For those of you who might want to listen to a book via iBooks, one option is to load an iBook on your iPhone or iPad and turn on VoiceOver.
That can change the way your iOS device works, though, so it can be tricky to the uninitiated.
Now that iBooks is on Mavericks, however, you have another option: get your Mac to read your iBook to you.
If you’ve upgraded to Mavericks (and you should, it’s free and optimized for older machines), you have a copy of iBooks on your Mac. Launch it with a double click to the iBooks icon in the Dock or the Applications folder, and then double click one of your iBooks to open it.
Click your mouse in front of where you’d like your MAc to start reading to you, and then head up to the Edit menu. Select the Speech option in the menu, and then choose “Start Speaking.” Your Mac will read to you in the voice that’s chosen in the System Preferences Dictation & Speech preference pane.
Your Mac will keep reading the book until you choose Stop Speaking in the same Edit > Speech menu, though it won’t turn pages when it gets to a new page. If you want to follow along while it reads (a great option for folks with print or other reading disabilities), you’ll need to click the arrow keys or swipe along your trackpad as you go.
If you just want to have your Mac read a selection of text to you, simply click and drag to highlight that section, and then choose Start Speaking from the Edit menu, or right-click and choose Start Speaking from the More option in the contextual menu.