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Audio textbooks for college students

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Audio textbooks for college students can help overcome reading difficulties, correct pronunciation, improve material comprehension, and allow for multitasking!

Audio textbooks for college students

Regardless of which college you attend, you’re bound to come across subjects that will require thorough studying and complete dedication. This can, unfortunately, be frustrating for any student—college or high school—as it will take up more of your time. So, is there a solution to cumbersome study material? Can you somehow breeze through the problem and still pass your college exams? Naturally, the only real answer to getting your grades is to study hard and give it all you’ve got. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to make learning and studying easier with the help of the right educational resources. One such example are audio textbooks! Audio textbooks and eTextbooks provide a more efficient way of getting a grip on your subject material. Let’s dive into why they’re such a game-changer.

How audio textbooks work

Audio textbooks, as the name suggests, are essentially the spoken version of traditional printed textbooks. Imagine having someone read out your entire textbook to you, chapter by chapter, page by page. That's what an audio textbook does, but in a more organized and professional manner. At the core of an audio textbook is a narrator. This narrator is often a professional voice artist who has been trained to read out content in a clear and engaging manner. The narrator goes through the entire textbook, reading out all the content, including explanations, examples, and even footnotes in some cases. The aim is to ensure that the listener gets the same level of information and understanding as someone who is reading the book. The process of creating an audio textbook starts with selecting the right narrator. The choice of narrator can vary based on the subject of the textbook. For instance, a textbook on ancient history might have a narrator with a deep, authoritative voice to give a sense of gravitas, while a textbook on modern art might have a narrator with a lively and enthusiastic tone. Once the narrator is chosen, they go into a recording studio. Here, they sit with a copy of the textbook and start reading it out loud while the audio is recorded. This recording process can take several days, as the narrator has to ensure that they pronounce every word correctly, maintain a consistent pace, and take breaks at the right points to allow the listener to absorb the information. After the recording is done, the audio is then edited. This means removing any mistakes, pauses, or external noises that might have been captured during the recording. The aim is to produce a clean, clear, and smooth audio track that listeners can easily follow. The final audio is then divided into chapters or sections, corresponding to the chapters in the printed textbook. This makes it easy for students to navigate through the audio textbook and find the specific sections or topics they want to focus on. Now, how do students access these audio textbooks? They are often available in digital formats, such as MP3 or AAC, which can be played on a variety of devices like smartphones, tablets, or computers. Students can download the audio textbook onto their device and listen to it using any standard audio player app. This flexibility allows students to study on the go, whether they're commuting, exercising, or just relaxing at home. In essence, audio textbooks take the traditional printed textbook and transform it into a format that can be listened to. This not only provides an alternative way of studying for those who might find reading challenging but also offers a versatile option for those looking to make the most of their time.

Why audio textbooks are a great option for college students

Audio textbooks contain the same type of material as a print textbook, but are instead offered in an audio format. Audio textbooks come in various forms, some as audio CDs and now some others as stream-able or downloadable audio formats. One reason why audio textbooks are becoming so popular because they allow students with reading difficulties to consume written material like everyone else. As such, audio textbooks are perfect for people with dyslexia, students with ADHD, people who have suffered brain injuries which affect their ability to focus on reading text, or anyone with impaired vision. Audio textbooks are also a great tool for busy college students who want to learn while on-the-go. You can save time studying by listening to textbook chapters on the way to your next lecture, while commuting to your part-time or full-time job, when doing chores at your dorm or home, while exercising or at the gym, and virtually anywhere else you can imagine. Additionally, numerous studies suggest that audiobooks—eTextbooks included—improve literacy skills. They can increase your reading speed, broaden your vocabulary, and even correct your pronunciation. The latter is critical for students who are taking classes in their second language or for foreign exchange students. Nevertheless, by listening and reading simultaneously, studies show that students begin to comprehend written material better. This in itself is one of the most important benefits of audio textbooks, as it increases the chances of you passing any exam and retaining the material.

How to find and download audio textbooks

Nowadays, you can find many audio textbooks on the internet. Various online publishers and retailers offer titles that deal with pretty much all subjects. From physics and computer science to history and art, it’s all online. The most popular services for audio textbooks include Amazon’s premium audiobooks service and OverDrive.


Speechify is a text to speech app that’s taking the world by storm. After all, it’s the number one rated TTS tool on app stores. Why the high praise for Speechify? Three main features of Speechify make the program stand out from other TTS tools: optical character recognition (OCR), realistic AI voices, and powerful machine learning. Speechify’s OCR component also allows for transcribing the handwritten text into speech by snapping a photo of it. You can customize your listening experience by adjusting the reading speed, choosing between more than 30 natural-sounding narrators, switching between different languages (perfect for students taking a foreign language class), and many more features. Another reason why Speechify is so popular is that it’s available on pretty much any platform and device you can think of. Students can download Speechify as an app from Apple’s App Store for iPhone/iPad or the Google Play store if they are using Android smartphones. On the flip side, it’s also available as a plug-in for Google Chrome and Safari web browsers, as well as a downloadable program for Windows and Mac computers. Finally, Speechify is completely free to use. While there is a paid premium version which offers many additional features, even the free version’s capabilities are ideal for the modern needs of college students.

The benefits of using audio textbooks

Despite how it might appear at first glance, audio textbooks aren’t just useful for students with learning difficulties. They can also benefit those without any. In essence, listening instead of reading allows us to multitask. This means that a student can attend to other activities while listening to audio at the same time. But what do these other activities mean? Well, it can be anything you’d like. You can listen to your class while riding your longboard around campus or when you’re driving in the car. Moreover, listening while doing chores is yet another way to make the most of your time. In other words, you can pair audio textbook playlists with pretty much any other activity to optimize your study time. Let's explore these benefits in detail: Enhanced Comprehension: Think of a time when someone explained a tough topic to you out loud. It probably felt easier to grasp, right? That's the magic of audio textbooks. The way the speaker talks, emphasizing certain words and maintaining a steady pace, can make even the trickiest subjects feel simpler. It's like having someone read out the best sellers or even free audiobooks to you, making learning feel like a breeze. Accessibility: Not everyone finds it easy to read from a digital book or a kindle. Some might have eyesight issues, while others might just find reading challenging. That's where audio textbooks come in. They're like a radio show version of your study material. Platforms like Librivox offer public domain audiobooks, making it even easier for learners to access a wide range of topics. Flexibility: Our lives are packed with activities. Sometimes, we're out jogging, cooking up a meal, or scrolling through social media. But with audio textbooks, you don't have to pause your learning. Imagine soaking in history lessons while making a sandwich or understanding math concepts during a walk. It's like having a teacher whispering knowledge to you, no matter where you are. And the best part? Many of these are free audio resources, just like the books on Project Gutenberg. Improved Retention: Our brains have a special corner for stories. When information comes to us in the form of a story, it sticks. Listening to content is like hearing an engaging tale, making it easier to remember. It's similar to how we recall our favorite books on cassette tapes from the past or the best sellers we've heard about on social media. Language Proficiency: For those who are new to English or are trying to pick up a different language, audio textbooks can be a game-changer. Listening sharpens pronunciation and helps understand the rhythm of words. It's like having a friend from another country chat with you daily. And with platforms like Librivox offering free public domain audiobooks, learners have a vast resource to tap into. Reduces Eye Strain: In today's digital age, our eyes are always on screens, be it for work, quizzes, or even browsing Wikipedia. Over time, this can be tiring. Audio textbooks offer a break. Instead of reading, you can close your eyes, relax, and let the words flow over you. It's a bit like the old days, enjoying books on cassette tapes, but with the convenience of today's technology.

The best way to use audio textbooks in your studies

The best way to use audio textbooks comes down to your preference. However, we must say that listening to it while simultaneously reading the material will bring out the best results. Reading and listening at the same time stimulates above-average comprehension. As such, sit at your study desk, put headphones on, take out the written material, and press play. Another great way to incorporate audio textbooks into your daily college life is to listen to them while taking a long bus ride to your class. Instead of looking out the window in boredom, you can spend your time learning and comprehending any subject. Lastly, we should also mention listening to audio textbooks while working out or taking a walk. Either way, these audio logs allow you to enjoy them just like you would podcasts on Spotify while multitasking. They are just a perfect way to make the most of your time.

Discover Speechify Text to Speech for seamless learning

Whether you're using a Mac, PC, or any other device, Speechify Text to Speech has got you covered. This top-rated TTS tool transforms your study materials into easily digestible audio, making learning more accessible and engaging. With features tailored for students, it's a game-changer for modern education. Why not give Speechify Text to Speech a try today?


Can you get college textbooks as audiobooks?

Yes, you can. There is a fairly constrained selection of non-fiction audiobooks on Amazon’s subscription-based digital library called Audible. Some other college textbooks already have an audio version, but for those that don’t, you can use Speechify to turn any textbook into an audiobook.

Are there any specific genres or subjects where audio textbooks are particularly beneficial?

While audio textbooks can be beneficial across all subjects, they are especially useful for literature, history, and subjects that involve storytelling or narratives. Listening to these subjects can make the content come alive, making it more engaging and memorable for the listener.

How do you get textbooks to read aloud?

You can download the Bookshelf app from VitalSource, and it will allow you to access various e-textbooks while offline. Depending on the title, Bookshelf will offer a read-aloud feature so that you can listen to the eText of your choice instead of reading it. However, we recommend using Speechify above all else because of its versatility, realistic-sounding voices, and easy-to-learn user experience.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.