Listen to eBooks by Converting Them to MP3s for Free

Services such as Audible offer audiobooks that we love listening to, but some books never make the leap to audio, so they aren't part of audiobook retailer catalogs. Fortunately, you can convert a text or ebook file to an MP3-based audiobook by using a specialized conversion program on your PC.

Although these programs rely on synthesized voices of varying quality, they're still a great way to convert your local ebooks or plain text files into a format you can listen to while commuting or running errands.

of 04

Most Robust Text Converter: Balabolka


Ilya Morozov

What We Like
  • Opens and converts to several file formats.

  • Installation options include portable and command line.

  • Pportable version runs from USB without installation.

What We Don't Like
  • So many settings can be overwhelming.

  • Lacks a modern, clean UI.

  • Hasn't been updated recently.

Balabolka supports an impressive range of text-based file formats that it can convert, including files with the extensions TXT, DOC, PDF, ODT, AZW, ePub, CHM, HTML, FB2, LIT, MOBI, PRC, and RTF.

Balabolka uses Microsoft's Speech API (SAPI 4 and 5) to convert text into synthesized speech. You can tweak voices using Balabolka's interface to change parameters such as pitch and speed.

The program outputs audio in formats with extensions including MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, AAC and AMR (probably the best format for voice).

Balabolka supports subtitled text in the LRC format or in the metadata of the audio file so you can view the text (just like lyrics) on a device with a screen as the audio plays.

Balabolka supports the Portable App standard, which means you can put it on a flash drive and start it on any PC without first running an installer program.

of 04

Good Selection of Features: DSpeech

DSpeech text to speech converter
What We Like
  • Lots of options and settings to customize.

  • No installation needed (it's portable).

  • Can convert local and online files.

What We Don't Like
  • Too advanced if you're looking for a simple tool.

Even though the DSpeech application's interface is simplistic, DSpeech is powerful and has a good selection of features.

As well as being able to read files in text formats including plain and rich text, Microsoft Word, and HTML, you can also use DSpeech for converting your voice into text—that's a basic voice recognition engine built into the program.

This application (like the majority of free tools of this type) uses the Microsoft Speech API to convert text into speech. DSpeech can encode to MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and WAV, which covers most of the popular formats in the digital audio world.

of 04

Simplest Converter: Classlesoft Text to MP3 Converter

Text to MP3 Converter


What We Like
  • Very easy to use.

  • Provides audio adjustment settings.

  • Handles batch conversions.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks advanced settings.

  • Supports plain text files only.

  • No option to change voice profiles.

If you need a no-frills, text-to-MP3 converter, then Classlesoft's offering is worth a close look. It's lightweight, fast, and presents a clear interface that is straightforward to use.

It only supports files in plain-text format, but if you have a lot to convert, this program streamlines the whole process. Queue multiple files for automatic batch conversion to MP3 before choosing Start. There is no option to change voice profiles in this utility, but the settings menu offers tweaks for the pitch, speed, and volume of the synthesized speech.

of 04

Best Online Converter: TTSReader

TTSReader Online text to speech converter
What We Like
  • User-friendly web interface.

  • Variety of voices to choose from.

  • Mobile apps available.

What We Don't Like
  • Few advanced features or tweaks.

  • Supports only TXT, PDF, or eBook conversions.

The online version of TTSReader reads eBooks out loud with natural sounding voices. No installation is needed. As with many of the applications in this list, you can use TTSReader as a real-time text speaking tool as well as a converter. The app offers a well-laid-out interface that is intuitive to use and comes with a nice selection of options.

Although TTSReader's file format support isn't as rich as some other free text-to-speech applications, it converts large amounts of text quickly. It is available for all devices with online access. Android and iOS apps for TTSReader are also available.

Download for:

Was this page helpful?