Ask Jo: Audio Books and Kindle Fires

After writing the audiobook review for The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg, I got a question from Connie H., “Do you read your audio books through your Kindle Fire? If so could you explain how that works. Do you need an app? Can I use my ear plugs from my I-pod. How does it work when renting one from the library?  I love to read on my Kindle, but I feel like so much time is wasted just reading alone. Sewing and listening to a book would be so much better.  Please make a post on how it all works? Thank you”

I thought I would attempt to answer that question here on the blog as there are likely others of you who are wondering the same thing.  I am going to try to break the question into pieces so that it is easier to understand.  I do have a Kindle Fire.  I do listen to some of the books using it.  I had a membership to Audible and used to listen to some books using that.  I loved the company and books they offered but when trying to cut some expenses to make the new house affordable, it’s one of the things I gave up- $14.95 a month isn’t a lot, but I was willing to sacrifice it.  To use Audible, I just signed up on line, downloaded the Audible App and listened from there.  I have also used an Audible App for my smart phone.  It is a free app that you can find in your app store.  The advantage to the Audible is that subscribers can keep their books in their account.  They audio book files don’t go away.  Another advantage is that I could listen on my smart phone, computer or Kindle Fire.

One of the reasons I gave up my Audible account was that I am very fortunate to have an on line library where I can get audio books for free.  I listen to these in several different formats.  I listen either to my MP3 player, computer, smart phone or Kindle Fire.  My library uses an app called Overdrive that is available for free in App Stores.

This is a universal app that libraries who have an online presence use.  You can watch videos and learn more about it here.  Our local library in Waucoma opted not to have an online presence so I opted to go to one of the larger towns and get a library card with them and lend books through them.  I listen to so many audio books that I actually have online memberships with two different libraries.  With my online library, I have to be more observant which books are compatible with which device I want to use.  This is something that your local librarian can easily walk you through or you can read more here and discover if your mobile device is compatible.   If you are looking for use with your Kindle Fire, you will need of download the audiobook in an MP3 format NOT a WMA file.  It just matters what files are compatible with which device.  Here is a whole host of questions that Overdrive answers in their FAQ.

Each library group has it’s own settings.  For me, I can adjust my settings so that I can either keep titles for 7 days or 14 days.  The bummer is, if I don’t finish the audio book in that time period, it automatically gets returned and I can’t check it out again unless no one has it on hold.  I previously got a little frustrated as it seemed that books were always on long waiting lists.  That has recently improved.  It also improved because I have two library cards.  One account I use so that I put books I want to read on hold through.  The other I check out books that aren’t on hold.  There are ways to work around most anything.

I do know that using the app does run down the batteries quicker than regular use.  I keep mine plugged in if I am using it for a long period (over a couple hours).  That is one of the reasons why I keep my MP3 player and listen to books through that.  The battery life is much better.  I have a cheap MP3 player and use it when mowing lawn and gardening.  That way I don’t worry about my Kindle or smart phone being damaged.

Yes, you should be able to use your ear phones from device to device.

I am sure I didn’t answer all of the question but I at least hope I helped a little or guided you to some good resources.  Feel free to ask more questions.

I LOVE audiobooks..I love them when I garden, when I sew, when I fold laundry, when I walk…I love them all the time!!

8 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Audio Books and Kindle Fires”

  1. I have a I-pod gen 3 and you can download the books from the library web site audio books Overdrive to your computer and them upload them to your I Pod thru the iTunes program. When doing this the audio books stay on the iPod until you delete them even when your two week check out period has gone by. You cannot transfer them to any other device but being able to listen to the book until you have finished it.

  2. Thanks for the timely post as I head off for surgery and a long recovery in a couple of weeks. I’m a visual learner and have a really hard time listening to books on tape. Actually, I’ve never listened to one all the way through yet. My mind wanders and I miss large parts of the story. I think I’ll give this a try again as I will be more confined and maybe less distracted.

  3. I am almost Never without a story going ~ I am not kidding…I quit watching TV last year because I can’t move around and watch a show..but I can listen to a story and do laundry or wash dishes or SEW! If you aren’t into book long stories…there are podcasts of all kinds. I have always been hooked on Old Time Detective stories..Johnny Dollar, Sherlock Holmes, Lights Out, Suspense, Richard Diamond,Lux Radio Theater etc…not only do you get to hear the greats of their time you get to hear some mighty fine story telling. They even keep in some of the ads of the day which are so fun! I got my love of quilting from my Gram and I remember her telling me about the radio stories. She LOVED Stella Dallas. Another connection to my roots I say. To me…this is just like my quilting journey…it helps open the imagination. I’m not watching something on the television..I’m IMAGINING it in my mind..just like I do when quilting. When I get in the mood for a story book. Audible and Overdrive along with Librivox are close at hand. I have listened to more books in the last year than I’ve read in the past 5…and it just keeps getting better. =)

  4. I also download books from my library to listen to on my mp3 or my (droid) phone. Love them and listen to a lot of them! Just wanted to say that you can also check out the books on cd’s, copy them to your computer and then transfer them to your mp3 and/or phone. Works wonderful!

  5. I have an older Kindle and absolutely love it! I never thought I would, but I download lots of free books from and also check out Kindle books from our local library. The Kindle is VERY easy to use, and it is very convenient and easy to download books from the library. My Kindle has “text to speech” so I can listen to any book with headphones, but not all Kindles have “text to speech”.

    I wish my 86-year-old mother could use a Kindle. Maybe if she had learned a few years ago how to use one. It would have been very easy to download books for her, and she would have been able to adjust the size of the type for her eyesight.

  6. It was helpful! I use library books on tape-have not tried downloading. I don’t have a kindle yet, and my DH and I share the iPad! However, I can’t ride in a car w/o the spoken word ! I don’t listen to music and the news broadcasts are terrible in this area. I love your blog.thanks

  7. I have a older smartphone I put audio books on so I can listen to them when I’m sewing or when I am out in the park, where I volunteer, doing yardwork and gardening. No need to worry if my hands are a bit dirty. That keeps my newer phone clean and safe. I also download my audiobooks from my local library — it’s FREE and so easy to do. I also download books to read on my Kindle (not a FIRE) from the library service but also from where they will send you a list of books every day you can choose from! FREE is FUN!

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