Thursday, December 16, 2004

In an attempt to make my 80 minutes of daily commute time more interesting and productive, I've signed up with, and online audiobook service (if you haven't signed up and would like to, please use "rmgebhardt" as the referrer as I get free stuff for sending you their way--thanks!).

Before I started looking at audiobook options, I didn't realize they were so expensive. They can cost anywhere from $20 to $70. Ouch. I thought to myself that there was no way in hell I could justify spending that much money per book, but then I saw that Audible had a subscription plan. For $20 a month you could download two audiobooks, regardless of their price. Considering that most books were $20 or more each, this seemed like a good deal. To sweeten the pot, they offered to give you a free 128 MB MP3 player if you sign up and stay a member for a year.

A year is a long time to commit to something like this, but after I learned that you will always have access to all of the books you buy, and that you can burn them to cds as well, I figured I could get 24 audiobooks and even if I didn't listen to them all while I was a subscriber, I could back the up onto cd and listen to them later down the line.

The MP3 player they sent is nothing fancy. It's actually very rudimentary, but it does the job of holding my audiobooks and nothing else very well. Audible's DRM, which isn't too intrusive, will only let you put one book at a time on the player, but this isn't really a problem since some books can take up to 80 megs of space (so fitting two books on the player at a time would be impossible anyhow).

The first two books I downloaded were I, Robot by Isaac Asimov and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Using Audible's website in conjunction with their downloaded software for my audiobook management, getting my books from the intenet to my MP3 player was very painless and user friendly. The only problem I had was that on my first attempt to dowload Ender's Game I couldn't get it to actually download it. Turns out that the server was overloaded with download requests at the time, and I was easily able to download it a little later that night.

All in all, so far I like Audible's service and software, and their price is very hard to beat. I only wish they had a slightly wider selection of books, but I'm sure they'll expand it greater in the future and I shouldn't have trouble finding at least 24 books that I've been meaning to read and haven't! So if you're looking for a good place to get audiobooks, I'll tell you to go to Audible!

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