When you’re holding a baby, washing dishing, mowing the lawn or some other activity that involves your hands it’s hard to read a book. I’m also
cheap frugal, which means I don’t want to pay for audio books. So when I got my first Kindle a few years ago and stumbled across the text-to-speech option I thrilled, it added another element to by already flourishing book addiction. I could start the book, drop the Kindle in my back pocket (I have big pockets, I’m a big buy) and listen to books while getting work done.
Tired of reading this crap? Jump down the page to how to listen to any audio book for free.
That’s a HUGE win. It means instead of ignoring my wife so I could read a book (which my wife says is bad O.o), I could do both—for free.
Sure the audio quality sucked and it sounds like a robot. Who cares? I drove from Utah to Washington and listened to a book for 13 hours and wasn’t even tempted to nod off. It was AWESOME. This is also a great tool for recalcitrant children who don’t want to do their chores. And yes, I realize I just called myself a recalcitrant child.
Anyway, I got a smart phone, and now I read exclusively on it. I looked for the text-to-speech functionality on the Kindle app only to realize that it’s not there. Super fail Amazon. That is not doing what your customer wants, and it’s not accessible for blind people. Not providing the functionality is all about money and it’s one of the few cases where Amazon is absolutely not putting customers first. There are also many Kindle books that the publisher has disabled text-to-speech on the devices that have it available. Which is also a gigantic fail.
Anyway my wife and I planned another road trip for our family and I realized that I wouldn’t have a book, and there’s still no way I’m paying for audible. So I figured out how to turn any eBook into an audio book.
How to do it yourself
1. Get a better text to speech voice (engine) just because you can. (not required)
Amazon bought a company called Ivona a couple years ago and I hoped that they were planning on integrating it into Kindle so that all of us couple have free audio books. That clearly didn’t happen. Anyway, we recommend getting British English, Amy or American English, Salli. They are the most natural sounding voices. You’ll need to install the app and then download and install the voice of your choice (2 steps). You may also need to set your devices default text to speech engine to be Ivona instead of the engine that comes with your device by default.
2. Download a reading app that supports text-to-speech
We looked around for a while, but settled on the Moon+ Reader. When we purchased the app it was $5, the free version didn’t have text-to-speech, but I would check first just to make sure. I’m sure there are others, but Moon+ Reader has worked really well for me.
3. Open the file in Moon+ Reader, or convert it to a file that can be opened.
Moon+ Reader and other readers cannot read Amazon’s proprietary eBook file format, that means you need to convert your eBook into the standard ePub format. To do this you’ll need the Kindle Reading Application for Mac or PC, Calibre Library and a DRM removal plugin for Calibre. Here’s a detailed Youtube video that provides all the instructions you will need.
After following those instruction you should now be able to listen to all of your eBooks, which is pretty awesome.