With the growing popularity of smartphones, more people are listening to audio books on their smartphone now than before. People are reading physical paperback books less and less because they are bulky and you have to remember to bring them along. Some people have transitioned to reading eBooks on their smartphones or iPads. This is fine and can be useful if you are on a long bus or train commute. However, you still have to actually read the words with your eyes. It is pretty difficult to read if you are exercising, driving, riding a bike, or walking — which you should not be doing anyway since it is dangerous.
The better alternative is to listen to audible books. You can listen with your smartphone with headphone or with your smartphone’s external speaker. Now you can have something to listen to while you exercise. Walking is great exercise, but it takes a lot of time. Why not listen to audio books at the same time. Get two things done at once. They only extra weight is your smartphone (and you are carrying it with you anyway).
Listen to Audio books on your Smartphone with Audible.com
One great way to listen to audio books on your smartphone is to join audible.com. They have various monthly cost subscription plans. The low cost plan lets you download one audio book per month. (Actually, you get one “credit” per month. And most books for members costs one “credit”.) And if you want to purchase more books than this, you can always purchase the audio book from audible.com at a discounted price if you are a member.
If you don’t want to join their monthly payment plans, because you don’t want to pay each month. That’s fine. You can purchase audiobooks on a per-book basis. But buying one audiobook on audible.com is more expensive than the cost you pay each month for a membership subscription. So if you find that you are purchasing one or more books per month, a subscription will be more economical. You can cancel the membership at any time and rejoin at any time. In many cases, you may find that the cost per month is lower than the cost of many eBooks on Amazon.
As a sidenote, Audible.com is owned by Amazon.com. So if you have an Amazon.com account, which many people do, you can use your Amazon username/email and password to log into audible.
Audible Apps for SmartPhones
There are audible smartphone apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. To enable your smartphone to play audio books for you, the steps are …
1. First create an account on audible.com if you don’t already have an Amazon.com account. You can use you home computer to do this.
2. Then using your smartphone, download and install the Audible app on your smartphone. If you are on an iPhone, you can go to Apple App Store on your smartphone. If you are on Android, you can go to Android Market on your smartphone.
3. After installing audible app on your smartphone, launch it and log in. You should see one small sample excerpt of an audio book in your “Library” which Audible has provided for you for as a free sample to let you learn how to use your app.
4. The central page on your app is call your “Library”. From that page, you can tap on the shopping cart icon (or press menu on your Android phone and tap “Shop”). From here, you can browse, find, and purchase your audio books. You can also purchase your audio books from your browser on your home computer as well.
5. If you have already purchased audio books via audible.com on your browser on your home computer. Then you want to click the “refresh” icon to refresh your Library view. And you should see audio books that you have purchased. If the book, has not already been downloaded to your phone, tap the “download icon” next to the book and click tap “download”. The audio book will download directly to your phone.
6. Although it is possible to download the audio books directly onto your smartphone, remember that audio books are large files with many megabytes. If the file is too large, it may require an WiFi connection turned on in your phone. Also, if you do not have an unlimited data plan with your phone and you go over your data usage, it can be expensive. On some plans, if you use a WiFi connection instead of using a mobile data connection, then you may save on data usage. You need to check with your smartphone data plan to see what charges you might incur if you are downloading audio books directly to your phone.
Transferring Audio Books to Smartphone
So an alternate way to get the audio books onto your phone is to transfer the audio books from your computer to your phone via direct USB cable. This is how …
1. Using your browser on your home computer, go to audible.com, log in, and purchase the book from the website.
2. Still on your browser on your computer, you click to “Your Library” on the audible.com website and you should see all the books that you have purchased. Click the download button on the book that you want to download to your computer. If you are doing this for the first time, you will need to install the “Audio Download Manager” and the “Audio Manager” on your computer. These software run on your computer and enable audible.com to download the audio books onto your computer hard disk. Now you are using the data bandwidth on your computer (which is typically unlimited) to download rather than using your smartphone’s mobile data plan.
3. After the download has completed, launch Audio Manager on your computer and you will see the audio book in Audio Manager. You can play the audio book right from Audio Manager on your computer.
4. But the whole point is to be able to play it on your smartphone. No problem. First plug in your smartphone to your computer via an USB cable and mount your phone as a disk drive.
5. Now on the lower-left panel on Audio Manager titled “Mobile Devices”, you should see an extra item show up as “Card Reader”. That is your smartphone’s card reader. Select that and you will see the books that are already on your device in the bottom panel. You want to drag the purchased audio book from the Library panel to your mobile device panel as shown in the picture below. The audio book file will now be copied from your computer to your smartphone. Now you can play it in both places. The transfer should be relatively quick since the bits are traveling through the USB cable connected to your smartphone. The best thing is that the transfer does not use up your wireless data plan on your phone.
6. After the transfer completes, use the “Safely remove hardware and Eject Media” icon on your computer to “eject” your mobile phone device and your mounted disk drive. Now you can safely unconnect your phone from your computer.
7. When you go into you Audible app on your smartphone, tap into your “Library” and click the “refresh” icon and you should see the audio book that you have just transferred to your phone. Play and enjoy your books as usual.
Free for Audible Members
Audible.com will occasionally provide free excerpts and short stories to its members. Just go to audible.com website on your browser on your computer, sign in, and click the “Free for Members” tab. Among the free items is either a subscription to the digital audio version of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal (one or the other — not both). But you can switch between the two at any time. Once subscribed, the daily episodes will show up in your Library and you can download as usual.
Features of Audio Book Listening on SmartPhone
When you listen to audio books using Audible smartphone app, the app has some extra features such as “sleep” mode. This means that you can set your phone to play the audio book for a fixed duration and then stop (in case you fall asleep). Don’t worry if you missed part of the reading, you can jump back and forward to any point. And you can even bookmark. There is also a button to go back “30 seconds” — in case you weren’t paying attention and was not listening.