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Old 01-14-2018, 02:06 PM   #1
Chris Gralapp
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What device to use?

I listen to audiobooks in bed. I have poor vision, so I like a listening device that I can operate by touch, rather than by looking at a display, if possible. For this reason, I use a CD player (Walkman!) with manual controls--I can 'rewind', fast forward etc., fairly easily by touch, without having to look.

BTW, I have a great library system here where I live that has a huge selection of CD books. I also use Hoopla sometimes, and have used Audible and Audiobooks.com, but prefer the free option of the library materials. I use Overdrive, too sometimes.

I know CD players are a dying technology. Are there any equivalent devices for digitally downloaded audiobooks? I have been purchasing old Walkman players on eBay, but this will probably not be viable forever. I also use a Sansa Fuse, which I love, but it has a clunky interface, and is hard to navigate. Maybe there is a small, updated, easy to navigate equivalent to the Sansa Fuse? I really need to be able to restart my story where I have left off--that is super important.

I realized that there are a lot of topics and questions here, but I would love to get a bead on the most efficient devices folks are using. Thanks!

Chris
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chris Gralapp View Post
I listen to audiobooks in bed. I have poor vision, so I like a listening device that I can operate by touch, rather than by looking at a display, if possible. For this reason, I use a CD player (Walkman!) with manual controls--I can 'rewind', fast forward etc., fairly easily by touch, without having to look.

BTW, I have a great library system here where I live that has a huge selection of CD books. I also use Hoopla sometimes, and have used Audible and Audiobooks.com, but prefer the free option of the library materials. I use Overdrive, too sometimes.

I know CD players are a dying technology. Are there any equivalent devices for digitally downloaded audiobooks? I have been purchasing old Walkman players on eBay, but this will probably not be viable forever. I also use a Sansa Fuse, which I love, but it has a clunky interface, and is hard to navigate. Maybe there is a small, updated, easy to navigate equivalent to the Sansa Fuse? I really need to be able to restart my story where I have left off--that is super important.

I realized that there are a lot of topics and questions here, but I would love to get a bead on the most efficient devices folks are using. Thanks!

Chris
Hi, Chris, and welcome to MobileRead!

I like to listen to audiobooks in bed, too. You've mentioned your poor vision and I hope you won't be offended by my suggestion, as I don't know how limited it is. For what it's worth, I had close to a year of extremely limited vision (I was lucky in that it was temporary) and audiobooks were a godsend. Would it work for you to have a tablet in conjunction with a Bluetooth speaker for audiobook playback? At least with a tablet, you could make the typeface/web pages very large and the controls on the native apps (OverDrive, Audible) would be accessible. This would be good in particular because the controls tends to be nice, whether it's jumping forward or back, speeding up the playback, or setting up a sleep timer. I'm addicted to my sleep timer, myself. It makes it so much easier to find the place where I dropped off.

I have a few Sansa devices, but I really prefer the Android/iOS apps and it means you don't have to transfer the audiobooks to the device, but just download them.
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:20 AM   #3
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Hey Chris, welcome aboard

Another option is to use an Amazon Echo or an Alexa enabled device. Using voice commands, it will play Audible books and read eligible Kindle books you have in your library. See the links below for detailed information.

Listen to Your Audiobooks
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Alexa can play audiobooks and other premium audio programming from Audible and Kindle Unlimited.

Alexa also supports Whispersync for Voice, which keeps track of the current playback position in the audiobook. You can start listening to an audiobook on your Alexa device and pick up where you left off by reading (or listening to) the same title on another compatible Amazon device or app. If you ask to listen to an audiobook you don't own, Alexa plays a short sample from the start of the book from Audible.
Read Kindle Books with Alexa
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You can ask Alexa to read eligible Kindle books in your library.

Alexa can read Kindle books that support Text-to-Speech technology used for Wikipedia articles, news articles, and calendar events.
Supported Alexa Features (Device Compatibility)
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Some Alexa features aren't supported on all Alexa devices at this time. Find your device below to see unsupported features.

All Alexa features are listed at Alexa Help. To get started with Alexa, go to Things to Try.

Note: Some Alexa features and services may vary by country.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 01-15-2018 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:19 AM   #4
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Hey Chris, welcome aboard

Another option is to use an Amazon Echo or an Alexa enabled device. Using voice commands, it will play Audible books and read eligible Kindle books you have in your library. See the links below for detailed information.
Oh, excellent suggestion, tm! I never thought of it. And sleep timers work with Audible playback, too, for those of us who listen in bed.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
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Thank you for your suggestions--it is certainly a brave new world out there for listening! I should have added that I need to be stealthy with my listening, as I don't want to awaken my husband! So 'out loud' options are not as optimal as quiet ones. I am very myopic, and can't see at all well with my glasses off, so a larger screen is a good idea. The other thing is that I like to drift off to sleep while listening, and hand/touch controls are great because I don't need to stare into a bright light and wake myself up while I am trying to rewind a little bit.
I do have an Amazon Echo device in my kitchen, I will try it with books! Sounds fun.

The reason I like audiobooks so much is several-fold--I have always loved being read to--what little kid doesn't like a bedtime story? I can read so many more books, too, this way. I am a slow reader, and my eyes get physically tired when I read in the usual way, ever since I had retinal detachment surgery in my 20's. I go into a panic if I don't have a stack of books waiting for me to listen to! Once I lost my Sansa device on a plane to Africa, and I was 'audio-bookless' for three weeks! Oh the humanity...

Anyway, thanks so much for the warm welcome--I will keep searching for the perfect bedtime listening hardware.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Gralapp View Post
Thank you for your suggestions--it is certainly a brave new world out there for listening! I should have added that I need to be stealthy with my listening, as I don't want to awaken my husband! So 'out loud' options are not as optimal as quiet ones. I am very myopic, and can't see at all well with my glasses off, so a larger screen is a good idea. The other thing is that I like to drift off to sleep while listening, and hand/touch controls are great because I don't need to stare into a bright light and wake myself up while I am trying to rewind a little bit.
I do have an Amazon Echo device in my kitchen, I will try it with books! Sounds fun.

The reason I like audiobooks so much is several-fold--I have always loved being read to--what little kid doesn't like a bedtime story? I can read so many more books, too, this way. I am a slow reader, and my eyes get physically tired when I read in the usual way, ever since I had retinal detachment surgery in my 20's. I go into a panic if I don't have a stack of books waiting for me to listen to! Once I lost my Sansa device on a plane to Africa, and I was 'audio-bookless' for three weeks! Oh the humanity...

Anyway, thanks so much for the warm welcome--I will keep searching for the perfect bedtime listening hardware.
Chris, so as not to disturb your husband, how about a product like this? Sleepphones It wouldn't solve the control issue, but it would resolve the stealth issue.

I've had three retinal detachments (same retina each time) and it's miserable, but at least I wasn't in my 20s. Still, we're lucky to live in an age of miracles.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:04 PM   #7
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With an Amazon Alexa, you can use bluetooth headphones.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:38 PM   #8
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Hi Chris,

Sorry to hear about the retinal detachments. Scary stuff. My brother has lost one eye to retinal detachment and has had surgery for a detachment on the other eye. He has very little vision left but keeps moving on.

I'm not sure my suggestion is anything you're interested in but I'll throw it out there. It"s the Humanware Victor Reader Stream.

Copied and pasted from their website......

Victor Reader Stream (New Generation)

Quick Overview

Handheld media player for the blind and visually impaired.
Plays DAISY books, MP3, MP4, EPUB, and many other media formats.
Records voice and media with built-in microphone or line-in.
Two built-in, human-sounding voices for a pleasant text-to-speech experience.
Built-in wireless networking capability.
Weighs less than 4 ounces (110 grams).
Available in the following languages: English, Arabic, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Faroese, French, Finnish, German, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Slovenian, Swedish, Turkish

it has an sd slot so you could transfer your Overdrive or Audible books to it..

"Supports up to 32GB removable SD cards and external USB flash drives;
Read books from DAISY libraries: NLS, Bookshare, Learning Ally;
Enjoy books and music from iTunes;
Play text documents with built-in text-to-speech from Acapela."
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:41 PM   #9
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What about an Amazon Fire tablet?

The bad, visual rather than tactile controls, and maybe larger than what you'd prefer.

The good, Audible, Overdrive, Hoopla apps and good text to speech reading of Kindle ebooks.

Last edited by Alohamora; 01-15-2018 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 01-24-2018, 07:34 PM   #10
Chris Gralapp
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Thanks everyone--I think I might be interested in the Victor reader at some point, when my Walkman finally dies! There are definitely Pros and Cons to all the players, but this one looks like it has what I want--something I can operate by touch in the dark.
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:29 PM   #11
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Hi again Chris.

After reading and replying to this post I got curious and started nosing around for something cheaper.

What I found that might work and CAN be much cheaper than the Victor Reader is a speaker with an sd card slot (sometimes called a tf slot). There are several cheap ones on Amazon. They usually have tactile buttons which I know you're looking for and support up to 32 gig cards. Most are bluetooth and waterproof or water resistant which may or may not be a useful feature. There's no easy way to navigate but it looks like they will play things in the order they were added to the card. Of course, no support for DRMed / audible files. I'm sure I saw some that supported bookmarks but I honestly don't remember which ones. Battery life is all over the board so I would rely on reviews if possible.

I'm actually considering one the MiFa or Anxon models to have as backup for my ipod touch 5th gen / UE Roll 2 setup I'm currently using. The Roll is very flat and fits under my pillow nicely but only has volume controls which can be a problem at times.

Good luck on your quest and I hope I haven't muddied the waters too much.
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:34 AM   #12
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Hey Chris, welcome aboard

Another option is to use an Amazon Echo or an Alexa enabled device....Compatibility)
whihc I am now testing with very mixed results.
i have joined audible and can get those books to play in the android app and on all my eligible devices

alexa can aleggedly "read" any kindle book I won, and any KU I have on load. yes she can IF I tell her use the amaon echo device we have, but alexa on my sonos speaker just says something went wrong, and alexa in the android app on my moto phone fails also. and fails with "play on this device" option...

can someone please provide a detailed grid of hat's supposed to work, where and how, as I'd rather not waste a day testing all permutations, like does it matter if its a Kindle unlimited loan or not...
and without getting out of the cupboard, I expect my Fire tablet would work, but probably not my Huawei etc etc...

I'm guessing that mu phone lacks the decryption key for Kindle text, as I only installed alexa and not the amazon kindle app also- maybe??? OTOH it can see the books OK under the " play" options in Alexa app.
nothing on amazon help about that, as they never mention the DRM...
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:38 AM   #13
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update.
for the test kindle book from KU
alexa on the HUawei media pad can read it on the device. ( which has variosu other amazon apps instlled
but alexa on a Moto 6 android phone, which has No other amazon apps installed, fails for "play on this device"
stupid app should not present unworkable options ?
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Old 07-16-2021, 10:32 AM   #14
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:46 AM   #15
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ok but all on IOS devices or are their other criteria.
e.g. on a standard i-phone, will alexa read your kindle books through the i-phone headphones/speaker ? or does it need to be a recent model....

I am hoping that someone has worked through all the android options and will save me hours of experimenting ( as we have 2 different android phones, 2 non-amazon tablts, 2 amazon tablets, Echo, Sonos, Addon Pro, FIre TVs... all contenders for audio playback of the alexa AI " reading" my owned/borrowed kindle books out loud. ( she sounds confinvingly human when reading )

a better understanding of how the amazon kindle decyrption works in google app store apps like alexa runnign on variosu android platorms would be helpful also.
i know that with actual kindles, each book you download is DRMd for a specific hardware reader, but how does that apply when you have apps on tablets running someone else's OS ?
AFAIK when alexa "reads" a kindle book via the alexa app on my tablet, the whole book text never leaves amazon cloud, it's not on my device at all, it's streamed somehow, and in theory I can divert the audio stream to any device visible to alexa ( which is where the whole thread started) ?
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