If nobody has read you a bedtime story since you were six. Books on Tape could be the best thing since warm milk and animal crackers. They rent full-lenth recordings of books, most of them running seven to ten one-hour cassettes. You can listen as you drive or walk or drift off to sleep to the classics of moderns, novels or nonfiction. You can hear The Manchurian Candidate on the way to work, Zelda on the way home. Have Dickens with breakfast, Thackeray at lunch, Thoreau during cocktail hour. So far, Books on Tape has about seventy-five titles, and hopes to climb over 100 this year. Listeners develop attachments to certain readers, some preferring British accents, some liking women's voices, some wanting sonorous tones. Each series of tapes rents for about $6.50 or $7.50 plus postage, with a ten per cent discount if you order three or more at a time. But if you order something like Hansen Baldwin's Battles Last and Won , which is eighteen hours' worth of cassettes, you could stretch your listening commitment over years.

Books on Tape. Box 71405, Atlantic-Richfield Station, Los Angeles, Calif. 90071.213 627-5719.