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How to Listen to Audio Books

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are an avid reader but have been unable to budget as much time as you would like to reading books, "read" on the go by listening to audio books. An audio book is an audio recording of a book, often read by the author, or by an actor or a group of actors. Listen to audio books recorded onto cassettes, CDs or MP3 files using an audio player or a computer, which typically comes with free audio-playing software pre-installed.

Put an audio book recorded on a cassette tape into a audio cassette player, such as a standalone unit that runs off AC current, a portable device that you listen to with earphones, or a tape deck connected to a home stereo or installed in your vehicle. Press the "Play" button to listen to the audio book. Press the "Stop" button to stop, and press the "Forward" or "Backward" buttons to skip ahead or behind in the tape as needed.

Insert a CD containing a recording of an audio book into a home CD player, a CD deck in the dashboard of your vehicle, or a portable CD player. Press the control buttons to play an audio book, pause it or stop it, or skip ahead or behind. An audio book on a CD may be formatted so that each track is a single chapter, which means you can skip ahead to the next chapter by pressing the forward button. Put the audio book CD into the optical drive in your computer, and use the free, pre-installed music-playing application (Windows Media Player or iTunes on a Mac) to listen to the audio book.

Download MP3 files of an audio book from a site on the Internet, either free public domain audio books, or ones that you purchase from a store, or rip an audio book CD to MP3s. Listen to them on your computer with a free, pre-installed audio application such as iTunes or Windows Media Player, or transfer them to a portable MP3 player and listen to them through headphones wherever you go. Some portable MP3 players will remember the point in the audio book when you paused playback or turned off the device, so the next time you turn it on you can start listening right where you left off.

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About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.