OK, almost free. All you have to do is buy a 99 cent app for your iPhone. That’s pretty close to free for a long car ride with two kids in the back seat, no? There is a wonderful organization called Librivox.

They take books in the public domain and have volunteers record them and then distribute them on their website. You could listen to the books on your computer for free.

An enterprising company called AudioBooks has created an app whereby you can download these books to your iPhone et, voila! You’re all set. There are new titles being added all the time and tons of books for kids.


Here’s the bad news: the people reading the books are not actors and god bless them for volunteering, but some could use a little pep, zest and tone fluctuation. And some ACTING LESSONS! It’s not like listening to John Lithgow, people! But it’s free! (OK, 99 cents)

Here’s what you do:

  • go to the iTunes store — for those of you with PCs, yes you can download iTunes and go to the iTunes store (did you really think that Apple was going to miss out on all that revenue?) and…
  • go to the App section and search under “audiobooks.”
  • Now buy the app. It’s called “Audiobooks” and has a blue background. Version 3.1 as of today.
  • Now sync it to your iPhone.

You are done.

Oh, here’s the other kind of down side: the catalog could use a little bit better organization. And perhaps, user reviews. And key word searches like say “boy” or “girl” and “Princess” — stuff like that. But it’s almost free! And there is a children’s category to search. Look, for free, you can spend 15 minutes searching the catalog and figuring out what to play before you get into your road trip. Right?

What do you mean you don’t have an adaptor to play your iPhone through your car stereo? And you don’t have a headphone splitter so that both kids could listen to the story on separate headphones? Honey, start clicking. This is a GREAT investment.

It’s only getting better, people.

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @erodg
To read more of Elizabeth’s posts on TravelingMom.com, click here.