Audio book information

Three formats

All the novels listed on this site are available for free in audio-book form. The books are narrated by a computer-generated voice.  Three different formats are provided: MP3, M4b, and WMA.

  1. The most widely used format is the (three layer) MP3 format, which is also the oldest. Most portable audio players and desktop media players are MP3-capable player. The format is not bookmark capable.
  2. Most of the "Apple" iPod family of portable audio players, as well as the iTunes software package for desktop computers, use the more advanced (four layer) M4b audio-book format that provides the capability for setting bookmarks. The bookmark feature is highly desirable when listening to long chapters that need to be interrupted. Stopping the playback automatically sets a bookmark.
  3. Another modern format specifically designed for audio books is the Microsoft developed WMA format. It is specially tailored for speech and plays on the desktop's "Windows Media Player." The player does not use bookmarks, but can be restarted at any point.

Note: Many hand-held audio players will simulate a bookmark. When the player is stopped, and after a time-out period powers itself down, in most cases the player saves its current state and restarts at this state after power-on.

Downloading

In order to download the book files please right-click on the selected chapter and select, "Save Link As" or "Save Target As," which transfers the audio file to your computer to be used with media player software.

Once the file is downloaded you may double-click on the downloaded file to activate the audio software on your computer, or select the file with your player software.

Most media player software packages can be obtained for free on the Internet. For example at:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/10/default.aspx - for Microsoft's Windows Media Player

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/ - for Quicktime

 

How the audio books came about

The main reason for creating the audio books was 'suggested' to me.. Some time ago a reader sent me a note of thanks for the online books, adding that he had difficulty seeing whereby long term reading was out of the question for him. He said he got around the problem by pasting the online text of the novels into a text-to-audio conversion program, one page at a time. With this comment the idea was born that I should this service for all who find themselves in a similar situation. After a rather extensive search, and testing more than a dozen computer generated voices, a suitable voice was found that proved to be useful for interesting and long-duration listening. From this point on, a long time later and after what turned out to be a Herculean effort, all of my 14 novels (188 chapters) have been converted to this electronic audio form, some 225 hours in all. The resulting books are offered for fee. Some time in future when the resources become available, the obviously superior human narration may become possible by which the audio books become upgraded. Till then, however, I submit the computer generated version with my best regards for whatever benefits they may provide.

With love,

Rolf A. F. Witzsche

January 2009