it done in the nook center at B&N.

I have one audio book on the kindle and it works fine – it takes more space then a normal book.

Both of these can be used as a tablet. B&N has since come out with a tablet and it can do everything the Nook Color can in using the app for pdf files. The fire is Amazon’s answer to the iPad.

Well, this choice probably wasn’t on your radar, but I thought I’d add a data point.

My e-book reader is a second generation Kindle, (international version, and not the giant DX model.) It will play Audible.com audiobooks, but it will not download them itself. I have to download them onto my PC and then transfer them via USB.

The ones with audio will play audio books. The $79 current generation Kindle doesn’t have audio and neither does the current generation Nook (the one that’s not a tablet). The $99 Kindle and all of the tablets do have audio.

Not really.

To the OP, get an Ipad.

I have the $79 Kindle w/ ads. It has speakers, it will do a sort of robotic text to speech thing that’s clunky and hard to listen to. So I know it has the ability to produce audio. But I couldn’t tell you if it can play an actual audio book.

I don’t think there’s anything that’s quite ‘perfect’ for all you want. There are a number of tablets and e-ink readers that will play an audiobook, but your other criteria might present a problem. None of the e-ink readers that I’m aware of are worth a damn as a netbook. Sure, you ‘can’ browse the web with some of them but they’re far from ideal for it.

On the other hand, none of the tablets are as easy on the eyes as the e-ink readers. If you don’t mind reading on a tablet though (I don’t like it, but I know some have no issue with it), I’d say a Kindle Fire or iPad would do the job.

Are you sure that’s the Kindle you have? The fourth generation, with no keyboard or touchscreen?

Maybe not, I have the Kindle Touch. I see it’s $99/$139. When I got it, just before Christmas I thought it was $79/$99. Either way, it’s not the same one.

If playing audiobooks is the only goal, a Kindle Fire would work fine. No reason to pay twice as much for an iPad unless you want the whole iPad experience (apps, browsing, iTunes, music, photos, etc.)

You should probably check with your library and see what sort of audiobook downloads they offer and the devices/software they would suggest. If they support the Audible app it works with various Kindle devices.

My observation about digital lending is the regular e-books seem to have long waiting lists, not sure if the same is true for audio books.

The OP says she wants a device that “can double as a netbook.”

I’d say that’s asking a LOT of the Kindle Fire.

Frankly, if playing audiobooks is the only goal the Kindle Touch would work just fine, I see the Kindle Fire as the worst of all options really. I think it is unlikely the OP will be satisfied in it as a laptop substitute, but it’s twice as expensive as the Touch and worse for reading actual books.

Though it’s far from clear, in context, I interpreted that phrase as “I want it to substitute for a netbook in terms of being able to acquire audiobooks”, which is not the same thing as simply playing them. Based on Control-Z’s link, it looks like the Touch would be able to download - I’m not sure about browsing for and purchasing audiobooks

Audiobooks on your kindle.

Kindle keyboard or Kindle Touch users can shop for audiobooks via their device and they are downloaded via WiFi connection.


Could you clarify what you mean by “double as a netbook”?

As others have noted, there certainly are devices (including all but the most basic version of Kindle) that work well for both reading books and listening to audiobooks.

Any tablet will do this (iPad or any Android flavour or something like a Kindle Fire). Dedicated eink devices like Kindle Keyboard and Touch will play audiobooks, but they don’t have much storage space so you’d only be able to put a few audiobooks on them.

If portability is the goal, then an iPod Touch or any smartphone will work. The screen is a bit small, but can still be used to read ebooks and surf the web in addition to playing your audiobooks.

Check with your local library, and see if they offer ebook and audiobook loans, and if they do what formats they support.

We got a Kindle Fire free when we bought a car, and I have found that the library will let me borrow ebooks and audiobooks, for 3 weeks at a time. With the Fire, I can do that all from the Fire over WiFi, anyplace I can connect.

As a netbook, the Fire is better than a smartphone but worse than a netbook. It’s fine for checking the weather forecast and looking up a movie on IMDB, but if I’m doing much more than that, I want a “real” computer. As an ereader, it’s better than a smartphone but worse than a dedicated ereader.

I’ll be taking it on my next vacation, to entertain myself on the plane ride and to check emails while gone.

You could do as I do, use a Palm III and Plucker to install and read the PDB files I get from Project Gutenberg. Here’s one for a buck. It helps if your literary tastes run to the public domain, but battery life is great.

Are you talking about audiobooks from Project Gutenberg or text book files? It looks as if Project Gutenberg does have some human-read audiobooks, but I’d be surprised if a Palm III can play them.

Not that a Palm III reading text book files from Project Gutenberg is a bad thing, but it’s not directly relevant to the OP’s question. :slight_smile:

(shrug) It answers the “visually read books” part of the question.

First, my apologies for deserting the thread. Got held up at work, then teaching last night and didn’t turn on the computer again 'till this morning.

Sincere thanks to everyone who answered. It appears that most, if not all, readers can handle an audiobook, but I’ll need to check with the library to see what format is best. I canvassed my friends and co-workers yesterday, and not one has any sort of reader. So I really don’t have anyone’s experience to go on.

To answer Thudlow Boink’s question above, I was hoping for a device that would allow web browsing (here, youTube, hulu, etc.) simply as a consumer. No keyboard needed, other than the ability for simple phrases in search engines (or URLs). I have wi-fi in my home, and I thought it would be a great feature.

I do have one more question, though. Terraplane was the first to mention an “e-ink” reader. What is that? Is the screen somehow different from other readers?