Speaking of Audiobooks: Buy, Rent, or Borrow?

ListeningWe’ve discussed how we listen, why we listen, and, on a continual basis, what we listen to.  But one aspect we have yet to formally address is where we choose to obtain our romance audiobooks.  Do you find most of your audiobooks through your library system?  Do you regularly rent audiobooks?  Do you buy your audiobooks in CD format through your local bookseller or an online outlet?  Or do you buy and download your selections from some online source and listen to those books on a MP3 player?

Borrowing

Often in discussions, one of our listeners will mention that their “go to” source for audiobooks is their local library.  If a particular library does not have a specific title, it can often borrow from affiliated libraries thereby increasing your selection.

I’ll admit that my experience with borrowing audiobooks from my library system is limited although it was a resource I used back in my days of cassette tape listening.  While their selection of romance titles was limited, I still found an occasional audiobook to supplement my need for more.  And often a library is the only reasonable place to access those “too hard to find” or “too expensive to buy” books such as the unabridged versions of Diana Gabaldon’s fifth and sixth entries in the Outlander series, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

Most libraries now feature downloadable audiobooks as well.  However, as my experience is limited in this area, let me turn to our listeners who regularly utilize their library audiobook resources for words of advice.  These comments come from previous discussions here at Speaking of Audiobooks.  Last October, Carol Irvin offered these words of encouragement:

“You do not necessarily need to live in a big area to get a huge selection of audiobooks. The greater access concept is alive and well in libraries. Thus, in my region the Cleveland Public Library has put together a consortium of libraries in northern Ohio, including its own collection. I can order and pick up anything the consortium has at three tiny libraries in the small towns surrounding me. This was not advertised. I had to do a little digging to discover it. But it is fabulous. I have yet to look for an audiobook that the consortium does not have.”

While discussing those difficult-to-find Diana Gabaldon books last September, Cathy informed us that we may even have the power to influence our library’s choice of audiobooks:

“…go talk to your local librarian and see if they will purchase/interloan a copy of The Fiery Cross for you! It doesn’t hurt to let them know 1) they own the rest of the series 2) a new title is coming out that’s sure to hit the bestseller lists, and 3) that the reviews of the series on audio are excellent.”

In August, Katyco shared that she gets about half of her audiobooks on CD from the library.  The other half are MP3 downloads from her library mixed in with purchases from Audible.

So now we come to the part that always chips away at my determination to borrow, rather than buy, some of my audio selections and that is the compatibility issue when downloading library audiobooks to your particular listening device.  As I attempted to borrow last year through downloading, the Tulsa Library System’s site informed me that it “offers OverDrive WMA Audiobook titles and OverDrive MP3 Audiobook titles.”   And… “OverDrive WMA Audiobooks can be transferred to Apple devices (where permitted by the publisher) using OverDrive Media Console v3.2 (or newer) for Windows.”

Huh?  And what is that bit about permission from publishers?

I realize that this only sounds complicated and is actually much simpler once one understands the process.  So, those of you who listen to audiobooks borrowed from your library system, can you offer some specifics?  Hopefully with your advice, many of our listeners will begin utilizing downloads from their library system as well.

Renting

Renting audiobooks is an alternative unknown to many listeners.  I’ve not taken advantage of these programs although I’ve been tempted.  One source in particular, Recorded Books, provides rentals of a number of hard-to-find romance audiobooks.  But simply stated – the fees are significant.  The cost of renting the aforementioned hard-to-find unabridged version of Diana Gabaldon’s The Fiery Cross is $37.50 in either CD or cassette tape.  Another rarely seen romance, Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas, rents for $18.50 on CD and $17.50 on cassette tape.  You’ll also have a hard time locating Julie Garwood’s The Secret but Recorded Books rents it for $20.50 in CD and $18.50 in cassette tape format.  If you haven’t visited Recorded Books, I suggest you take a look.  You’ll find many more hard-to-find romance audiobooks for rent and purchase.  However, I must warn you that their purchase prices usually do not come close to the thrifty category.

The Fiery CrossBuying

When the subject of buying audiobooks comes up these days, I immediately think of downloading books to my MP3 player.  But it wasn’t all that many years ago that I spent hours each week watching the auctions on eBay and buying romance audiobooks in cassette tape or CD format.  I was just beginning to build my audio library and buying “used” seemed to be the most affordable option.  In the past, I’ve sporadically purchased new romance CDs through online outlets such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  Local bookstores have failed me miserably in this area as they don’t seem to stock romance titles – or at least those to my taste.

Many of our listeners rely on cassette tapes or, more often, CDs for their listening.  Buying used or new audiobooks in CD format is big business online and there are many reputable outlets for such.

Discovering downloads of romance audiobooks, however, changed my audiobook world.  No longer do I need to spend time looking for the best deals because I’m confident that Audible.com, the outlet I use for purchasing downloads, will usually have the best price.  In addition, Audible has the largest selection of romance audiobooks and is constantly offering new recordings of older romance titles.

Online, you will find a good number of retail outlets for purchasing romance audiobook downloads.  When making your choice you may want to consider the size of their romance section since the sites with the best prices usually require some sort of monthly membership plan.  Here are four of the larger sites for downloadable romance audiobooks with the approximate size of their library:

Barnes & Noble – 530 romance titles

Audio Book Store – 550 romance titles

Books on Board – 950 romance titles

Audible – 1,875 romance titles

During our Speaking of Audiobooks discussions, our listeners mention Audible as their source for romance audiobook downloads far more than any other source.  However, in a comment made last June, Niecie had this to offer on Books on Board:

“I get my audiobooks from Books on Board. They have a pretty large selection in the romance genre, although you do find many of the titles in the general fiction section. The audiobooks are WMA and if they are available in MP3, that option is usually there.”

Among our many listeners who choose Audible, Katyco offers these words:

“You should give Audible a try. All you need is a computer, an MP3 player, and a credit card. They have a great selection and the member prices are very reasonable. When you buy and download a book, it stays in your audio library.”

Marissa B sums up my thoughts on Audible:

“If you are an audiobook enthusiast (or even and audiobook enthusiast wannabe), you can’t go wrong with Audible.com. Not only do they have a large library of books to choose from, they are by far the most affordable source of audiobooks on the web.”

Living Outside of the U.S. Can Make Things Tricky

Through our discussions here at Speaking of Audiobooks, I have learned that there are some geographical challenges (outside of the United States) with the purchase of audiobook downloads.  Apparently the lack of a U.S. credit card with a U.S. address is the usual culprit since there are geographical restrictions placed by publishers.

Knowing that Kaetrin, living in Australia, has worked through this sometimes discouraging situation, I asked her to share with us just how and where she purchases her audiobook downloads:

I don’t know about renting.  I’m not sure that is an option for me.  If it’s U.S., I think I’d struggle due to geographical restrictions.  Oh, if I could only get a US credit card!!

As for buying, I get my audiobooks from either Audible or Books on Board.  For my Audible account, they know I live in Australia and my credit card apparently screams this as well - I’m restricted in the titles they offer due to geographical restrictions.  A lot of the books you discuss in the blog (editor’s note: books available in the U.S. through Audible) aren’t available to me from Audible.  However, I can occasionally obtain some of those titles through Books on Board gift certificates.  My monthly Audible credit costs me about $17 ($14.95 U.S.) depending on the exchange rate.  I’ve looked a few times for audiobooks via iTunes but they are hideously expensive ($40-50 AUD and I’m not paying that for anything).  I draw the line at about $20. $25 if I really want the book.”

Reading this, I feel most fortunate that I have such a large selection of romance audiobooks with so few restrictions.  Maybe I need to quit bellyaching about the difficulty in downloading audiobooks from my local library and just do it.  Note to self: Count your audiobook blessings.

Selecting Your Audiobook Device

Our Speaking of Audiobooks column, How We Listen, dated October 9th, 2009, concentrated on the various types of listening devices.  During the discussion, listeners offered advice on choosing a device that fits your needs.  Please take a look if you’re thinking about making a change in your method of listening.  I believe you’ll find answers to many of your questions.

Devil in WinterSome Lisa Kleypas News

For Kleypas fans, there’s a lot to look forward to in upcoming releases of her older titles.  Here are a few I discovered recently and I have a feeling there’s more to come:

Secrets of a Summer Night August 2010

It Happened One Autumn August 2010

Scandal in Spring September 2010

Devil in Winter September 2010

Then Came You December 2010

Dreaming of You December 2010

Somewhere I’ll Find You February 2011

Because You’re Mine February 2011

Time for Your Thoughts

Do you buy, rent, or borrow your audiobooks?

Where do you find your audiobooks?

Is there a particular source you highly recommend to other listeners for buying audiobooks?

If you purchase your audiobooks, do you purchase CDs/Tapes or downloads?

If you rent audiobooks, what is your source?

Can you provide advice on downloading audiobooks from sources such as your public library?

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook success of failure to share with us?

Ending Notes

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, please check out our audio archives as well as AAR’s main site for monthly lists of upcoming audiobook releases.

I’ll be back again later this month when we discuss June’s audiobook new releases.

- Lea Hensley

42 thoughts on “Speaking of Audiobooks: Buy, Rent, or Borrow?

  1. I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, but when I do, I usually get them from the library. I haven’t had a lot of luck with downloadable audiobooks – I have a Mac and although more audio books are Mac compatible, the majority still are not. So I generally just get the CD version. As Carol Irvin mentioned in the article, if you can’t find the one you want at your local library, check to see if they’re available at other libraries. I can order them from any library in my state. Since I’m an iPod user and don’t even have a CD player any more, I rip the CD’s onto my iPod. The legality of this is a little iffy, but as long as I only use them while I have the CD checked out from the library, and delete them when I’m done, it seems to be covered under fair use.

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  3. Great subject Lea. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who would like to listen to audio books but think it is too hard or too much trouble. But believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. It only takes a few steps to download a book. If you don’t think you can figure it out for yourself, get someone who knows computers to help you the first couple of times.

    Since I’ve gotten more familiar with downloading audio books and they have become more available on both NetLibrary and Audible, the way I get my audio books is completely opposite. I probably only get about 20% of my audio books from the library on CD now. Downloading is just so convenient.

    I either borrow or buy my audio books. I’ve never rented.

    I use Audible to find the books I want to listen to and then check to see if they’re available on Net Library. If I can’t borrow it, then I buy it from Audible. Some books I know I want to buy to add to my collection even if I can borrow (such as the Outlander series). I also take advantage of Audible sales. If I can get a book I want for less than $10, I will usually go ahead and buy it.

    As for downloading from the library, although I’m not a computer tech by any means… Some library downloads are MP3 files and some are WMA (which is a Windows Media file). Ipods are only compatible with MP3 file formats, whereas, some other MP3 players will use both MP3 and WMA formats. Overdrive Media Console is a program that allows Ipod users to download some WMA audio books to their Ipod. I have an Ipod but since my computer is Microsoft, I have a Creative Zen for downloading books from the library. If you’re interested in downloading from the library, check your library website for compatible mp3 players. If you want to use your Ipod for library downloads, you can do that using Overdrive Media Console or a program that converts WMA files to MP3 format. For me, it was easier just to get an mp3 player that is compatible with both. I paid about $60 for my 2G Zen and it holds about 6 to 8 books at a time. When you download a book from the library it gives you a license to use the book 21 days. If you still haven’t finished it, you will have to “renew” the license. Since I listen to about 4 or 5 books a week, I could go broke buying them all.

    Audible will download to both Ipod and other mp3′s.

    My most recent failure was Die for Me by Karen Rose. Although I really enjoyed the first 2 books, Scream for Me and Kill for Me, the way the narrator did the male lead voice on Die for Me was just unbearable. I’ll probably just read the last book.

    My most recent succeses are Lisa Wingate’s Texas Cooking (loved True McKittrick) and Lone Star Cafe. There are not any sex scenes, only kisses, but I found them to be some of the most romantic and funny books I’ve read in a while. There are also some great secondary characters. Next I’ll be listening to Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner.

    My latest audio puchases are Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr and Dead in the Family.

  4. I forgot to mention that I can’t wait for the Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas. These I will most definately buy for my audio collection.

  5. I only use Audible to purchase Audiobooks, but I also only purchase using my Credits. I currently have 4 credits I have been saving for 5/25 releases (there are 5 I am waiting for). I tried Simplyaudiobooks.com and emusic.com, but found them both really confusing when renting/buying, so I canceled them both. There is NO WAY I will purchase a book from iTunes. There prices are highway robbery without a gun for Audiobooks. I have also borrowed a few from friends. My local library does not have a good selection of Audiobooks, and they mostly have tapes.

  6. Our library system has a large selection of audiobooks, but many are still on cassette (they are changing over to CDs as money allows). For the longest time, it has been the only place to get Georgette Heyer on audio. Now audible.com has a good, and growing, selection of Heyer’s books. We keep a few personal cassette players around to take advantage of the libraries audio selection, plus we still have a cassette player in our main vehicle (that should tell you how old it is).

    If the library doesn’t have a book we want, I turn to audible.com. I’m a member, so the monthly credit is only $14.99 and that is generally worth one book. If a book is less than $15, we buy it outright. Once you’ve bought several books (I want to say 4, but I’m not 100% sure) in addition to your monthly credit, audible gives you a $10 credit towards another book. Overall, they are really hard to beat for price and ease of use. They also run good sales periodically, which is a great way to try a new author or series for very little expense. the only downside to audible for me has been that my daughter “shares” the account, and therefore I I ony download books that are G/PG. We get a lot of Heyer, and mysteries writers such as Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy Sayers. I’ve also bought some of Jim Butcher’s Dresden books since my daughter prefers audiobooks (I have them all in book form, too).

    I use my iPod Touch for listening. My daughter uses her iPod, and a CD or cassette player when listening to library books.

  7. I mainly do a mix of buying CDs and downloading from Audible. I tried to borrow CDs from my public library, but the library in the town I lived in had a very limited selection of romances and mysteries. Plus, they would only let you keep them out for one week. At the time I had a very short commute, and could never finish a whole book in a week. My old library didn’t let you download books, so that wasn’t a possibility.

    I moved a few weeks ago, and will be checking into the local library system this weekend. Hopefully they’ll have a larger selection.

    I love audible, and download books to my iPhone. But, I’ve run into a problem that someone here might be able to help me with. In my previous location, I only had to drive a few miles to work, and never at a speed higher than 30 mph, so the car noise was minimal, and I could hear audiobooks just fine on my iPhone. Now, for the next few months, I have over an hour commute, and all of it on highways, going 70 mph or more. I’ve discovered that at that speed, I simply can’t hear audio books on my iPhone, even with the volume set to max. So, I’ve resorted to buying CDs again, but would love to find some device that would allow me to hear books again while driving from my iPhone. Any ideas?

  8. As I am rather technologically challenged, most of the audiobooks I listen to are either from the local library or ones that I have purchased. The library has a R.E.A.D.S program that I have used a few times. Thanks for the information re:audible.com.

  9. Great topic again, Lea. Thanks.

    I’ve never tried renting and it looks cost prohibitive, so I probably won’t even look into it.

    I purchase a lot of my audiobooks, mostly from audible.com, not just because of the price and selection, but also because they store all my books for me, so that I don’t have to worry about losing them to a crashed PC or flash drive. That was a convenience that convinced me to try audible 5 years ago, and it’s been great to re-download a book whenever I want repeat a listen.

    I have downloaded other purchases from audiobookstanddl.com, but then I had to hassle with burning an MP3 CD to store a copy offline.

    When I was new to audiobooks, I borrowed library CDs and cassettes. Then I purchased a couple of “just-gotta-have books” on CD. Now, if I am not downloading a purchase, I will only buy MP3 CDs. I really enjoy listening to a book (on CD) when I don’t have to keep reloading the next disc.

    I tried the Overdrive downloads from the library, but I didn’t like the 21-day limit, so I don’t do it often.

    @LinnieGayl – For road trips, I did look into buying an FM transmitter for my iPod, which allows me to use the car speakers. There might be the same device for your iPhone. Check out the following article:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-13879-iPhone-Examiner~y2009m6d24-How-to-listen-to-your-iPhone-through-your-car-stereo

    Good luck!

  10. I don’t listen to very many, just when traveling. However, I’m lucky. My UBS has a good supply, so I can trade for them with other audio books, or she even lets me trade regular books for audio books. I have bought a few from Amazon, but I usually just trade for them.

  11. Thanks, MarissaB. I’ll have to check in to that. Looks like time for a visit to Best Buy or someplace like that.

  12. Based on my e-borrowing experiences, I’ll say emphatically that I hate Overdrive. NOTHING except Adobe and Mobipocket formats work, and when I e-mailed the librarians about the failed audiobook downloads (Georgette Heyer), they were stumped. Not to mention the fact that you can’t “return” audiobooks through Overdrive. Bleeyetch.

  13. For anyone that is interested in getting started with Audible.com and MP3 players I thought it would be nice to mention that most MP3 players that are compatible with Audible.com can be purchased through Amazon for $100.00 off if you agree to sign up for the Audible Gold plan of $14.95 a month for one year. Which gives you 1 book credit per month plus the 100.00 off on the player.

    It’s a great deal. I let my membership lapse and then signed my husband up for an Audible membership when I wanted a new iPod and it was well worth it.

    As a personal endorsement I’ve called Audible’s customer service any number of times over the years with various questions and they are extremely helpful. So if your new to this avenue of audiobooks know that Audible will bend over backwards to help you settle in.

    You can also bump up to any other plans Audible offers at any time once your set up with Audible. So if you’d like to pay 22.95 a month in order to get 2 book credits per month it’s easily done once you’ve joined.

    Once your yearly contract is up, if you don’t want to continue with a monthly plan, you can pay $9.95 per year and thus still be offered their special sales and the “member” pricing.

    I sound like a commercial here but I like Audible and I love listening to audiobooks, and having lots of them with me at any given time :) with a MP3 player.

  14. LinnieGayl; I bought a little speaker from Amazon and just plug it into my mp3 player. It works like a dream! I’m listening to “Cold As Ice” and I’m loving it. I just finished listening to “Leaving Normal” and not so much. The narrator was fine but the story was slow.

  15. I got hooked on audio by borrowing from the library. It wasn’t long before acquisition fever set in and I started buying from Audible. Local librairies at the time were offering only cassettes, often wobbly or damaged ones. I am now resolved to check into library downloads. It would be great for trying out iffy books and, what the heck, I can always buy if it’s a keeper.

    iTunes prices are normally higher than Audible’s but I have lucked into a few on sale — Crusie’s Manhunting for under $6 and a few others. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking iTunes now before using an Audible credit.

    Recent successes include Blood Born by Howard & Jones. Yes, I really really liked it! Dismayed to pay 2 credits for this $7.99 paperback although it is almost 17 hours. Audible says price was set by Publisher Ballantine. Let’s hope this isn’t a bad sign of things to come. Ward’s Lover Mine was pretty much what I expected and my interest in this series is waning. The next generation of warriors aren’t as compelling to me as the original crew. They’re, well, young, and don’t have hundreds of years of melodramatic back story. I bought Quinn’s When He Was Wicked and it’s a slog. I want to slap Francesca and I’m not crazy about Prebble’s narration. May be a DNF.

  16. Books on Board use the Overdrive Media Console. The books won’t import into iTunes but they transfer straight over to the iPod no problem. They are stored in “albums” instead of “audiobooks” but it’s easy to use. Just install Overdrive, then download. Open Overdrive, plug in your iPod and click on “transfer” and voila!! At least, that’s how it’s been for me.

    I’m listening to Dream a Little Dream by SEP/Anna Fields at present and I’m really liking it. I’m having a big SEP glom at present! Nobody’s Baby But Mine was good but I didn’t like the characters as much as when I first read the book. The set up was torturous and improbable but once they got to Salvation things got better.

    Oh, and can I totally recommend Welcome to Temptation by Jenny Crusie? The narrator is something like Aasne Vigasaa but don’t be put off by the name – she’s American! I could tell who was speaking pretty easily but she didn’t do a deep male voice. However, the book translated really well to audio – I laughed out loud countless times and I wanted to listen again almost immediately. I know it’s one I’ll go back to. I’ve got Faking It on my wishlist when my next Audible credit comes up later this week – same narrator and same crazy Dempsey family! If you like Crusie, I highly recommend Welcome to Temptation.

  17. I find using my library for downloading audiobooks to be insanely frustrating and complicated. My library uses two different sources – MediaMall and Net Library – and both have their own software necessary to download and transfer books. You can only listen to the book on the computer where you downloaded it, and if you don’t pay very careful attention, you may not be able to use your portable device at all if it’s not compatible. To make matters even more confusing, every book seems to have a different permutation of what kinds of files it comes in – MP3 vs. WMA vs. whatever. It seems 9 times out of 10, the books I want are not compatible with my iPod.

    Plus, I wanted to download some books for my father to listen to while he’s in the hospital dealing with chemotherapy. I went through the pain-in-the-neck process to download the books and save them to a flash drive so that he could have them on his laptop only to find they wouldn’t work that way. Very frustrating.

    In the end, the available titles simply aren’t tempting enough to deal with the hassle. If I’m going on a long trip, I’ll pick through the physical stash of audiobooks on the shelves which is also fairly limited. My library/audiobook experience isn’t fantastic.

  18. For one year my local, very small, library had a free trial of NetLibrary and it was great to check there first, especially as mentioned above, for iffy books or to try a narrator out.

    The most important thing that I learned (after much frustration) about NetLibrary is that you have to start playing the audiobook on your computer so that the “license” to play is granted. After you know the book will play on your computer you then move the library audiobook to your MP3 player.

    My small library wasn’t able to pay the fee to keep the NetLibrary books program which was disappointing. But I now use my sisters library card and have access to Overdrive library books. They were a bit more difficult to work with, and you have to use their Overdrive Media console software, but in the end I figured it out.

    I prefer my iPod’s for audiobook listening, but for the NetLibrary and now Overdrive library books I use a comparatively inexpensive Sandisk Sansa Clip + MP3 player. The Clips are compatible with all different formats (including Audible) and the ability to just drag and drop audiobooks into the Sansa Clip + “audiobook folder” makes it very easy to use. It has auto resume for audiobooks just like the iPods.

    I have followed a thread over on Amazon entitled “What’s the best player for Audiobooks” for well over a year now. The consensus at this point for a straight up audiobook player with no bells and whistles is the Sansa Clip + for price, ease of use and compatibility with any format of audiobook you can throw at it.

    There is a lot of info in that thread (don’t start at the beginning or you’ll be reading for days, just go to, say, the last 6 months worth of posts) for anyone wanting to get started with MP3 players. The people that comment are very knowledgeable and offer tons of help to anyone with questions on “how to”.

    For anyone interested in a really easy to follow, step by step, tutorial on how to “rip” audiobooks from CD’s for use on your MP3 players here is a link.

    http://blog.audiobookaddict.com/2010/03/28/rip-off-2.aspx

  19. Love audible! Love love love. I listen to audiobooks while I clean my house, and I barely notice I’m cleaning. I can go for hours…. My rationalization: $15 a month is way cheaper than a maid.

    (Okay, it’s lame…but I’m going with it.)

    Thanks for the great post!

  20. I ALWAYS buy new. I’m an author and if I don’t support the publishing industry how can I expect to continue to have a job? Especially when so many people don’t or can’t buy new.

  21. CD’s, cassettes, downloadable MP3s and WMA format… Very often, just the fact that I actually found what I was in the mood for overides the format choice! :-D

    Audible, by far, has the most extensive selection of audio within the Romance/UF genres. I’ve been on their $9.95 (or is it $9.99?) per year plan for several years now. However, once Amazon bought Audible, that plan was discontinued. If you ask for it, they’ll say it’s no longer available, yet I do know that some people (oddly, not all though) will be offered that yearly plan if they indicate they are cancelling after their trial plan ends. Really, the $9.95/year plan is great because I still get member pricing, I’m still offered regular sales prices, but I never feel any pressure to use up any credits.

    I belong to two different library systems also. My local library is affiliated with NetLibrary and, as a resident of Ohio, I was able to join the Cleveland library sytem and thus can download from Clevenet. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a problem downloading audiobooks from either site, but Netlibrary DOES require an extra validation step the first time you listen to an audiobook, so make sure you listen for a few seconds from your PC before you transfer it to any audio devices.

    I have a Sansa Fuze and an HP iPAQ PDA that I can listen to audio books on. But, to be honest, I actually prefer the Windows Media Player on my PC to listen to either Audible downloads or audio CDs that I’ve burned from my library downloads.

    Maybe I should back up– when you download from a library, there is an expiration date embedded in the audio file. Well, I don’t listen every day, just when I’m doing repetitive data entry that would bore me to tears without being able to “read” a book. So I seldom finish a book before the library system’s expiration date. But if you get that audio file copied off of your PC, either to an MP3 player or burned to CDs, then it never knows that it has expired.

    Because I’m working while I’m listening, I frequently have to back up the audio book and replay a minute or two when my attention wandered to my work. ;-p In Windows Media Player on my PC, that’s no big deal; but on my MP3 player and my PDA, it’s all too easy to find myself clear back at the beginning of an audiobook instead of the shorter “rewind” that I intended. You can imagine how frustrating that can be!

    Anyway, burning my library downloads to CD (when available) allows me to listen on my PC as I prefer, and I still don’t have to concern myself with expiration dates. BTW, you can burn to CD from Audible, but since those don’t have an expiration date, I don’t need to do it.

    So how do I decide where to get my audio books? Library download has priority, but if there is a waiting list and I want it NOW, then it’s off to Audible to see what their price is like. If it’s reasonable (i.e. under $20) then I buy it, otherwise, I add myself to the library waiting list. But having said that, if I know the audio book is a potential keeper, I check Borders, B&N, and even Amazon to see if buying the CDs, usually with a good coupon, works out cheaper than Audible’s download.

  22. I buy MP3 audio books from Audiobookstand. Each month they have select unabrided CD audiobooks for $10 and unabridged MP3 audiobooks for $9.98.

    One always receives 20% off titles plus there is a clearence section where discounts are higher. They currently have a coupon which is good for an addtional 10% ,WDC510. The coupon is valid May18-22.

    I also check out prices at Barnes and Noble – their preorder prices are generally better.

  23. I do not like romance on audiobook, outside of Austen and just a few others. The Aiden Trilogy, at Audible, is outstanding though. I also do not generally like mystery on audio because it is too plot oriented. What I really enjoy are audiobooks where the language is what the book is all about. Thus, I have listened to all of Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster on audiobooks and now am working on Mapp and Lucia by Benson. I also loved John Cheever, Phillip Roth, Harper Lee and many others. In fact, audiobooks have helped me regain my love of the English language in prose. I just read Rachel Gibson’s newest book in print. I enjoyed it but I can tell you I would not want to listen to it in audio. This is because its language is not what it is all about. So I am totally happy to read it in print. Everyone is going to be different on this though. Whatever works for you is key.

    The iphone works spectacularly well with audiobooks. I have more than one ipod and much as I love ipod, nothing beats my iphone. I now have an iPad which I love for ebooks. It does audiobooks but I don’t want to carry around something that size for an audiobook when I can tuck my iphone in my pocket.

    I have not had much luck with downloading audiobooks from the library either. I am on a Mac though so that could be part of the problem. The CDs work so well though that I really don’t think about it.

    iphone on the road. i need to ask a question. are you trying to listen with headphones on or are you actually piping it through your car’s FM radio. I have a Belkin device which does this with my radio but it has a few quirks. My email addy is over on my site, listed above. it is in image format so you will need to write it down. email me and i will try to help your iphone in the car problem.

    Audible. I was spending too much money with a monthly account so now I go over and buy only when I really want something and can’t find it anywhere else. I just went over this weekend and bought Queen Lucia by Benson because no one else had it. No library. No nothing. I have it in ebook print because that work is now in the public domain. I like audible if I use it this way, where I only buy what I can’t find elsewhere. That has proven to be very economical. Its selection is excellent.

    These restrictions by country drive me bats. Some excellent narrators are in the UK and we aren’t allowed to download their books. I do have a friend in the UK though so maybe we can work out a gift certificate kind of download like someone else mentioned. This is just like the dvd regions, which also used to drive me bats, before streaming entered the picture.

  24. I’ve been traveling the past two days and although it’s been easy to keep up with comments via my iPhone, this is the first time I’ve slowed enough to comment. Lots of great advice as I hoped!

    MarissaB – I totally agree with the storage aspect of Audible. When I experienced a loss of my hard drive recently, I didn’t have to worry about recovering my audiobooks. In the end, I lost all of my emails but not one of my 100+ audiobooks.

    Diana – I never check in with iTunes. I just assume their price is too high but will start checking now. Two credits for Howard’s Blood Born – I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk myself into it. Did you feel Howard’s signature coming through?

    Lynn M – You’ve voiced my fears! I don’t love the technical aspect of most things having to do with the world of computers. I think I’ll wait until my computer savvy daughter is around and I’ll watch HER figure it out. She loves me enough to roll her eyes and teach me if it’s possible.

    Gamatst – Thanks for the tip on NetLibrary. I’ll be sure to let my daughter know when she is figuring out those downloads for me. 

    Diana Holquist – Thanks for stopping in! We’d love to hear from you again.

    Lori Wilde – One thing the electronic age has encouraged me to do is buy new. I purchase nearly all of my books through Kindle and Audible. It’s not an Amazon thing – it’s just where I landed and I’m really happy buying new now.

    BevQB – I back up continuously while listening – either because I missed it or want to hear it again. I was fairly successfully with this on my second generation Nano but my latest Nano is more challenging. Unless I touch it in just the right area, I’m backing up or forwarding a full chapter. This is where I do miss cassette tape format. They may have been inconvenient in many ways but backing up usually was a breeze.

    MaryC – Thanks for the recommendation of Audiobookstand. Their clearance area sounds tempting.

    For you Audible members, Diana just informed me of a 48 hour sale on select books for $9.95. I didn’t get notification of the sale (it’s sporadic – sometimes I do – sometimes I don’t) but I immediately dashed over there and found one of the books on my wish list on sale.

    And something that has nothing to do with romance audio but is audio as well – Audible announced today it’s release of It by Stephen King. Years ago when I read It, I rated it my own “very scariest book.” Yeah, I don’t read/listen to many scary books but this release has me tempted to revisit those kids/adults in Derry, Maine since 1 credit buys you 44 hours of listening. It’s also narrated by Stephen Weber. Isn’t he the same Stephen Weber from the TV series, Wings?

  25. Thx for the heads up about the Audible sale! I just picked up Faking It by Jenny Crusie for $9.95 and I decided to try a Johanna Linsday one that was on sale too!

  26. Kaetrin – When I saw you purchased Fakin It, I decided to purchase it as well. Let me know when you start listening and I’ll try to listen to it at the same time, okay?

  27. I have read Welcome to Temptation several times and listened to it twice. It is my favorite contemporary romance. I’ve started reading Faking It twice – both after reading/listening to WTT. I only read 50-100 pages before losing interest. But I know that both times I was hoping for another WTT and there’s not another one out there, IMHO. I think if I listen to Faking It now without all those expectations, I’ll enjoy it.

  28. Faking It was the first ever Jenny Crusie that I read. I had a a bit of a stutter to my Crusie experience as I read a few chapters and put it down, not really “getting it”. But, for some reason, I decided to pick it up again and suddenly, I was breezing through it and really enjoying the characters. It was a while later that I read Welcome To Temptation and of course, that’s where we actually meet the Dempsey’s and understand a bit about Clea and Davey and that history helped me to understand Faking It better. I’m looking forward to listening to this one – I’ve only read the book the once, but I did enjoy the narration of WTT so much and I think it will be fun. (Of course, it’s no WTT – or Bet Me for that matter which is my other fave Crusie – but I’m looking forward to it.).

  29. You know how I said I’d bought a couple of books at the Audible sale? I went back to check something and up popped a screen offering me a book for $4.95 – it was only available while the browser was open for that session and it was a surprise sale. There was only a small selection of books available in the surprise sale and the new price was in the cart, not on the list. I picked up Naked in Death on audio. Bargain!

  30. I loved Angels Blood and thought the narrator did an excellent job! She caught the whole tone of the book perfectly for my ears.

    Her British accent for Illium was great along with the more Slavic type accent she had for Dimitri. Loved her Elena and just the way she said the name Raphael made it a beautiful name to hear. :)

    Can’t wait for Archangels Kiss coming out at the end of June!

    Lea … with just a little effort your daughter should get the Net Library thing down. Funny as I’m the techy gadget freak for my family (I’m 50 with four grown children ranging in age from 26 to 33) and all because of audiobooks. I was determined to learn everything I could because I enjoyed them so much, long before Audible made them so easy to get onto a player. For our recent 34th wedding anniversary my husband and kids gave me things like iTunes and Amazon gift cards to indulge my love of gadgets and audiobooks. Of course in turn I handle all their iPod /MP3 questions or troubles, even if they think me a bit crazed with my addictions. :)

    Kaetrin … IMHO Faking It would be a really tough listen without having read the book first. I too had a hard time getting into the book when I read it but once it started coming together a bit I really enjoyed it and subsequently enjoyed listening to it on audio. And I agree, you need the history from Welcome to Temptation to really be able to “get” Faking It.

  31. Good to hear your comments MaryK and Gamatst – I was hoping some listeners were still hanging out here because I wanted to share! I just finished JR Ward’s Lover Eternal – fantastic! Now that I am accustomed to Jim Frangione’s reading style, I’m totally fine with it. Although I read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series several times in order, I’m now jumping here and there with the audiobooks. I listened to Lover Awakened first, Lover Eternal followed, and I purchased Dark Lover today. I found Lover Avenged on the $9.99 sale at Audible. Now just need to fill in a few more.

    My other recent purchases are Cruisie’s Faking It and Brockmann’s Breaking Point. Also, last week I purchased the third in Bujold’s The Sharing Knife series – Passage (can’t quit listening).

    There are a number of other audiobooks from my own personal reading challenge waiting in the wings. I’m so excited about all the wonderful listening I have in front of me. I’m leaving tomorrow for my third trip in two weeks and this one involves around 24 hours of driving. Lots of time to overdose on my love of audiobooks.

  32. I’m traveling next week, as well, and planning what to bring to listen to. Bringing Angels’ Blood for sure. I’m looking foward to some relaxing listening time!

    I just started one of Jayne Castle’s ghost hunter books and am really enjoying it. Haven’t gotten to the mushy parts yet.

  33. Diana I’m with you…I also love, love, love audible and that’s my “go to” company. I have the Platinum plan and will continue to use that. It’s the best deal for buying books as they come out to about $9.95 ea. However, I shop the sales. I recently got Outlander for $4.95 – now that’s a deal! I started out with Recorded Books a few years ago when I was still using a mini cassette player and a CD player. However they haven’t seemed to join the 21st century because they’re still offering cassette and CD’s but no downloading. I sometimes buy from Brilliance if Audible doesn’t have what I want and get the MP3 format that can be changed for my iPod and it’s usually less expensive than CD’s. Not all of my books are from audible so I have 2 external hard drives where I back everything up – even my audible purchases. I currently have almost 600 books on my iTunes. I have boxes full of CD’s that I’ve purchased over the years. I definitely use libraries whenever I can although sometimes I’m too impatient to wait to be a number way down the list. Audio books are my biggest addiction but my Kindle is quickly catching up. Just finished listening to Never Seduce A Scoundral by Sabrina Jeffries and forgot how funny and sexy it was. I really liked Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Born of Night. My next is Angel’s Blood and then The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest followed by Gena Showalters new release Darkest Passion next week. Can’t wait for the older Lisa Kleypas’ this year especially Devil in Winter and Dreaming of You.

  34. In my family we always read stories to each other. so I love to be read to. I lived alone for many years, had/have little patience for tv, so I got into audiobooks. The man I married had a good voice and read to me, but I still enjoyed listening to audiobooks. I have rented from blackstone/audioeditions/recorded books. I have always checked out from the library, with CD’s I download to my MP3 player using ITunes, it allows you to join tracks, submit the information you want and add comments and cover art. I have two versions of ITunes on my computer. One for audiobooks, one for music. I admit to my frustration in wanting to listen to books from foreign countries. I have friends who have friends and I use their library cards to download from their systems. And most libraries in the US and England will let you sign up for a visitor card which is good for a couple of weeks. I then download everything I think I want that is not available in my local library. But it is all about the telling for me. I need a voice that can tell a story, not and actor reading lines. Barbara Rosenblatt has a storyteller’s voice. Some stories I might not have heard but selected because she was the teller. Thanks all for your comments, I have made yet another list of books I want to hear. Oh, when I listen in my auto, I set the equalizer for jazz. The voices come through better even at 65 mph

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