Tuesday, 24 February 2009

In praise of Audible.co.uk

I have just loaded up my MP3 player with a stack of stuff from Audible.  I have an account with them whereby I pay £7.99 a month and every month I get to pick an audio book.  It is a good system.  I have just downloaded the Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell and listened to it.  I still have a third of Bill Bryson's Brief History of Everything to finish off.

Once you have bought something it goes into your library and you can download it anytime from the web. There are some restrictions on how many computers and devices you can use at the same time.  I don't know what they are, but they are relaxed enough for me to be able to use two laptops and my computer at work. 

You can also set up your desired purchases in advance so you can have a wish list of books that are automatically placed in your library on the relevant day of the month.

The software is a bit of mare to use if I am honest. It is supposed to integrate seemlessly with itunes, but doesn't.  The native Audible software does the job but you need a fairly geeky frame of mind to get it functioning correctly.

But it does the job superbly when you have got the hang of it. The compression is amazing.  I have about 22 hours of audio set up to listen to and I still have most of my 512Kb MP3 player free.  I would like the option of splitting books up into smaller chunks to help you find your place in long books, but that is probably just me.

The selection of books available is large, though not enormous. A couple I would have liked to see aren't there, and they don't have the huge number of really obscure titles that Amazon has.  But there is certainly enough to provide you with plenty of listening material.

I have a few history audiobooks lined up that I might review on here. I am also going to look into whether they have an affiliate programme or not, which was why I wanted to review them now before I have a vested interest clouding my judgement.