Tuesday, June 3, 2008
It seems like many of my posts come across as advertisements (I have yet to receive any royalties or freebies as a result), but when I find something that affects my life in a positive way it is hard for me not to pass along the information. If you know anything about me then you know I love to read. It is, possibly, my only hobby (does that make me a tiny bit pathetic?). There was a time when I thought that audio books were only for long car rides and didn't really count as actually reading the book. But a few years ago I was a little pressed for time and had to read Great Expectations (for the third time). I thought that I would give the audio version a try and ended up buying it at Borders. It was actually an enjoyable experience and I felt like I was using my driving time (which, like any mom, I do A LOT of) more wisely and, additionally, I was not reading while driving--something I have been known to do (only at stop lights! Sheesh!). But in the world of iPods I was looking for something downloadable and cheaper than $30 per book for a set of cds. That is when I found audible.com. You may have already heard about it but I am here to tell you that it is awesome. You can actually sign up as a member and there is monthly fee, but it is WAY cheaper than buying the CD set or even paying full price through audible or any other online store.
Let me break it down for you (using my particular membership--$15 per month for 1 credit as an example):
-Almost every book, regardless of length, costs 1 credit (prices vary without a membership but I estimate an average of about $30.00 per book).
--The credits carry over so that you don't have to use one per month if you don't want to.
--Audible maintains your library in cyberspace so you can download and re-download to your computer at any time.
--You have ownership. If you want to load a particular book onto more than one MP3 player--go for it! It belongs to you (unlike downloading from iTunes).
--They have great customer service. I once inadvertently downloaded an abridged version of a book. I contacted them via e-mail and almost immediately received a response indicating that the unabridged version could now be found in my library and was ready to download.
--They carry everything out there and sometimes have multiple choices for particular books.
--I can't think of any. (Technically this would be a PRO, I think).
--Audible offers a listening sample for every book. Take the time to make sure you find the narrator's voice pleasing. I listened to Fahrenheit 451 read by the author and wanted to shoot myself by the end. This is also helpful if there is more than one choice of narrator.
--Not every book lends itself to being read aloud. For instance, while reading The Time Traveler's Wife I thought multiple times how glad I was that I hadn't chose to listen to it in an audio version. Because of the nature of the story (every chapter taking place in a different time and place), it would have been aggravating not to be able to flip back in the book and recall what had taken place and where previously in the story.
Having listened to many audio versions to date I have found that it often adds to my enjoyment of a book. Two examples are Bel Canto and The Count of Monte Cristo where it was helpful to hear the correct pronunciations of the many foreign words and names.
A few of my favorites: The Woman in White (read by different narrators when appropriate); Water for Elephants (also read by two narrators); and The Kite Runner (read flawlessly by the author). This is, by no means, a comprehensive list.
P.S. They are running a special right now where you can get the first three months for $7.95 instead of $14.95. What a deal!