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I have tried to convince many friends to listen to audio books online. This really is not any different to reading a regular book, except that someone else’s voice does the reading for you. Apparently the move from the ‘traditional book’ to a compact disc or mp3 has resulted in a large group of skeptical people who doubt that it is possible to truly appreciate a novel by listening, rather than physically reading. Funnily, it is actually the younger people that are harder to convince to give it a go.

Because my grandmother had grown up listening to stories told on the radio she was more than willing to listen to audio books online – in fact, she found it a pleasure as she could sit quite comfortably, do her cross stitch or even do the gardening while she listens to the recordings. Audio books have been around for a very long time, in fact, many of our grandparents grew up listening to the British Broadcasting Company with its serialized classics. History shows that as early as 1933 an anthropologist J.P. Harrington researched and recorded the oral histories of the Native American tribes.

The American Congress saw a need to provide extra resources for people with sight impairment, and as a result the “Books for the Adult Blind Project” was initiated. This project was the stepping stone for audio books or ‘talking books’ and before long the mass reproduction of them began. In later years the National Library Service provided a much needed public-service for blind citizens across America by recording millions of books in an audio format.

Audio Books and Popular Culture

Massive advancement in technology has driven the audio book online format into the reach of consumers who embraced the development with enthusiasm. It was in the early 1960s when the introduction of the portable cassette player recorder allowed ease of use. This coincided with the ever increasing popularity of the pursuit for self-improvement. This style of recordings, with emphasis on instructional or educational subjects, became very popular. Self-help audio-books were well and truly in vogue and the initiative was expanded to include audio books on a wide variety of general topics such as the humanities.

Audio book recordings became even bigger and quickly a market was created that catered for people wanting to rent popular titles. Listening to audio book online became a multi billion-dollar industry and producers helped the industry grow by introducing high-quality recordings done with large casts of voices.

Today, the audio book concept has embraced leading edge technology which has made the product much more accessible to the general public than ever before. The vast array of product available can now be easily downloaded from the web and its formats incorporated into any digital listening device such as cell phones, MP3 players and iPpods. In view of this modern and cutting edge tools, it is highly likely that the young people of today might even gain an appreciation for a classical author such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare.

It is ironic that the advent of the audio book online has not fully replaced printed books version but instead has only highlighted the joys of books in general.

Many ask what we should expect of the thriving and interesting market of Audio Books. Audio books have been here for over 20 years and they have become very popular in the last few years but yet I claim that the audio books revolution has only just begun.

Find out the hot trends in the audio books market:

1. Less audio books on CD and cassettes and more downloadable audio books MP3 audio books and other formats of digital audio books will become cheaper and more reachable, While audio books on CD and books on tape are much less convenient and user friendly. The amount of podcast listeners who download audio books from the internet to listen on their mobile devices such as iPod will rise significantly.

2. Audio book rental services are becoming the most common method of listening to audio books Similar to the DVD market, a lot of the audio book listeners will prefer renting audio books instead of buying them. This trend will become more strong for downloadable audio books but also true for audio books on CD and books on tape.

3. Free audio books More online audio book services are offering low cost and free audio books by free trials and special sales and this trend will increase.

4. Audio books has definitely invaded Europe While the audio book market in the United kingdom is continuing to develop. It had reached a turnover of 180$ million in 2006 and is growing just as fast today. The market in Germany is also constantly rising and had already reached a turnover of 150$ million in 2006. The audio book market in the whole continent of Europe is expected to rise about 20% yearly.

Sony has also recognized the booming market of digital audio books and has in the recent years been the leader in the production of audio book readers, the portable audio book mobile player. These products simply allow the readers of audiobooks to store and listen to digital audio books. Audio book readers like audio books themselves have gained almost similar popularity as the “iPod”.

Audio books will become a part of everyone,s life in the not too distant future. Come on and join the audio book revolution today. You are very likely to enjoy the fun and convenience of reading an audio-book.

When you load a CD into your computer’s CD-ROM reader, it automatically loads iTunes and then, if it’s set up with its default, will begin loading the audio files onto the hard disk drive. But what happens if you have downloaded an audio book file from an Internet site directly to your hard disk drive? There’s an additional few steps because of the digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.

If the audio books you have downloaded are subject to DRM and you need to enter a password etc when you first use them, you need to open them initially on your hard disk and complete the signature process.

Next, burn the files to a CD-ROM using Windows Media Player (Windows operating systems come with Windows Media Player as a free add-on) or some other software program that will burn CD-ROMs. Leave the CD in your computer CD reader.

Open iTunes and on the left side of the screen you will see the title “Audio CD” under Devices. Look to the bottom right of the iTunes screen for a button that says “Import CD”. Click that button and iTunes will begin to download the audio book files from your CD to your hard disk.

If the audio titles that are imported simply state Track 1, Track 2 etc, right click on them and select Get Info and then rename them to something you can better understand, for example, Wonderful_Ways_to_love_a_Granchild_ Part 1.

Make a new Playlist with the title something like “Audio Books” and drag the newly titled files into that playlist. Then, when you want to find them on your iPod, you will find it much easier.

Depending on whether you have your iTunes program set for Automatic or Manual Synchronisation, when you attach your iPod, iTunes will automatically begin copying the audio book files and Playlist title to your iPod. If it’s not automatic, you will need to highlight the audio book files and select the Synchronise option.

Because audio book files can be huge, I tend to zip them and backup a copy to my external, portable hard disk drive which I use to store data instead of bogging down my laptop hard disk drive. If I need them again, I can quickly unzip and download or listen to them directly from the hard disk.

If you collect a lot of audio books and want to keep them, you need to get a storage device specially for them as they take up a lot of room and, let’s face it, once you’ve paid for them you don’t want to lose them.

This article should help you copy files from your hard disk drive to your iPod so you can enjoy them any time, anywhere … one of the distinct advantages of audio books. I also like the fact that I can store them electronically and not in a bookshelf (no dusting or tidying up and little space!).

Happy listening.