Hi, my name is Anne and I am an audiobook newbie.
I started listening when I was moving from Minnesota to North Carolina last year. I had multiple day drives and it was excellent for keeping me from getting too bored. I’m going to share what I have learned or show how confused I am. Those of you who are old hands at this – try not to laugh at me. There are also questions I will pose and if you can point me in the right direction please comment and help a girl out, ok?
I have found audiobooks to be awesome for doing chores, over lunch at work or when I’m shopping or waiting in line somewhere. They do not work so well at bedtime since I fall asleep and have to re-listen or I stay awake and don’t go to sleep (same as reading books). Audiobooks also allow me to spoon feed a book to myself if I’m having trouble getting into it or even if I’m just tired. I find now I always have a book I’m reading and another for listening.
So first, let’s talk about how to listen to audiobooks, otherwise known as, audiobook formats. There are actual audio CDs (that’s how I started; I know; I know) and there are digital files. I listened to CDs in the car and also on my boombox while packing and unpacking for the move. Nowadays, I use digital files more often. Normally I listen on my iPhone but I could listen on my Kindle or my computer as well. To clarify, here are formats one can purchase:
- Audio CDs – Multiple CDs which can be played in one’s car or on a boombox or computer
- Audio CD MP3 – This is usually just 1 or 2 CDs which contain an MP3 file
- Digital MP3 (or MP4) – no CDs, downloaded to a device digitally similar to music
Next, how does one get audiobooks? Well, I started at the library, of course. It’s especially nice for trying new series or series catchup since they are more likely to have the older titles easily available. The library has both audio CDs and digital files (1 & 3 above). Borrowing is less expensive than buying. CDs can be requested both locally and through interlibrary loan.
For digital, I’m lucky to have a library subscribed to many services, some only have one. Here are some of the possibilities.
The problem here is since they are in different apps on my iPhone. I sometimes forget what I have checked out.
While researching for this post, I found this article at How To Geek which has lots of information about options for borrowing and buying audiobooks. I include it because it has information on many free public domain sites.
Question 1 : Where or how else can audiobooks be borrowed?
For buying, I am still learning how it works. There are many places. At bookstores or online booksellers, one can purchase either actual audio CDs or a CD with an MP3 or MP4 on it. If you get the CD with the digital file, then it needs to be transfer to your computer to get it to your phone (iphone) or ereader (Kindle). An online bookseller can send you a digital file to load to your phone or ereader in a similar way to loading an ebook.
Because I have a Kindle, I started by looking at Audible. Everything here is digital download. If you want CDs, those are at Amazon. Audible has different options. There are annual/ monthly payments where you get free audiobooks and also a discount on every title purchased. Now if you already own the Kindle book, you can often add the audio for MUCH cheaper. Here is a link to the Audible plans if you are interested.
I have learned some other things about Audible. I purchased my first audio books today in research for this article. (Yes, the library has been awesome!) It is possible to get free trials with Audible where one can get 2-3 free audio books and try it for a month or more. I always think about this and then decide I need to figure out 3 I want to buy first.
If you already own the Kindle version of the book, you may be able to add the Audible version, called Whispersync, for a very small price. I own everything Ilona Andrews on Kindle, so naturally my first purchase was to add Whispersync to Magic Bites. This was available for $4.26 (with taxes).
Question 2 : Where else would you recommend purchasing audiobooks?
Simply Audiobooks has an option with a monthly fee ($20-40) for renting physical audiobook Cds, The shipping back and forth is free and the monthly fee is based on how many you get at a time (1-3). This reminds me of the old Netflix system. It says they have purchased as well, but I didn’t see easily how it works. Their library has 50,000 titles. Just Audiobooks is another, similar rental service for $17.98 per month. They have 22,000 CDs. You rent one at a time but can get as many as you can finish / ship in a month.
Downpour, formerly AudioGo, seems to rent and sell in the digital format. If you can’t get it at the library, they seem to rent at about 70% off the buy price. Depending on the length of the book, it is for 30 or 60 days. They also have some sales to purchase audiobooks.
It looks like Scribd is a digital rental subscription where you get 3 books and 1 audiobook for $8.99 per month. This seems akin to Kindle Unlimited but does include one audiobook per month.
Many of the digital services use Audible for their streaming service downloads. Personally, I am trying to move away from physical books and CDs and get everything digital for better portability and storage.
I’m certain iTunes or iBooks must have audiobooks but I know nothing about it. So I went into them, and they are on iTunes. The prices seem a couple dollars higher than Amazon / Audible, however, there is seemingly no credit for the audio version if you own the ebook. The selection or ability to search for things is not as well developed either. But my experience with iTunes audiobooks is extremely limited.
So when I went into iTunes, I had Dark Heir by Faith Hunter which I received on an MP3 CD as a giveaway. I copied it to my computer. Tonight, I saw it in music. Jennifer’s post on how to change the format so it keeps the playback position (bookmark). I also changed it from the type of Music to Audiobook and now it’s ready to roll in iBooks instead of iTunes on my computer. Now I just have to get it transferred to my iPhone. It looks like I could have left it as Music and listened to it there or moved it over to iBooks. This takes me right to my next question.
Question 3: Can one get all your audiobooks into one listening application?
This is the point where I am currently. Everything I own, a very small number of items, is on Audible. Well, I do have one in iBooks. I already have the problem with the library items being in 3-4 different applications. If you buy something at any bookstore in CD format or some other digital source than Audible, can it be put into Audible or iBooks?
My example is with music. Everything I have is in iTunes storage format in directories on my computer and transferred to my iPhone. I’ve never purchased music from iTunes. Anything digital I have purchased through Amazon. My old CDs I just loaded onto my computer and everything is available in iTunes – except Amazon Prime music. So I can use the Amazon music player for that and any other digital music I have purchased. The pisser there is if I purchased a CD from Amazon and it wasn’t also Autorip (including digital version) it will work for iTunes but not Amazon music. Amazon music allows the free upload of 250 songs other than those purchased digitally or in Prime music (Prime music is only available while you are a Prime member but it has a wide variety of music). Or you can buy more uploaded songs. If it weren’t for Prime, easily I would just use my iTunes player as I did before I got Prime.
So for me, the library is amazing. It’s free. The formats and options are many. It even provides a way to purchase some things less expensively. Whether books or audiobooks, I am trying to move everything to digital and only buy things I really LOVE and will read or listen to again. I do see audiobooks as an ideal method to revisit a favorite book or series, even if I read it the first time.
Since I don’t purchase many audiobooks yet, I’m just learning about how to purchase for reasonable prices and how to organize them for easier listening.