Jen of Devourer of Books has asked participants to talk about the resources we audiobook lovers have to share as the final discussion topic for this week of celebrating audiobooks. Here are three websites my life would be poorer without and I share a little love for my listening device.
I’ve mentioned audible before and will undoubtedly do so again. They don’t pay me to spruik for them but I love their service. The site has a huge catalogue (around 80,000 titles and growing rapidly as it was 50,000 when I first joined in 2008), the cost is reasonable (my 2-book-per-month membership costs $22.95 US a month versus the $50-$60 it generally costs for a single audiobook on CD), the website is easy to use and the customer service is terrific. One of the things I love most is that when you buy a book from them it is available to you forever from the website so if you change computers or get a new listening device you can simply re-download it. The only thing I don’t like about audible is that I get stung by geographical restrictions but as that’s not audible’s fault I won’t hold it against them.
For those interested in learning about the process of audiobook creation I’d direct you to a relatively new blog called Audio Book Narrators. The blog is hosted by Paul Alan Ruben who is a Grammy award winning producer and director of audio books and his thoughtful posts give real insight into the process of creating great audio books. It’s a low traffic blog but the somewhat rare posts are always worth a read.
I’m always on the lookout for good audiobook reviews and probably the best single source for them these days is a site called Audiobook Jukebox which is a place where all audiobook reviewers can link to their reviews of audiobooks (actually writing this post reminds me I have been forgetting to link to my own reviews of late). You can access reviews by genre and the new site has a helpful list of all the book blogs and other websites that have provided reviews to the site. What a great introduction to fellow audiobook lovers.
The only other thing that’s a must have for audiobook listening is a device. As I mentioned earlier in the week most of my audiobook listening is done while I’m on the move so I never listen at a computer and it’s been many years since I’ve had a portable CD player. I’ve been using an iPod for years and last year switched to the newest nano – a tiny little thing that holds hundreds of hours worth of content, weighs virtually nothing and comes with a convenient clip so I don’t need a bag, or even a pocket to carry it in. To finish the perfect listening experience I ditch the awful Apple headphones (how can they be so great at making devices and so crap at making headphones?) and always use a pair of decent quality in-ear noise cancelling headphones. I’ve had a couple of pairs over the years (they usually last about 3 years unless I drive the car over them) and I’m currently using a set of Sennheiser CX500’s with an inline volume control on the cable. They don’t cancel out all noise (alas) but do get rid of a fair amount of the ambient noise you find on buses, airplanes etc. and they allow you the option of pretending you haven’t heard whatever it is that some commuter/colleague you don’t like/crazy homeless person has said to you while you’re wearing them 🙂