ebooks, audiobooks, book books

As I mentioned in the comments last week, I was somewhat tempted by the Kindle version of Richard Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It, because it was backordered at Amazon (now back in stock), the library had not yet ordered it, and I was going away for a business trip and so would have several hours to read on the plane.

I put in an online request for the library to order it, and received a form response saying "check back in a few weeks to see if we've ordered your suggestion, but please remember that our budget adds up to about $3.22 per customer, so we can't afford to buy everything that people ask for.  And here's our Amazon wish list."  A bit more poking around revealed that the book was in fact still available at the Borders near my house, so I decided to fork out the extra money for a real book that I could donate to the library when I'm done reading it.  (Check back tomorrow for my review.)

I did, however, decide to load up my iPod with an extra book in case something went horribly wrong with one of my flights and I finished everything I had with me.  Since I find reading on the iPod a not terribly appealing experience, I decided to try out an audiobook instead. 

I downloaded one, and it's a mixed experience. I like listening to it, and I can do it walking down the street, or on a super-crowded metro train, when books aren't quite practical.  But when I get distracted, it's hard to figure out where I lost my place. I'm not sure I get more distracted listening than I do reading on paper, but books are ideal for figuring out where you were, and going back over the past few paragraphs if needed.  There's not an easy way to do that with the iPod.

I guess the same thing happens listening to podcasts or the radio, but in that case, I generally just accept that I've missed a section and keep going.  I'm not as willing to do that with a novel.

7 Responses to “ebooks, audiobooks, book books”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    We use audiobooks in the car for long trips, and think they’re great. We’ve discovered quite a few new childrens’ authors that way. And a good childrens’ author is good for adults to listen to also.
    But I’ve never tried one on the ipod (the itunes selection isn’t great, and I’m too cheap and/or lazy to buy them and load them up).

  2. Jody Says:

    We have loved audiobooks for the kids, but I have mixed feelings about audiobooks for adults. I listened to Steve Martin’s memoir while traveling to California and it was perfect, but I’ve borrowed any number of books from the library to use while knitting, and never finished any of them.
    If Kindle came with a Netflix-type subscription service, I would buy one in a heartbeat. A flat monthly fee, and you had to tag a read book so it could be removed when you downloaded the next one? PERFECT. As it is, I’m not ready to pay $10 per digital book.

  3. jen Says:

    I’ve downloaded Librivox audiobooks books for my iPod. Librivox is a not-for-profit service with volunteer readers, mostly doing audio versions of books that are in the public domain. I’ve listened to several books this way.
    Like Elizabeth, my biggest problem was that if I got distracted and wanted to backtrack it got confusing quickly. But the price and convenience of the Librivox recordings was hard to beat.

  4. bj Says:

    I discovered librovox recently, and I love it. My daughter and I have been listening to Rilla of Ingleside, and the woman (girl?) who reads it now sounds like Rilla to me. My daughter is hoping that there’s something that she can read and upload to librovox now — we keep going through which books are not yet available, but unfortunately, they’re also not out of copyright yet. The plan is ambitious, of course, so it’s probably just as well to wait, but she’s a good reader and would get a big kick out of it, so we’ll keep looking.
    Lots of audio books are available now at our library, too. Many more titles for the PC, but a number are now available for mac/ipod.
    I haven’t been able to listen to audio books while commuting, because, as you say, it’s easy to miss something and get lost. But, I do listen while doing things around the house (I play them streamed to speakers around the house using itunes and the mac audio streaming). The kids have been listening to many books this way. The little boy is currently on a Fudge kick (by Judy Blume).

  5. urbanartiste Says:

    I limit myself to nonfiction audiobooks and listen to them while doing housework, which is a rote procedure that allows me to devote my mind to audio. I have not purchased a kindle and doubt I will do so unless educational publishers switch over to that format. Even when I research online for work, I still feel the need to read a printed copy.

  6. Amy P Says:

    bj,
    You may have noticed that a lot of the Librivox books have a different reader for every chapter. Your daughter could just read one chapter to get the feel of it.

  7. Beth Says:

    I recently got my first Ipod (used to have a cheap MP3 player) and man, do I love it! So I downloaded an audio book because I had decided to start walking an hour a day and I figured an audio book was the way to go with that, motivation-wise. Well, it worked! Although I do understand the getting distracted and losing your place in the book issue, I also find that listening to a book takes me away, so to speak, to a degree that I find I have been walking for an hour (or more!) seemingly effortlessly.
    With all this rain recently, sometimes I walk in malls, usually different malls on different days for variety, and I am off in my audio book world there too. I haven’t quite figured out how to stop impulsively buying stuff, although I will say that this shopping issue is a small one, as I am not a voracious shopper anyway and can usually resist. Mostly I don’t even go into the stores, just walk the mall hallways. So anyway, my walking program is going well, mostly thanks to the Ipod and the audio books, although sometimes I listen to music if I’m in that mood.
    My main problem with downloading audio books is that they cost way too much. I have gotten some good promotional deals from audible.com so far, but I cringe when I see the full price for most decent audio books. I need to check into Librivox for sure.
    I just downloaded “Loving Frank” (fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright’s real-life affair with a married woman) and I recently finished Baldacci’s newest best-seller “First Family” which was good. Got both at pretty good prices, too.
    BTW, I found a cool website called mapmywalk.com (or something like that) where you can easily figure out how far you walked or map a walk according to how far you want to walk.

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