TuneIn is one of the most popular internet radio and audio streaming services in the world, claiming “a global audience of over 60 million users,” and “100,000+ live radio stations, plus on-demand content like podcasts & shows anywhere you go.” And as it happens, their channel and content options include audiobooks.
A general search for “Audiobooks” in TuneIn’s search box turns up quite a few programs and other choices. To my mind, the standout winner has got to be the LibriVox Audiobooks program, which offers LibriVox’s usual repertoire of “audio versions of books in the public domain” and “links to our current chapter-by-chapter book podcast and the last few books we’ve podcast.” (Right now it’s running a series of episodes from Great Inventors and Their Inventions.) Related to this is the Kara’s Free Audiobooks feed, with the LibriVox and other readings from Kara Shallenberg. You’ll also find the Scott Sigler Audiobooks feed for fans of “New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler,” and rather more off-the-wall feeds including Spanish audiobooks and Russian audiobooks. With all of these, you can skip back to previous episodes of the program if you don’t like what’s currently running.
The same search will also bring up single episodes from other programs and stations related to audiobooks. For instance, there’s a program on “What Makes a Great Audiobook?” from Word of Mouth (NHPR) which sounds like an absolute must-listen for any audiobook fan. Beware though that some may be defunct. Hachette Audio used to offer its own program, presenting “Audiobook Excerpts, Interviews and Audio Exclusives,” but this seems to have last aired in 2009, and offers nothing you can still listen to.
Author searches can also turn up some gems. Try searching “Charles Dickens,” for instance. Not only will you get individual audiobooks, including what looks like LibriVox’s entire library of Dickens recordings, but you’ll also get programs and podcast episodes talking about Dickens as well. Living authors or those still not in the public domain won’t yield quite such rich pickings, but you may find author interviews or the odd excerpt.
Then, as Chris Meadows reported last year, there’s TuneIn’s Premium service, which includes audiobooks among its higher-quality ad-free offerings. As Chris noted, this lets “your imagination run wild with unlimited access to a library of over 40,000 audiobooks.” Unfortunately, this is only available in the U.S., the UK, and Canada, but for any audibook fan whose TuneIn account is registered in those jurisdictions, it could be quite a winner.
And how to listen to it? TuneIn offers TuneIn Radio apps for just about every popular device platform, including Android, iOS, Windows, and the Amazon Kindle. It even has special options for tablets and the BlackBerry, as well as other more esoteric device formats, including Samsung Smart TVs, Sonos audio devices, and the Xbox One. I don’t yet see a special offering for the Amazon Echo, but I’m guessing that this must be just round the corner. Or just stream from the website itself. And for those, like me, who listen to audiobooks aired on YouTube, it’s worth remembering that TuneIn Radio can run in the background on an Android mobile device, while YouTube can’t. Happy listening, people.