Audio Books: How do you listen?

Just like reading print has changed, so has listening to audio. Where you can load all your books on an ereader without even getting out of bed, you can also load all your audio books on you’re an ipod without leaving the house. I would venture that most audio listeners don’t pick up physical copies. I’ve tried a few different things and I thought I’d share them with you.

First up are good old-fashioned CDs. Like anyone who was alive in the nineties, I never thought I’d one day be calling CDs old fashioned, Hell, I remember listening to cassette tapes. Do they even make those anymore? Though CDs weren’t my first experience with audio, I’ve definitely listened to them a lot. I preferred them a year ago. I had a 45 minute commute to class and work, and popping in an audio book helped me use the time to my advantage. I still have a 45 minute commute, but I ride with my mother most days since we work at the same company. She’d rather talk to me than listen to books, so I CDs are no longer my preference. I still listen to them a little though. When I’m surfing on the internet at home, I’m often listening to an audio book on my stereo. I’ve been listening to Game of Thrones on CD for over a month now. Most of the time I just rip them to my computer and load them on my iPod.

MP3-CDs are a little different. They basically go straight on my iPod because my stereo doesn’t play MP3-CDs. I’ve only listened to one. Well, actually I’m in the process of listening to it. I suppose I can listen on my computer, but that is a pretty rare occurrence. I haven’t totally made up my mind about these. I can see how they’re cheaper to produce, thus being cheaper to buy. I guess that’s nice.

When I found out about my library’s downloadable site, I was ecstatic. Suddenly, I could download a whole book and move it right to my iPod, free of charge. I can check them out for up to twenty-one days, but I listen to a lot of audio so I usually don’t need that long. I do have a few things that bother me a little about the downloadable audio books. At first, I wasn’t crazy about them because most of them were WMA, which means not compatible with my Mac. It made the whole process more complicated than it needed to be. Since I bought an HP a couple of months ago, that’s no longer a problem. I have the download software on my computer, and I can load it on my iPod or listen to them on the computer. I like listening on the computer (with Overdrive Media Console software) better because I can choose where to start by chapter. On the iPod I have to search the book file for my spot if I’ve been listening on the computer. Otherwise, the iPod saves my spot. The biggest complaint is that the volume is really soft for some reason. I can’t listen to them in the car because I can’t hear anything over the sound of the road.

Audible downloads are probably my favorite way to listen. I download them in the iPod book format and I love them. They’re perfect since I do most of my audio listening on my iPod at work. I’ve really enjoyed my Audible account so far. I even came across a great audio book during one of their sales last week. If I keep enjoying it the way I do now, I might have to upgrade my account.

I have to say I’m not a fan of the Playaway. At first, I thought it was cool. It’s a portable device that has the book pre-loaded. I’ve listened to a few audio books from the library on Playaway devices. I can see the appeal. They’re great for libraries. They’re easy and portable and they keep patrons from ripping the content to their computers. I admit I do rip CDs from the library to my computer and take them back, but I always delete them after listening. However, I’m sure there are less honest individuals out there. When you look at it like that, the Playaway is a perfect solution. I don’t like them though because they’re not quite as portable as I’d like. They’re huge compared to my tiny iPod shuffle. I also can’t keep track of my progress. It only shows the time by each chapter rather than the total time. I find that incredibly annoying. I now only listen on Playaway devices when there’s no other audio medium available at the library. Also, they’re crazy expensive. I can’t fathom why a library would spend twice as much money on those.

That’s it for audio formats. Which ones do you like or dislike? Do you even listen to audio books?

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  1. One going in the car at all times. I have listened to a few Playaways in the car and it worked out fine. Usually….CDsI'm a big audio fan! Jen

  2. Yay! I love to meet other audio fans!

  3. I listen on my mp3 player during my commute. Library lends via Overdrive. Once I get ear buds that won't fall out of I move I plan to also listen while doing housework. I wish I could listen while surfing but I can't read and listen at the same time!♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  4. I usually listen in the car, and prefer CD. Only because it is super easy to start listening. I don't have to plug my phone in, start the program, and start the book, and remember to stop when I turn off the car. Plus my phone dies quickly doing this. And since I have an Android phone, I can't download the free WMA books from the library, only the MP3 versions, of which there are considerable less. So for now, CD still wins for me.

  5. Melissa, I can't listen and surf if I'm doing something which involved a lot of reading, but messing around on Goodreads, looking through my feeds to star what I want to read, and scrolling through Twitter and Facebook updates doesn't really distract me. Sarah, I transfer my WMA books to my iPod via Overdrive. I don't listen to CDs in the car often just because my car's CD player is temperamental and doesn't read CDs sometimes.

  6. I like listening to CDs because I can get them from the library, but if I have to purchase it I use Audible and download it to my ipod and set it up so it plays in the car speakers. It’s the perfect way for me to listen on my commute. I can only listen to audio books while driving or cleaning.

    I’ve never heard of Playaway before, looks interesting.

    Books and Sensibility


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