I use Audiobooks and Podcasts to get through all my mundane tasks and roadtrips. I use them in the classroom as a center. They are great to put on your classroom computers and create an easily navigated listening lab. Many of these accompany their books with the pdf so students can read along.
While I have been tempted to start paying for an Audible account, the monthly cost and a fee for each download starts to add up. Good thing there are free options!
Though I can’t always get the most recent titles, I have started a collection of other places and services where I can get books for free. Please share if you have others. I am keeping mine in my diigo account as well.
ThoughtAudio.com - Pretty interface and great classic titles. I love Chekov!
Librivox - “free voice” public domain works read by regular folks. You can query librivox in the iTunes store as well, but searching the catalog is easier through the online site. A big poetry section as well.
There are online story sites that stream readings like Storyline, but some of us don’t have the bandwidth to support it.
In iTunes, search the store for many free downloads:
Classic Tales Podcast – a great dramatic reader. A lot of Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Carrol and other good ones.
Lit2Go from University of Southern Florida has all sorts of podcasts with accompanying text and broken down by grade level. Use their literature, technology, math resources and more.
BBC National Short Story Award download – search for them in iTunes. Remarkable and touching stories well-deserving of their recognition.
Public Libraries - Tucson Pima Public Library has two services for card holders: Overdrive and NetLibrary. These two services have many recent books and are easy to search for Audio and eBooks. Two drawbacks however: you have to install their media manager software (Mac is questionable) and many of the titles are not available in iPod-usable formats. If you have another mp3 player you can use everything available. Please check into these. The libraries pay a lot for them and we should make sure they are getting their money worth!