Tolkien's The Hobbit as a Free Audiobook

I’m not sure how long the offer will last, but currently (11/3/11) the iTunes store is offering a professionally done audio book of Tolkien’s The Hobbit for free: … 81804?mt=8

It’s a iPad/iPhone/iPod touch app, so unfortunately you won’t be able to listen to it on anything else.

Tolkien himself fretted that he talked down a bit to kids in this book, but it did become a bestseller and it laid the groundwork of his later The Lord of the Rings. Listening to great books is a good way to learn to write great ones.

Along those same lines, writers might want to subscribe to the free Classic Tales podcast:

That’s the link to the direct download, you can also subscribe to it via iTunes by searching for the name and get each week’s episode automatically.

Each Friday, Classic Tales releases another roughly 45-minute segment of classic literature, typically from 19th century American and English writers. It’s great for listening to while driving or walking.

–Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

Showing at 99¢ on my iTunes. (USA)

You’re right. It’s now 99 cents. The offer must have been a very brief one.

That said, it’s still an excellent deal. Amazon had several audio versions of the Hobbit, typically $10 and up and some are dramatized or abridged. This seems to have the entire text as written.

I listened to several chapters today. It’s quite well done. The author is a pro, changing his voice for each character and singing the songs much like Bilbo or a dwarf might. The app remembers where you are and has a chapter-by-chapter display, with the title, that lets you start up wherever you want.

Two negatives:

  1. It’s big, over 200 meg, although you can store it in iTunes when you’ve finished listening.

  2. I’ve yet to discover how to make it and my iPhone’s music player play nice with one another. The pause button on my earphones pauses the Hobbit, but when I click to resume, the Music app starts playing a podcast.

That’s a minor irritation for such an excellent rendition of The Hobbit. It’d be worth far more than the 99 cents for your peace of mind you need to entertain a car-load of kids on a long trip.



I decided to get this the day you recommended it (for the 99 cents). I’m glad I did, because it appears to have been taken off the app store. Can’t be found anymore. (I was trying to download it to another iOS device and it’s disappeared!)

“The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the US store.”