2009-05-26

Audio Books

Audio books are much better than I thought.

I have occasionally listened to radio readings every now and again, they were on at strange times and were usually serialised into timeslots that I could never arrange into consistent listening sessions. I borrowed the star wars trilogy dramatisation on CD from a friend and was blown away by the show in audio.

A number of years ago I spotted some free audio books on iTunes, notably EarthCore by Scott Sigler from PodioBooks or iTunes. The story was great and well told. I consumed the entire novel in a few nights then hunted around for other free audio books. I downloaded a couple from non iTunes sources such as PodioBooks and Cory Doctorow, but never got around to putting them into iTunes.

There were always plenty of podcasts to listen to. Many of these podcasts have Audible as a sponsor. I would listen to the podcaster's book recommendations with interest and always nod and think that I should sign up some day, but I had these other books that I should listen to before I did that.

A couple days ago I just signed up. I picked Audible's $7.50/month for three months deal and selected "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein for no other reason than I thought I should have read that classic by now. Initially I was very disappointed as the sound quality was metallic (bit rate of 32kbps), however I quickly got used to it and just fell right into the story.

Audio books are awesome! I highly highly recommend seeking out the freely available books, then when you realise that you are hooked, sign up for an audible account and start listening some new and classic books. The major downside is that being Australian we have a small subset of books available due to the restrictive trade practices of the publication industry. It appears that publishers are forcing their customers to misrepresent themselves as a US resident, seek out non mainstream books, resort to piracy or go without.

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