Audio Textbooks and eTextbooks – A New Way to Study

Textbooks are very much a prerequisite for any kind of learning, high school, college, university or other. They are a very important resource for studying and research. But books are often very bulky and heavy and awkward to carry around.

Fortunately, there are solutions to overcome the problems associated with traditional textbooks.

What are Audio Textbooks?

Textbooks in an audio format can also be called audiobooks or audio textbooks. Audiobooks are the recorded versions of a book.

The very great advantage of textbook audio (audiobooks) is that it allows one to listen to a book writing rather than read it.

For busy students or anyone undertaking any kind of research, textbooks on tape offer an effective way to save time, particularly whilst commuting. Textbook audio readers are available in many popular audio formats which lend themselves to a large variety of devices. Just plug in a set of earbuds, and increase your productivity by listening audiobook!

How To Get Audio Textbooks

Audio textbooks are available on various sources and accessible as long as you are connected to the internet. In fact getting audio textbooks have been seen to be easier to access than the usual hardcover print textbooks.

If a person decides to get a hardcover textbook, it is expected that they will most likely need to go to the bookstore or wait some time to get delivery when purchased online. But for audio textbooks, you do not always need to leave the comfort of your home. You can download or purchase the audiobook from anywhere.

Here are some ways on how to get audiobooks:

1. Amazon and Audible

Amazon is a very reliable website where a lot of items can be sourced and audio textbooks are not an exception. You can get a Kindle device and use it to store and listen to your audio textbooks. The Amazon website and the Kindle device are very compatible so all you will need to do is search for the audio textbook you would like to get (using the title) and check if the author (or publisher) has enabled the text-to-speech function for that textbook.

If the text-to-speech function has been enabled then you can go ahead to purchase the audio textbook, download it, and then save it on your Kindle device. If you do not have a Kindle device, you can use your laptop to access the audio textbooks, but you will need to have the Kindle For PC software installed on your laptop. Apart from using these methods, you can also use Audible to gain access to a wide range of audiobooks.

2. Scribd

A very popular website that can be used to purchase audio textbooks is Scribd. The Scribd website can be used to access different kinds of textbooks, all you will need to do is to check for the textbook you would like to get, pay for it and then download it onto your device. Apart from getting audio textbooks on this platform, other genres of audiobooks can be found here and they can range from fiction to lifestyle books.

3. Converting your hardcover textbooks into audio textbooks

It is possible that you may not find the particular audio textbook you are searching for even after checking these websites (Amazon and Audible), but all hope is not lost. Even though you may be unable to find or gain access to an exact audio textbook copy, you can make your own audio textbook as long as you possess the hardcover of the textbook you are searching for.

To convert your hardcover textbook into an audiobook, you will need to get the hardcover of the textbook and scan it. With the implementation of the OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition), the software will convert your scanned textbook image into plain text that can be entered into any kind of text-to-speech program.

Audio textbooks have a lot of sources and in addition to these sources, it is possible for you to gain access to audio textbooks by going to the bookstore (this depends on the kind of textbook you need to get).

8 Best Textbooks on Audio Services

Audiobooks have been seen to stir up different reactions in people; some people have started to adapt to this new line of innovative learning, while others would rather stick to their hardcover books.

When a textbook is converted from its hardcover print nature into an audio format, it is expected that even though there is a noticeable change, the quality and accuracy of that particular textbook still remains intact.

This is one of the unique features of audiobooks; though in an audio format, the voice recordings that have been made are the same exact words that can be found in the book.

1. Kindle eTextbooks

eTextbooks from Amazon Kindle

eBooks offer many flexible and desirable features, they may be read on a huge variety of various devices using the free Kindle Reading App for computers, tablets, and smartphones as well as the popular Kindle eBook reader. A very popular people eBook format for textbooks is called an eTextbook and may be downloaded from Amazon under the category of Amazon eTextbooks.

The format has some very helpful and distinct features which help to study.

  • X-Ray allows the reader to use definitions, further related content from other resources like YouTube and Wikipedia, all with a single tap!
  • Highlights allows the reader to highlight a word or sentence using a choice of a few different colors which may then be categorized and saved in the notebook and referenced anytime. One may also convert the highlight into a flash card which may then be stored with amazon and then referenced again in your eTextbook at any time.
  • Navigate through your chapters and pages with easily by simply accessing the navigation grid by tapping the bottom or top of your devices screen. Pages may be scanned very quickly by just swiping the pages with one’s finger.

The Amazon eTextbooks Store allows one to buy or rent discounted titles and carry the entire library of your choice in your digital device without any concern about storage or weight issues traditionally associated with traditional textbooks. Shopping for titles can be done in complete comfort anytime 14/7 from a huge choice of subject material.

Amazon eTextbooks Store

2. Textbooks on Audio- Audible Audio TextBooks

Education from audible

Audible offers a small collection of education-related Audio TextBooks – Currently around 200+.’s educational area offers tons of options. There are areas for students, K-12 educators, parents & families, professionals, college textbooks on audio and higher education faculty. You can browse through hundreds of textbook audio books titles in every subject.

You get a Free Trial to try a Free Audio TextBook

3. iTunes U

Audiobooks from iTunes
Audiobooks from iTunes

300,000 Audio Lectures and Textbooks From The World’s Top Universities

iTunes U

4. SparkNotes

eTextbooks from sparknotes

Looking for a shortcut through the dry “Audio Textbook” material? SparkNotes are available through Audible as well. Read the summaries of each chapter with explanations of key themes and analysis of content. While it will never be able to convey the magic of To Kill a Mockingbird, SparkNotes can help students sort through the themes, symbols, and characters. This is a very handy test prep tool.

5. LibriVox – Public Domain AudioBooks

Free LibriVOX from Audiobooks
Free LibriVOX from Audiobooks

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books.”

There are 100’s of classic textbooks audiobooks


6. OverDrive

OverDrive Audiobook
OverDrive Audiobook

OverDrive is the collection of more than 30,000 libraries across the world. It’s a site that allows you online access to the catalog of a library near you, where all you need to ‘rent’ a book is a valid library card number. The use of LibbyApp, the mobile and tablet version of OverDrive, lets you check out audiobooks and textbooks straight to PC or Mobile


7. RBDigital

RBDigital offers an extensive collection of audiobooks, magazines, textbooks and eBooks, with the largest independent collection of audiobooks.


8. YourCloudLibrary

YourCloudLibrary is an application for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android that offers access to millions of ebooks and audio to download.


9. HooplaDigital

HooplaDigital – Instantly borrow digital audio textbooks, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your library card.

10. Khan Academy 

offers over 4,000 free Audio / Videos / Books on a wide variety of subjects for free viewing online without registration. 

Khan Academy

Benefits of Audio Textbooks

People are now gradually adapting to the presence of audio textbooks, and this is large because there are a lot of benefits associated with using audio textbooks in the stead of the usual hardcover print textbooks.

Some of the benefits of audio textbooks include:

  1. Ease: When reading a hardcover textbook, you need to ensure that you pay rapt attention while using your eyes to scan the pages because you can not read the book without literally looking at the pages. With an audio textbook though, you do not need to always keep your eyes glued or fixed to the pages of the book, it is possible for you to relax while the textbook is being read to you exactly as it is in the hardcover textbook.
  1. The opportunity to multitask: Reading is a very sensitive process and it requires stillness, this means that it will be quite difficult for you to carry out other activities while you are reading a textbook. When using an audio textbook, the textbook is being read to you so you are now given the opportunity to actually carry out other activities. With an audio textbook, you are able to multitask and get more things done unlike when you are reading a hardcover textbook.
  1. The inclusion of Dyslexics and Visually impaired people: It is no surprise that reading does not really come easy to people who are either dyslexic or visually impaired, it is also not fair that they are unable to experience the beauty of books. Because of this reason, the presence of audiobooks or audio textbooks has brought back a new sense of being able to understand what it feels like to read a book even without being able to see it. Nowadays, people who are dyslexic or even visually impaired do not have to pop open a book just to read it, all they need to do is get the book set up in an audio format, relax and just listen to the book being read to them.

Find Audio Textbooks from Free University Courses

Free MIT Audio, Videos & TextBooks

MIT Online Textbooks
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a huge collection of MIT Online Audio / Video / TextBooks

Free AudioBooks from MIT
Free AudioBooks from MIT

MIT Online Audio and Video Courses

MIT Audio/Video Lectures by Department

Online Textbooks by MIT Department:

Free Harvard Audio, Videos & TextBooks

Harvard Extension Schoolhas 10 free courses in its Open Learning Initiative for free viewing online without registration.

Free AudioBooks from Harvard University
Free AudioBooks from Harvard University

University of California Irvine has a large selection of video courses available for free viewing online without registration.

Open Yale Courses – Yale offers free open courses, with audio, video and transcripts available for free viewing online at YouTube or iTunes.

Free Audiobooks from Yale University
Free Audiobooks from Yale University

Free Online Courses from Stanford
Free Online Courses from MIT
Free Online Courses from Yale
Free Online Courses from Chicago
Free Online Courses from Cambridge
Free Online Courses from Harvard
Free Online Courses from Berkeley
Free Online Courses from Oxford
Free Online Courses from Columbia

How to convert eTextbooks to Audio Textbooks?

Finding textbooks in the audio textbook format can be challenging.

Most Textbooks are only in a physical or digital format. Therefore, you either need to convert the text or use textbook audiobooks software service.

1. Convert Textbooks to Audio

Start by buying the digital text version of the textbook at online retailers, like Amazon eTextbooks Store.

Convert the textbook to Audio via the following services:

Best Free eTextBooks Resources

    Bookboon’s free online textbook audiobooks for students that helps too get focused and to the point. They are all written by highly respected professors from top universities in the world and cover topics such as economics, statistics, IT, engineering and natural science.
  • Open Library
    This is an initiative of the Internet Archive.
  • OpenStax
    Nonprofit charity from Rice University aims to provide Free Basic Textbooks Collection. Peer-reviewed. Openly licensed. 100% free.
    Discover the rising stars of the writing world, & Give yourself the gift of some of the best books you can find.
    Creating videos, compiling and publishing free legal Ebooks
  • MERLOT E-Texts
    Access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers.
  • Open Access at University of Minnesota
    Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality
  • Open Textbooks
    CCCOER is a growing consortium of community and technical colleges committed to expanding access to education and increasing student success through adoption of open educational policy, practices, and resources.
  • Textbook Revolution – Textbook Revolution is a student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors.
  • Florida’s Digital Repository
    Florida Resources that are tagged as being appropriate for community college, higher education, vocational education, or continuing education
  • Affordable Learning Georgia
    Open textbooks Collection
  • Bay College OER
    Open Educational Resources (OER) at Bay College.
  • BCcampus
    287 Open Textbooks
  • Boundless
    This catalog contains educational content originally curated by Boundless.
  • California Open Online Library for Education (COOL4ED)
    California Open Online Library for Education (COOL4Ed)
  • CK-12
    100% Free, Personalized Learning for Every Student. Create digital classrooms, customize textbooks, and learn K-12 STEM concepts.
  • LibreTexts
    Textbooks, Textmaps, and LibreTexts
  • Michigan Open Textbook Project
    (3-12) – Open textbooks from Michigan
  • Open SUNY
    Open textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY 
  • Open Textbook Library
    The library currently includes 630 textbooks, with more being added all the time.
  • Saylor Academy
    100 free, full-length textbooks and courses.
  • Siyavula
    Siyavula has produced book titles spanning Mathematics and Science subjects from Grades 4-12.
  • OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) – Europe based OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences. 
  • The International Children’s Digital Library
    Online library for free children’s e-books. With over 5000+ books in 55 different languages, the ICDL is a great resource for educators and counselors.
  • Barnes & Noble Free e-books
    Barnes and Noble offers 75K free e-books, including some popular fiction titles, self published e-books, and classic fiction titles.

Mega List of 200+ FREE eTextbooks

Free Biology Textbooks

Free Business TextBooks

Free Chemistry Textbooks

Free Computer Science Textbooks

Free Electrical Engineering Textbooks

Free Engineering Textbooks

Free History Textbooks

Free Languages Textbooks

Free Mathematics Textbooks

Free Music Textbooks

Free Philosophy Textbooks

Free Physics Textbooks


  1. Roget’s Thesaurus Ebook 
  2. Synonyms by Word Reference 
    The WordReference English Synonyms provides users with a comprehensive collection of more than 20k English words.
  3. Thesaurus by Cambridge U 
    Mainly a dictionary but comes with a thesaurus.
  4. Collins Thesaurus 
    Hundreds of thousands of synonyms and antonyms arranged by meaning and with key synonyms highlighted.
  5. Farlex Thesaurus 
    Free Thesaurus is a comprehensive online thesaurus of synonyms, antonyms, and related words.
  6. Macmillan Thesaurus
    More than just a list of synonyms, this unique thesaurus draws distinctions between similar words and helps you choose just the word you need.
  7. Merriam Webster Thesaurus 
    Search more than 275,000 synonyms, antonyms, related words, and idiomatic phrases.
  8. Thesaurus by 
    million+ synonyms and antonyms.
  9. Synonym Finder by Word Hippo 
    An online website and application providing a range of tools related to the use of words for creative and recreational purposes
  10. Lexico from Oxford U 
    Hundreds of thousands of synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and pronunciations for English and other languages, derived from their language research and expert analysis.

FAQ on audible & Audiobooks

Are there audiobooks for college textbooks?

  • Yes, there are audiobooks for literally all kinds of books. It does not matter the genre a particular book is, as long as you know specific details about the book (the title of the book, the author or publisher of the book), you will be able to search for the book and there is a high possibility of you finding it.

How do I convert books into audiobooks?

  • For you to convert a book into an audiobook, you will need to get a physical hardcover copy of the book. Afterwards, you will need to scan the entire book (or only the part you would like to be made into an audiobook), the OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition) will convert your scanned textbook copy into plain text that can get converted into an audiobook using a text-to-speech.

Where can I get free audiobooks?

Can you read and listen to Audible books?

  • Yes, it is possible to read and also listen to Audible books at the same time. To do this, you will need to open your audiobook, and then click on the Audible Narration section at the bottom of your screen if you have not yet downloaded the audiobook. If you have already downloaded the audiobook and you have the Audible Narration option, you can start to listen to the audiobook while reading it.

Is it bad to listen to audiobooks while reading?

  • This actually depends on your kind of attention span. If you are someone who gets easily distracted, then doing this will not be the best option for you as it is possible that you could get distracted. On the other hand, if you do not get easily distracted and are very comfortable with this option, then you can listen to your audiobooks while reading at the same time.


We are currently in the digital age so almost everything is fast moving and modernized, so in this case, books have found a way to adapt into audiobooks.

Audiobooks are seen as a much easier way for people to enjoy books even without having to open and read them.

Audiobooks improve literary skills, they can be used by almost every person, they make the learning process far easier than it used to be, and in addition, they can help to reduce thoughts of anxiety and depression.

Though not the conventional way of enjoying books, audiobooks are here to stay and they have been found to do more good than harm.

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