SANDY BERGER: Audiobooks Offer Singular Advantages
Digital is a perfect match for the audio world. We can listen on portable music players while waiting at the doctor's office, walking, or at the gym. We can play digital music on our computers. Listening to digital music is fun, but if you are a book lover, listening to digital audiobooks is even better.
To try digital audiobooks, just surf over to Audible. com. This Web site has more than 35,000 titles, including the latest best sellers, classics, romance novels, and just about every type of book you could want. It also has audio- newspapers, magazines, journals and periodicals.
The Web site is easy to navigate. You simply create an Audible account, install the software (either Apple's free iTunes or Audible's included software), and purchase and download your audiobooks. Then you can listen to the audiobooks on your computer, copy them to a portable music player, or burn them to CDs that you can use in your car or on your home stereo.
A typical book on Audible costs about $25, which is less than you would spend in the audio section of a bookstore. You can bring the price down even more by joining one of Audible's membership plans. For instance, their Audible Listener Gold plan gives you one book a month plus member discounts on additional books for $7.49 for the first 3 months and $14.95 a month after that.
If you are a book lover, this may be one of the cheapest ways to get some of the books you would love to read. And you don't have to strain your eyes. Just sit and listen.
I've been using Audible.com for several years, and I really like the way they do business. You can cancel at any time.
Unlike iTunes and some music stores, once you purchase a book you can download it again anytime. It's like having your own personal online library at your fingertips.
Recently I was looking for a book in my fairly massive collection. It took me over an hour to find the one I was looking for.
With Audible, if you can't find the audiocopy you made, you just log into your account, open the "My Library" link, peruse the titles you own, and download the book again. You never have to worry about making a backup copy.
Again, unlike some online music stores, Audible supports a wide variety of digital music players, from iPods to Muvos to Sansas to PDAs. On most players, you can start the book right where you left off.
You can download the books in several different formats, depending on the quality and the amount of compression you want.
If your music player has a lot of storage space, you will download the best quality. If you have a music player with limited space, you can download the more highly compressed file.
You will need an Internet-connected computer with Windows 2000, Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.1.5 or higher to download Audible's books. If you have that, give it a try. In no time at all, Audible may have you as hooked on digital audiobooks as I am.
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comment on today's column. Please them at the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/ messageboard.
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