Library book + iPod + Belkin TuneTalk = DIY audiobook

John's DIY audiobook hack:

One of the high points of our 4 year old's week is Library Day. Lately, when he really enjoys a particular book, we've started recording it to listen to later on the iPod in the car. The Boy really likes hearing his favorite stories in our voices. We've been using my Belkin TuneTalk to record the stories.

One disadvantage of doing this is having to listen to your own voice over and over as you child listens to one of these stories in the car. An unexpected advantage is that you become a better reader by listening to yourself – you tend to slow down a LOT!

I'm thinking that from a learning perspective, seeing a book read (listening to the story, seeing the pictures and written words, interacting with the reader) is a totally different experience than hearing a book read as an audiobook. Seems to me that following one with the other is an incredible way to reinforce reading comprehension and a bunch of other brainy-brain stuff.

PS. That Belkin TuneTalk looks pretty cool (it's the little iPod voice recorder attachment in the picture). I can think of a bunch of ways my kids could entertain themselves with that!

Related: Record yourself telling stories to calm bedtime fears


  1. tomhiggins says

    That is a great idea …but of course you know there is going to be a hitch..and that is this little gem of a quote

    “”They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.” ”

    This was said when commenting on a new geektax device that converts text to speech on the fly,

    Copyright and IP laws have got to such a state in this country the act of reading a book aloud is not considered a legal right of the book reader.

    Also, many non iPod mp3 devices, like my old irivier ifp800. have integrated mics and recording functionality built in such that it is far cheaper and easier to do this without having to pay the additional JobsTax and have it all on one deivce.

    Another tip to add to the audio joy for the kids is to download spoken stories form places like Story Nory (, Kiddie Records ( ) and Libri Vox (

  2. Lauren says

    IP issues aside, another great way to keep far-flung relatives close by is to record them reading stories for use later.

  3. says

    When my husband was in medical school, he would record all of his notes this way onto his iPod. Then, in the car, during a jog, or while walking the dogs, he was able to squeeze in a lot of extra study time.

    When our son is old enough, this might be good way to study for spelling tests!

  4. nonplus says

    I fondly remember listening to the fairy tales my mom recorded for us on our old reel-to-reel; especially hearing the occasional commentary from our even-younger selves.

    Having said that, right now I have too much fun reading to and with my 4yo daughter to record her books. She’s at the pre-reading stage where she insists that I follow the text I’m reading with my finger — which wouldn’t quite work with a recording. I keep telling myself that any day now it’s going to click and she’ll start reading on her own. I’ve been telling this myself for several months now :-)