Concepts and Ideas

Why Read? Listen to eBooks, Webpages, Docs & PDF!

If you have an Android phone (who doesn’t), you can use the built-in Text To Speech feature to listen to eBooks, Webpages, Word/PDF Documents. That means, you can listen to almost anything you can read on your computer, today!

But Why?

I’ll tell you why I prefer listening over reading nowadays:

  • Since I look at the computer monitor for a long time daily, my eyes get strained/I get a headache. So to reduce the eyestrain, I listen.
  • Generally, I take a break after every half- or one-hour of reading/writing on the Computer. I can listen during that time, and hence I can finish reading (listening) to much more now.
  • I need to read and review short stories as I am a part of a peer-review Facebook Writers’ Group. I copy all stories into a single document, convert into ePub using Calibre, and listen to them.
  • When I travel (train, bus, or car), I find it easier to listen than read. Most of the apps allow me to save and read/listen offline.

You may have more reasons like,

  • Listening while commuting to the office and back.
  • Listening while walking.
  • Listening while working out.
  • Listening while cooking, etc.

These are the Android apps that help me Listen using Text To Speech: (Most are Free of Cost)

  • Pocket: I can save any webpage/blog/article that I want to read on my computer to Pocket via browser, and open it via the app on my Tablet to listen.
  • Google Play Books: I can buy any book from Google Play and start listening to it using the Google Play Books app.
  • FBReader: If I download a classic from Gutenberg or if I buy an ePub eBook, I can load it to FBReader and listen to it.
  • @Voice Aloud Reader: This app reads PDF, Doc, txt documents aloud. I tried loading even two-column formatted PDFs and it reads without a problem.

Except the Google Play Books app, other apps allow us to adjust the speed, pitch, and volume.

You can use the Voice Engine/Voice that comes built into your Android device, but it’s somewhat robotic. Better, I suggest you to download IVONA voice:Β Amy, English – UKΒ – this is good.

So do you plan use Text To Speech technology to listen to books, documents, or articles sometime? Try it: it’s a cool/useful feature, and a different experience πŸ™‚Β 

Destination Infinity


  • KP

    Which is faster-reading or listening?I have seen when I hear Sahasranamam it takes twice the time that I take to chant or read.Secondly, when you listen to a literary fiction, can you appreciate the style of writing or its nuances as much as when you read.I believe listening may be useful for certain materials or occasions.I wonder whether one can review a book by just listening.Mind registers what is read more than what is heard.
    This is not to detract from the merits of listening.

    • Rajesh K

      It may be better to read as long as you are able to. In my case, since reading strains my eyes, listening is faster and more efficient.

      Maybe you can listen when you cannot read – traveling, etc. At least Text To Speech can be an option sometimes.

      Destination Infinity

  • Manogna

    Well DI , reading the above comment i got another doubt. What if listening to a certain best seller bored you to death? Or reading a book with bad reviews sounded so god after listening. Has that ever happened to you?

    • Rajesh K

      I don’t think that can happen, although I have listened to only a few books now, both fiction and non fiction.

      What matters to me is, these apps are enabling me to read more, and that’s a boon.

      Destination Infinity

  • Avada Kedavra

    Agree with first comment. Reading is faster. I prefer reading to listening. Also I don’t read ebooks much on computer or tablet. I usually go for printed books so it does not put much strain on my eyes.

  • Locomente

    This certainly sounds interesting…
    I cant read when I am on the go… I get head ache. May be the motion creates that.
    So, this sounds as a great option.
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Jeevan

    I will get a Smartphone next month and I think I can use these apps to listen more… but I don’t want to adapt to it quite and i know i need to read more to develop/sustain my reading ability and habit. To read large documents sure its a gifted option.

  • Shilpa Garg

    Based on your suggestion earlier, I had downloaded the Text to Speech for FB Reader. I tried listening to an ebook. But the ebook was so poorly written that I had to abandon reading it after a few pages. But I liked the text to speech option. Will try again and listen a complete ebook soon!

    • Rajesh K

      For a better experience, download IVONA Text to Speech Engine & IVONA – Amy UK Voice. Select and use that voice to listen to book, you’ll find it even better.

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Also, FBReader supports only Non-DRM Mobi or ePub files. So, if a book is DRM protected, you may not be able to listen to it using this app.

      Destination Infinity