Recording Audio Books On Your Own

Recently I started thinking about recording my own audio books.  Since I love audio books so much I thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to try to record some of my own.  It seems that recording audio books wouldn’t be that difficult nowadays, since technology makes things so easy.  The truth is it is not that difficult.

Why Would you Want to Make Your Own Audio Book?

If you’re in the audio book business like I am you just may want to record your own books so you can give them away or sell them.  If you’re not you may just want to do something that’s more like podcasting.  I did some reading on this topic earlier and found that some people were actually recommending a program like Wave Lab.  I think it all depends on what you’re really trying to do. Most people won’t need something a sophisticated as Wave Lab until they get to a point where they are producing many audio books.  Wave Lab is a pretty expensive software program but they’re definitely cheaper options.

There is a free audio editing program called Audacity that you can do most of the things you need to produce a mini audio book or a podcast.  In the near future I will be able to direct you to a cheap video tutorial to show you how.  If you just want to create MP3 recordings to help with your studies or just make it easier to listen to some of those ebooks you may have purchased there is a program called TextAloud that can make recording audio books a breeze.  It basically is a text to speech software that produces recordings of existing text on your computer.  TextAloud uses voice synthesis to convert text into spoken audio. Listen on your PC or create MP3 or WMA files for use on portable devices like iPods, PocketPCs, and CD players.  This is a great productivity option for students and business people alike.

The package that I’m currently using is the Podcast Factory by M-Audio.  This is a happy medium because it isn’t as expensive as Wave Lab but has many more bells and whistles to help you produce quality audio while recording audio books.  Whether you are seriously considering recording your own audio books or just becoming more productive with your reading, class material or business documents there is a solution out there for you today.  Just keep in mind that the quality of your audio book recordings is dependent on the tools you use.

Business Audio Books Great For Continued Training

My career has had various stages but all of them have had a recurring theme. Lack of time has been pervasive and I know this is not just something that I struggle with. In the age of “let’s do more with less” rarely do we have the time to participate in offsite training and many companies may not even offer good onsite training. Even when you do take the time to participate you pay because you end up having to try to work more or harder to make up the time you spent participating in it. So what can you do? Listen to business audio books!

Business audio books are great for keeping up with all sorts of skills and latest trends on anything from management to sales and marketing to human resources. The available titles are endless. They also give you the flexibility of listening to them when you can. Whether it is during your commute or a flight on a business trip. They are typically abridged as well so you cut down on the time you would need to actually “read” the book.

Here are some good candidates for listening to business audio books:

1. How To Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie

This classic book is of value to anyone in business since I can’t find a business where you would not have to learn to deal with people in some way to help you succeed.

2. It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business – by Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton

So appropriate for today’s world of change. How to engineer an organization that can move quickly in the fast paced world of today. Be sure to click on the “See all 5 editions and formats” to get the audio version.

3. Management Challenges for the 21st Century – by Peter F. Drucker

The name says it all Peter Drucker is the name when it comes to business management and leadership. Being an expert of the industry and writing about it for an unbelievable 80 years, Drucker is not just talking from theory. This audio book thoroughly examines how business people can handle the management challenges coming in the 21st century. Be sure to look for the audio versions at the bottom of the description.

4. Winning – Jack Welch

You can’t deny that this guy knows how to win. You will appreciate his straight talk on what it takes to win in business.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – by Jim Collins

You can’t argue with the fact that “without the techniques and strategies, no company or business can excel beyond a few days, weeks or even months”. Businesses and companies that have stood the test of time for many years know what to do and they have done it right. Jim Collins took the time to conduct extensive researches into how and what companies did to maintain success for many long years, while their counterparts failed within a few months or years of starting up. The power of the information contained within this audio book can help any business person to succeed. Be sure to look for the audio versions at the bottom of the description.

These are just 5 audio books that can do a lot for your business and career. As you move forward in your career business audio books can make a significant difference in your career or your business. For good measure I will throw in 2 more books that I have found insightful in framing the way I think about business and how we all fit into the business world.

The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century – Thomas Friedman

Though some may not agree with it all as I found out with one of my husbands business colleagues. It opened my eyes into our new place in the world order and how we must fight to compete. Be sure to look for the audio versions at the bottom of the description.

E Myth Mastery – Michael Gerber

Essential for the small business owner who can’t see the forest for the trees.

I would love to hear other’s recommendations as well!

Can Audio Books Improve Your Vocabulary?

I was lucky enough to go to high school at the oldest public school in the United States.  It prides itself on many things including instilling in its students a love for the classics of literature.  This is probably the major reason why I find it easy to use vocabulary that may seem beyond many public school students today.  Can audio books help improve a person’s vocabulary?  Can they even improve their literacy rate?

Though I am not aware of any formal studies on the use of audio books I do know that as a parent I have been advised to read to my children as much as I can.  This not only helps them to learn new words but will hopefully instill in them the desire to read.  Absent any formal data you have to say it is pretty much a common sense conclusion.  If you never hear words used and better yet used in context you never quite feel comfortable using them.  This is even better illustrated by how people are advised to learn a new language.  Typically you need to hear the words in order to pronounce them correctly.  You need to hear or read them in context to understand how to use them.

Audio books are very popular for learning a language.  As someone who was born and raised in the United States with English as my primary language my background is Puerto Rican.  I know plenty of Spanish since it was spoken to me at home but nowadays since I do not get to listen to it as much the words are not as easily on the tip of my tongue when using Spanish.

In today’s hustle and bustle world where many of the younger generation is walking around with those ear phones stuck in their ears almost 100% of the time wouldn’t it be better to have them listen to audio books where they can expand their vocabularies and their minds?  I think so.  I am making it a point to not only read to my children but I also have bought them some good children’s audio books to listen to when I can’t read to them.  I am hoping to have them speaking a few languages by the time they are eighteen!

The Audio Books To Downloadable Audio Books Story

The trail from audio books to downloadable audio books has taken decades but some of us don’t even know what an audio book is.  What is an audio book?  An audio book goes by many names:

  • Spoken Word Book
  • Recorded Book
  • Talking Book

An audio book is the recording of a person reading the contents of a book out loud. One of the best definitions of audio books was given by William Swanson in the article "I Hear America Reading": "Audio books are one of those happy marriages of art and convenience loved by frenetic Americans. The idea … is to enable us to enjoy books – a traditionally solitary and concentration-intensive pastime – while doing something else – mowing the lawn, cruising the interstate – often in the company of others."  Whether we like that representation of us as Americans or not it is sadly true.

Audio books have been available for decades, becoming more popular in the 60’s as books on tape.  I am sure that there were recordings on the old album format as well but due to the lack of portability of that format didn’t get that much attention.  More recently we have books on CD.  The boom of the Internet technology and high-speed Internet connections made possible another breakthrough in the industry: downloadable audio books.  Oh the convenience!

Downloadable audio books are also known as digital audio books.  They are digital versions of the audio books. They can be listened to on a computer, on a CD player or on a portable MP3 player.  The best advantage of downloadable audio books, combined with the use of portable MP3 players is convenience. You can listen to  a full range of titles covering genres like fiction and nonfiction, childrens audio books, biographies…… all while doing repetitive and or boring tasks. This way, we can make the most of the "dead" moments we all have in our lives and increase our knowledge at the same time.

In fact, today you can find almost anything you can think of in a digital format, including radio dramas from the first decades of the 20th century.  The radio was the first place where we were entertained by stories in audio.  Downloadable audio books are becoming more and more popular these days because they are also cheaper than audio books on tape or CD.   The costs for storage are none depending on where you listen to the book and even if you decide to burn it to a CD it is much cheaper than buying the physical CD form.

So if you still think that you don’t have time to read, now you have no excuse. Buy a cheap MP3 player and buy some downloadable audio books, technology is making it so easy to enjoy the wonderful world of books … oh excuse me… downloadable audio books… ;o)

Abridged versus Unabridged Audio Books : Why Should You Care?


War and Peace Unabridged The Greatest Novel Ever Written

When I first started listening to audio books I was a little confused about some of the terminology.  I was not aware of what the differences were between abridged or unabridged audio books.  Simply put an unabridged audio book is read and recorded word for word.  An abridged audio book is shortened typically by an editor in a way that is meant to provide you with the best trade off between a valuable listening experience and your time.  When you read a book it is pretty straight forward.  You read the pages as they are laid out for you at the pace that you the reader are capable of reading.  Typically we read in our heads faster than we can read out loud.

When audio books initially came out they were produced on cassette.  Many factors influenced whether a book was abridged, one was the length of the book itself.  Most books when read out loud can be 20 to 40 hours long.  If you as an audio book buyer are looking to get the most out of your time you might not want to spend 40 hours listening to a book.  You may just want the best parts of the books read to you in a way that you will gain the maximum advantage with the least amount of time.  Production costs are also a factor.  I am sure that in the cassette days production costs were definitely higher at least for the physical product itself but downloadable audio books have dramatically decreased the physical costs of the product itself.  The other costs of course are still there like the work to abridge the work, narrate it and record it.

Besides time and costs there is a significant issue of preference.  Some audio book listeners want to experience the book as it was written.  Unabridged audio books allow that.  In some cases authors may or may not approve or be involved in the production of an abridged version of their work.  This is why when you buy an abridged audio book it may say something like “approved by the author” so that you know that at least they approved of the way the book was abridged.  Unabridged audio books are also good for listeners that may be visually impaired or that have reading challenges.

Some may think that abridged versions of written works compromise the quality of the original work.  I think it depends on the book.  Some books were never meant to be audio books.  Typically hard core text books don’t make good candidates.  The resulting abridged audio book may also end up being better than the original if the original had too much fluff that really didn’t add value to the book.  I take it on a case by case basis and look out for references regarding publishers and editors just in case I find a trend one way or another on whether I enjoy or don’t enjoy a particular audio book.  Personally I have found that I prefer unabridged versions of classic books like the pictured War and Peace which is a great choice for a heavy commuter.