Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Get the Text

Why buy audiobooks for your PSP when you can make your own?

You like books, but you don't particularly like the idea of reading your books on your PSP's screen. (If you do want to read books on your PSP, make sure you check out "Use Your PSP as an E-Book Reader" and "Create Your Own PSP E-Books".) You've been considering buying some audiobooks and listening to them on your PSP, but you'd rather spend those hard-earned dollars on games for your PSP. Why not simply make your own audiobooks for the PSP?

Don't worry. I'm not suggesting you sit down and read James Joyce's Ulysses out loud while recording it to MP3. Instead, just grab the text of Ulysses from Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/) for free and have your computer read the text to audio files.

You can get the text from any plain text file you have lying around, so don't be afraid to take that business report your boss wants you to review, convert it into plain text, and change it over to audio. Since the PSP is a recreational device, however, I am going to assume that you are looking for some actual reading entertainment.

If that's the case, a wide variety of options are readily available to you via the Internet. Both Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org) and the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia Library (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/) freely offer a variety of literary titles that have fallen out of copyright and entered into the public domain. The text section of the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/texts) contains texts that have entered into the public domain and others that have been released under Creative Commons licenses or are free from any sort of copyright. The Creative Commons web site itself features a text section (http://creativecommons.org/text/) that regularly highlights texts that have been released under Creative Commons licenses.

In addition to these resources, you can easily copy and paste the text of any web document into a .txt file, or even use an online RSS feed reading tool like Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com) to display your daily dose of news items on one web page where you can select all, copy, and paste into a .txt file.

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