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Audio textbooks for college students

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Books on September 08, 2022
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.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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.

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    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.

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