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Old 08-07-2020, 06:36 AM   #1
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ECHO Plus without Audible

I bought my mother an Echo Plus for her 83rd birthday. She does not want an audible account and does not want to use mine. What are the best options for reading audiobooks through an Echo device?
Can the Echo work with RB Digital? That is the service used by our Library.
Thank you,
Apache
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:46 AM   #2
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I bought my mother an Echo Plus for her 83rd birthday. She does not want an audible account and does not want to use mine. What are the best options for reading audiobooks through an Echo device?
Can the Echo work with RB Digital? That is the service used by our Library.
Thank you,
Apache
You can connect a smart phone, tablet, or computer to the Echo using bluetooth and play any audiobook that way.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:56 AM   #3
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That is the way I will probably go. I sent an email to RBDigital, but have not had a reply yet. I was hoping she could use Alexa to download specific books directly from the library and listen to them.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:46 AM   #4
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That is the way I will probably go. I sent an email to RBDigital, but have not had a reply yet. I was hoping she could use Alexa to download specific books directly from the library and listen to them.
Apache
What JSWolf said. The only way to easily listen to non-Audible/Kindle books is to use the Echo as a bluetooth speaker, which makes it no better than any other non-Alexa bluetooth speaker.

But, she can use Alexa to request audio dramatizations and public domain audiobooks from Alexa's built-in music apps, either directly or via podcasts. This requires a bit of tedious work searching through lots of podcasts for something she may like and then writing down the EXACT words she needs to say in order to get Alexa to play them.

There are other Alexa Skills (apps) that can also play audiobooks and shows. Just search through the Alexa Skill Store under Music & Audio to find them.

Based on her age, I bet she likes big band music and old time radio shows. These are easily available using Alexa. I do it all the time.

BBC Radio is still big into audio dramatizations of audiobooks and audio shows (drama, comedy, etc). These can be requested using Alexa's built-in TuneIn app.

Built-in Music Apps
* Prime Music
* iHeartRadio
* TuneIn
* Apple Music
* Apple Podcasts
* Deezer
* Pandora
* Radio.com
* SiriusXM
* Spotify
* TIDAL
* Vevo

I'm sure I'm overlooking something, but this is a good start if you're so inclined to do the legwork.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 08-07-2020 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:13 PM   #5
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Tubemonkey, I was intrigued by your information. But also confused. Can Alexa play old-time radio shows from the Internet Archive? I searched skills and found one for Internet Archive, but it seems to be only for music.

Which skills have you used for old-time radio?

What I'm most interested in are anthology shows like Lux Radio Theater and Screen Guild Theater.

Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2020, 01:27 PM   #6
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Tubemonkey, I was intrigued by your information. But also confused. Can Alexa play old-time radio shows from the Internet Archive? I searched skills and found one for Internet Archive, but it seems to be only for music.

Which skills have you used for old-time radio?

What I'm most interested in are anthology shows like Lux Radio Theater and Screen Guild Theater.

Thanks!
I use TuneIn, which is a built-in skill.

Go to TuneIn and search. They're both there, but unfortunately, you have to request a specific episode. Not very conducive to easy listening.

What I do is search for an aggregator like 20th Century Radio and Relic Radio, a few of my favs. They play an assortment of episodes from all genres (drama, comedy, sci-fi, etc) from various shows like the ones you want. You'll need to see their schedule to see what'll be playing and when.

Some of the anthology series (CBS Radio Mystery Theater) are available from TuneIn as stand-alones, as opposed to being part of a mix from an aggregator.
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:41 PM   #7
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I use TuneIn, which is a built-in skill.

Go to TuneIn and search. They're both there, but unfortunately, you have to request a specific episode. Not very conducive to easy listening.

What I do is search for an aggregator like 20th Century Radio and Relic Radio, a few of my favs. They play an assortment of episodes from all genres (drama, comedy, sci-fi, etc) from various shows like the ones you want. You'll need to see their schedule to see what'll be playing and when.

Some of the anthology series (CBS Radio Mystery Theater) are available from TuneIn as stand-alones, as opposed to being part of a mix from an aggregator.
Thanks. It sounds WAY too complicated; seems a lot easier to play directly from Internet Archive or download from there.
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:44 PM   #8
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Thanks. It sounds WAY too complicated; seems a lot easier to play directly from Internet Archive or download from there.
You can play directly from TuneIn or any number of other sources and podcasts. Getting Alexa to play them is definitely more complicated than getting her to play Audible/Kindle books.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:15 PM   #9
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You can play directly from TuneIn or any number of other sources and podcasts. Getting Alexa to play them is definitely more complicated than getting her to play Audible/Kindle books.
Playing Audible/Kindle books isn't part of my Alexa repertoire either. I stick to telling her to play Amazon music, and even that is infrequent.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:29 PM   #10
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Playing Audible/Kindle books isn't part of my Alexa repertoire either. I stick to telling her to play Amazon music, and even that is infrequent.
If only Amazon would allow us to upload our books from other sources to our Audible/Kindle libraries. But that'll never happen in Amazon's garden.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:56 PM   #11
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What is a good MP3 player for audiobooks, with Bluetooth, that will work with Echo devices? Specifically that would allow her to tell Alexa to play a specific book, pause, rewind and fast forward. My mother only has peripheral vision.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:39 PM   #12
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What is a good MP3 player for audiobooks, with Bluetooth, that will work with Echo devices? Specifically that would allow her to tell Alexa to play a specific book, pause, rewind and fast forward. My mother only has peripheral vision.
Apache
What kind of books do you have in mind?

Books still under copyright can only be requested from Audible/Kindle.

Public domain books can be requested from some websites, but it requires a bit of tedious work searching through lots of podcasts for something she may like and then writing down the EXACT words she needs to say in order to get Alexa to play them. Even then, it's hit or miss. I doubt your mother would want to do this.

Google Home devices can play audiobooks from the Google Play Store via voice commands, but that's another walled garden.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:45 PM   #13
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What is a good MP3 player for audiobooks, with Bluetooth, that will work with Echo devices? Specifically that would allow her to tell Alexa to play a specific book, pause, rewind and fast forward. My mother only has peripheral vision.
Apache
Would your mother qualify for:

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled
Quote:
National Library Service (NLS) is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:04 PM   #14
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I love my Echo Show but honestly Alexa is a pain with third party apps (or at least my favorites). It plays spotify (one song request) but is very glitchy so I mainly bluetooth from my phone to it as a speaker when using that app. I also bluetooth from my phone for Scribd since it doesn't support that app at all. It doesn't play my podcasts with the Pocketcast app either, so again have to use phone.... It works great with Audible, of course, but it may be too much of a pain for her to try to use another app with it if she's going to use it often.
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