Audiobook’s market blurb sounds promising:
“Listen to over 2,800 audiobooks totally free. Taken from the Librivox Project these beloved classics are now on Android. Easily stream or download the books. Perfect for your commute, relaxing at home, in bed, or while at the gym. The app keeps your place for you with automatic bookmarking across your whole library.”
It goes without saying that we simply had to check out this app. Read on to find out what our verdict is.
Features & Use
The app really does provide a lot of freely accessible audio books—here’s a brief selection of available works:
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Winter's Tale
The Sorrows of Young Werther
All Audiobooks are LibriVox recordings, which means that they are public domain and therefore downloadable free of cost.
You can listen to the recordings online (streaming), or else download them (whilst listening to that particular audio book if you so choose).
Audiobooks is a pretty awesome deal, no question about it. That being said, I have to warn you not to expect professional readers, like the ones you might be used to from other audio books, because that’s not the case with this app.
LibriVox.org have made it their mission to publish all public domain books as audio books. The readers are basically every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and their skills range from “WTF??” to “Hey, not bad!”. You may even stumble across a few speakers who sound really professional, though I have to say that during my test of this app I didn’t come across anyone who was as talented as the speakers you hear reading normal audio books or in radio commercials, etc.
Screen & Controls
Using Audiobooks is very intuitive and doesn’t really require grand explanations. You’ll find the following categories on the display:
This is where you start your search for interesting audio books. There’s also a Search function in the upper half of the screen that allows you to pin-point your search for a specific publication.
Once you’ve located a book via one of the categories or the search function you can click on it in order to read a synopsis of the book. There are two buttons near the bottom which allow you to either hear a sample from the book or play it back straight away. If you let the book playback immediately it automatically gets downloaded as well (a function which you can switch off – if you wish – via the menu button and Settings). The books you’ve downloaded wind up in the CrossForward folder of your SD card. You can also play them – using Astro, for instance – on your standard player, although they don’t show up in the player’s display.
The Audiobooks player is just as easy to use as the app itself. It has the usual buttons:
… as well as a button which opens up the list of chapters. The downloading process is shown at the bottom of the screen, and you can abort or restart it at any point.
My Library shows you all the audio books you’ve downloaded/listened to and lets you revisit them.
If the lack of professional speakers won’t dampen your enjoyment of these audio books my guess that you’ll really enjoy this little app. It deserves its four stars for Screen & Controls because controls works like a charm. The app’s major downfall is its stability (see below for more details). As far as the quality and talent of the readers go: to each his own, I say!
Speed & Stability
Audiobook’s performance on the Milestone was satisfactory, thought the ads aren’t displayed correctly at the bottom of the screen (which, let’s face it, I’m not exactly upset about), due to the high resolution. However, the app didn’t perform well at all on the G1. I kept getting “Application is not responding” messages, and the player wouldn’t obey me, either; for instance, when I wanted to skip to the next chapter I wound up five chapters further instead.
The app can be downloaded free of charge from the Android Market.