Selection Ease of use Good Discount LevelsCons
Copy Protection can be confusing Monthly subscription model does not fit many users Single books are EXPENSIVEVerdict
Audible dominates for a reason, with little real competition it is more a question of how many books you want to listen to, if you are going to listen to at least one a month, Audible is the way to go, if it is less than one per month the value is a little less clear. Audible does have the best selection you will find, so I really don't hesitate on recommending it!
Introduction to Audio Books
If you are thinking of starting to listen to audio books, the best starting point is Audible.com
not because it is the least expensive, nor has the best user experience, but because it is the largest, and has worked out most of the kinks you can still run into in other services.
The best way to evaluate a service like this is to use it, the second best is to see it in action. This short video walks through the registration process and uploading and listening to your first book.
Steve Dotto here and I can say without hesitation I love audio books, loved them for many, many years. Theyíve changed my life. I listen to audio books constantly as Iím driving around the province. I go on long road trips, on fishing trips I used to do with my sons so we listen to books for years, audio books on tape. Once they became available in MP3 format and on my MP3 player, I converted over to that very quickly. So over the years, I have listened to literally hundreds of hours of audio books. I am a big fan.
Now there is one website which has really dominated the audio book market and that is Audible.com. They have probably more titles than anybody. There are other options for getting your audio books. Certainly, Appleís own iTunes store is a good place to go but Audible is really the one that all the others are measured against so I thought weíd take a little bit of a tour on creating an Audible account and how you get those audio books into your devices and use them. A worthwhile exercise, donít you think?
So letís go and visit Audible.com now. Usually, theyíve got different offers for signing up for a new account with Audible available to you. In this particular case, they donít have too great an offer to us now. Itís basically theyíre selling the new memberships for about half-price for the first three months. Sometimes, you can get three months free. Sometimes, you can get extra credits for free books. You can also find different coupon codes occasionally that will get you some little extra pieces here and there. But for now, this is the offer thatís available and thatís the one that Iím going to show you: three months at half price.
Now they do ask you for your credit card when you sign up. Thatís a stop for a lot of people but bottom line is theyíre going to have to get paid so your credit card is the best way for them to collect their money. Once youíve created your account, they charge your credit card for your initial monthís fee and youíre given a credit for your very first audio book to download.
Now basically the credits work one credit per audio book. I think for some of the really audio books and some ones that may be more expensive out of the gate, theyíll charge you extra credits as you go along. I havenít noticed any of that or more than one credit. So basically itís one credit per book. That's usually at a fairly substantial discount over if you just went online and purchased the book directly. They can be $29, $39, $49, $59 or even more to but an audio book so in this particular case because I get one credit per month with the type of account that I have, I can purchase one new book per month almost regardless of what itís cost is.
Now if you havenít decided already what book you want, this is a good time for you to start browsing through the library and Audible has literally thousands of audio book titles. Now one thing that youíll start to develop a taste for you as you download a few audio books is youíll get a flavor for the quality and the performance of the different narrators and the quality does differ. Different narrators for different books actually end up with fan groups with people following them and people will buy books that they might not be as interested in because the performance is so exceptional from one narrator or another.
Now I finally found a book here that I might be interested in, Riptide. I like that author, Douglas Preston. Itís not that heís the best author in the world. Itís just this type of content is great for me because I can listen to it for a few minutes of it as Iím driving and not worry about if I have to stop and pick it up again a little bit later. Itís nice, light fare for the sort of listening that I do, either walking the dog or driving around.
So Iíve decided this is the one I want to purchase. I go through basically a shopping cart process where I use my available credits and purchase this book. Once I say Iím going to buy it, Iím very excited, now I then will confirm. And as soon as Iíve confirmed my purchase, a download process starts to download the book to my computer.
Now Iíve got the ability to access any of the books Iíve purchased at any time within the library within Audible. If we all look at this, as we go to my library, look! Theyíve given me a bonus. I can buy one book, basically one credit for $4.95. Theyíre always offering sales trying to get you to purchase a little bit more. Iím happy with just the one book. Itís going to take me long enough to listen to that. So now hereís my library, you can see that it looks like I have two books. Actually, itís one book split into two different parts and theyíre available to me. So even if I switch devices and move to a different device or a different computer, I can go back online into Audible at any point and re-download the books that I have so I donít have to store them all locally. Theyíre all stored in the Cloud for me as well I can have them, of course, locally.
It will take a little to download depending on the speed of your internet connection but for the most part with high speed internet, just a few minutes to download. And here we can give some thought to some of the different settings within Audible.
One of them is format. Donít worry too much about it. Most of us are going to be the standard format which is format #4 which is MP3. The quality of the narration in MP3 format is just fine. You can download larger files now with higher quality and higher fidelity but thatís really more important in music, I think, then in spoken word. It doesnít make that much difference. I donít notice it.
Once Iíve downloaded the book, now itís time to figure out how to listen to the book and youíre going to want to use your music management program for that. For most of us, that means iTunes so Iím going to open my iTunes. As you can see, Iíve got lots of different books that Iíve downloaded over the years within iTunes. As I said, Iíve been listening to audio books for many, many years, buying them from a variety of different sources.
Once Iíve gone into my books within iTunes, I now want to import this new book into my library. Itís not a difficult process. I just have to find it, itís in My Downloads folder, but now Audible is asking for verification that I am who I am. This is the copyright protection basically for the book so I actually have to go through two stages of authentication. The first is authenticate that Iím an Audible user and then tell iTunes that Iím the authorized user of this computer so that it can be downloaded. Once Iíve done that, I search through my massive library and there it is, my new book right there in the middle. Got it. Now Iíve got my new book in my iTunes library on my computer.
Next stage is I need to get it on whatever device I want to listen to it on. I can certainly listen to on my computer if I choose to but I really want to have it on my iPod or my iPad or my iPhone, one of my MP3 players that I can play it with. In this particular case, I think Iíll stick it on my iPad so I can show you that process.
Now I did discover one slight problem when I first loaded it onto my iPad. Now you might or might not have this issue and that was my iPad in my book carrier was only configured to look at text-based books, ones that are in PDF or ePUB format. So I had to actually go into my music within my iPad, tell it that I wanted to sync audio books and as soon as I did that, once I went over into my book section, there was the ability to sync audio books. Now I can go through all the different audio books on my device and I can choose the exact book that I wanted to download. I can download any of my books but of course I want to download the newest.
This process will be very similar on your iPhone or your iPad. Once youíve got it down and done it once, it wonít be a problem to do it again in the future. Once youíve done that, you simply sync your device and the new data is moved over onto the iPad. So now what I want to do is actually go onto my iPad and look at how I listen to the music. All I do then is I go to my music player. If I canít see it right away, I choose audio books for my source and from there, I see the audio book available for me to start listening.
Now the beauty of listening to audio books within this format is as you listen to them, every time you stop, it creates an automatic bookmark for you so you pick up in the same exact spot in your audio book next time. You can listen to it on multiple devices should you choose. It gives you a lot of flexibility and a lot of control over listening to your books. As you can tell, I am a big fan of the audio book world and Audible.com has done a great job of providing one clearinghouse that has more audio titles than any other. There are other places you can go, other sites that you can download from but Audible is a great starting point.
Iím Steve Dotto. I hope you found this useful today.
Here's the best place to shop for Audible Audio Books
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