When we think about books, there are so many formats available — paperback, hardcover, ecopy, etc. For people who like to listen to audiobooks, there are also several formats — CDs, cassette tapes, playaways, library downloads, Audible downloads, etc. Not only have we come a long way with physically reading books, but we’ve also come a long way when it comes to listening to our favourite books.
Let’s talk about them!
Do they make these anymore? Around the library where I work, I’ve seen lots of language tapes on cassette’s but it seems like audiobooks have become obsolete in this area. The awkward thing about cassette tapes is that they’re two-sided, so not only do you need a cassette player, but you have to be on the ball when it comes to flipping the tape over and changing the tape. In fact, while these still exist, I don’t really consider them in the running as an option anymore.
This is the best way to get audiobooks at my library. They’re convenient and widely available, but are best for listening to (I find) only when it comes to getting them from the library. When it comes to BUYING audiobooks, this is NOT a good option. I mean, a physical book could cost from $8-$30, whereas an audiobook on CD can cost upwards of $40+. Just like listening to cassette tapes, you really have to be listening and into the story when it comes time to change the CD — it’s not so bad in the car with a multi-disc player, but if you’re using a discman, you’ll need batteries AND it can be pretty awkward if you’re going for a walk with your book. Basically, you need to make sure you have enough story to listen to on a disc, unless you want to cart around ALL of the discs. For me, it’s the batteries — I love my discman, but reusable batteries are KEY when it comes to listening on it!
I’ve never bought a playaway audiobook, but I have gotten them through the library. A nice thing about them is that there’s no way to scratch it, unlike the CDs, BUT it still requires headphones and batteries. AAA batteries. Who has lots of those on hand? Of course, the pro to playaways is that they’re small — around the size of an iPod — so it’s easy to take with you on the go. A con is that it can’t be listened to in the car, which is a big negative for me, since I like to be able to listen to my books EVERYWHERE.
As you can tell, I get a lot of my audiobooks through the library. Just like I can get ebooks through the library, I can also download audiobooks using Overdrive. This is super handy and costs the price of a library card (which is free in some places!). The one downside to this is that there are different formats for Macs and different formats for PCs. This can get irritating when that ONE BOOK you really want is only available for the computer you DON’T have. Also, when your time is up for your loan, it gets returned — usually you can’t renew an audiobook download.
This is one of my FAVOURITE ways to get my audiobooks. Not only is Audible affordable, but they have a great selection of audiobooks. A big con for me is that it’s almost TOO easy to get audiobooks through them. One thing I recommend is to listen to a sample of the book you’d like to purchase before buying, since the quality can vary! And reading the reviews on the narrator and quality help, too.
I think, ultimately, I love any audiobook that is portable and listenable everywhere I go. This is why I love listening to books on my iPod — I can listen while cleaning the house, driving in my car, or even while mowing the lawn. It’s not cumbersome and awkward, and it’s easy to get audiobooks to listen to! CDs are great, but the only way I would get a CD audiobook is through my library since money is DEFINITELY something I take into consideration before purchasing!
What is your favourite way to listen to audiobooks? Have I missed any other ways to get audiobooks?