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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited May 01, 2017 11:30AM) (new)

The subject of audiobooks was touched upon recently in another topic, so I thought we might add a place to exchange notes for those of us who sometimes "read" with our ears. (I'm not as alliterative in my topic titles as Spooky; sorry.)

First, some resources. You can buy audio books on CD (or cassette tape if you're really old, old school) or for download through Amazon or Audible. But you can also get a lot of audio SF&F entertainment for free:

For books old enough to be in the Public Domain, you can get an audiobook version from Librivox as MP3s. (They have volunteers read out-of-copyright works into public domain audiobook versions. Think of it as a Project Gutenberg for audiobooks.)

For those interested in short stories, I recommend Escape Pod , which presents a new scifi short story every week for free (for 500 weeks in a row, now. That's a pretty substantial library you can access. If you like it, consider clicking the "donate” button; Escape Pod & PodCastle actually pays authors from those donations.) Likewise, PodCastle offers a new fantasy short story every week, from the same folks. You can subscribe to it as a podcast if you like.

Both Clarkesworld Magazine and Lightspeed Magazine offer many of their monthly short stories as audio as well; both allow individual downloading or a podcast feed. Also free.

You can also find free audiobooks at Podiobooks , where authors make their works available (often doing their own narration.) They are mostly science fiction and fantasy, though they've been branching out in the past year or so. New titles are distributed as podcasts, usually a chapter at a time, but there's a huge library of older complete titles available as well. (if you like a book, consider clicking the "donate" button; it's the only way authors get paid there.)


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments This time of year, most of my reading is through audio books & most of them come from one of my public libraries. It's important to belong to more than one because they often have different vendors, so I belong to 3. In the past few years, I've had 5 different audio book vendors that way & am down to 2 right now; One Click Digital, part of Recorded Books & OverDrive. There is very little cross over in titles that I've seen. Of the 2, the OverDrive is by far the best. They seem to have more titles that I'm interested in & many of their titles have no DRM on them. Also, their download app is easier & faster to use.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I like audiobooks for housework, gardening, exercise, and driving, though since I retired I no longer have the daily commute to contend with. I prefer non-fiction, since it's easier to pause at any time, but I do SF/F books to from time to time. I have no trouble keeping up with my Audible subscription.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

i love Audible...if any of you have a scource for the BBC, Radio 4 has lots of good "radio plays"...my fav is Bring Me the Head of Phillip K. Dick...the only thing stranger is a PKD novel. I also enjoy the Dr. Who stuff from a outfit called Big Finish (google it)...I, Davros and Cyberman 1 & 2 is good stuff


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I'm listening to Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney now & am almost done. Not sure what I'll get into next. I think I'll give Old Yeller a try.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 12, 2013 06:54AM) (new)


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments Interesting article. I do listen to audio books while knitting, crocheting & spinning. I see they're trying to hit that market. Makes sense. Any quiet, repetitive task is easy. Noisier ones can be a problem. I can't hear some audio books while on the tractors, for instance.

I won't listen to them when I'm using the lathe, either. I listen to music from the same device, but piped over my shop's stereo system. The lathe is just noisy enough that it doesn't work well for books, unfortunately. I won't use ear phones because it would be too easy for the wire to get caught up in the lathe.


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 17, 2013 09:02AM) (new)


message 9: by Daran (new)

Daran | 73 comments I'm kind of the reverse of the article. I've got a bunch of audiobooks to listen to, and I find myself falling asleep, so I've decided to start doing cross stitch. Which is a type of embroidery. Which may be the least manly thing I can do while listening to an audiobook. Ah well, my mother taught cross stitch most of her life, and made my sister and I learn it.

I found some books with patterns that are a lot cooler than the butterflies I had to do while learning. Ancient Egyptian Cross Stitch, and Celtic Art in Cross Stitch.

I'm hoping to finish up audiobooks of Hard Magic series and listen to the The Way of Kings before the next book comes out. And maybe make some cheap gifts for people while I do it.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

my Mom tought us kids how to cross-stich...been a long tine, i think i have forgoten how....


message 11: by Jim (last edited Jul 20, 2013 03:41AM) (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I don't understand why people think keeping your fingers busy can be unmanly, but they do. That's their problem. No one who knows me has ever thought I was anything but a guy & a trip to buy yarn is a great way to meet girls. I have to keep reminding them that I'm married.
;-)

I've spun yarn & crocheted a pony made of my daughter's pony's fur, crocheted another pony of store bought yarn & made a baby blanket for the grandmonster so far this year. I've kept the fields & lawn mowed, trees pruned, put in & taken care of the vegetable & flower gardens. I've cooked up zucchini bread & garden lasagna from the produce of it. In the meantime, I've listened to dozens of books. That's a win all the way around for me.

Right now, I'm listening to Neverwhere written & narrated by Neil Gaiman.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "Right now, I'm listening to Neverwhere written & narrated by Neil Gaiman..."

Gaiman seems to narrate all his own books. I suppose you can't get a more authentic interpretation than the author himself, if she has the voice for it. (I just listened to Gaiman's narration of his latest, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Except I sped it up 60% - I find his usual pace kind of slow.)


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

someone knit me a Dr. Who scarf. :)


message 14: by Daran (new)

Daran | 73 comments Dr Who scarf? I want one of these:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/100308269...

truly, if I could knit I'd be making these.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I picked up a few new audiobooks from Audible today, and noticed something different: the download was no longer "broken into multiple parts to make the download faster". Even relatively long books running 20 hours were a single file.

Further examination revealed they had a new format as well: "Enhanced", billed as "CD quality", in addition to the old formats 2, 3, & 4 (previously described as "AM radio", "FM radio", and "MP3” quality.) Apparently I was automatically switched to the new format option.

Switching back to formats 2-4 took me back to downloading in multiple parts. The "Enhanced" quality produces a file twice the size of the old format 4 & four times the size of the old format three.

I also now have the option of re-downloading previous purchases in the new, "enhanced" format.

Personally, I always thought their format 3 (FM radio quality) sounded fine for spoken word, and let me cram a lot more audiobooks on my iPod.


message 16: by Marcelo (new)

Marcelo (fandelasketchup) | 1 comments G33z3r wrote: "I picked up a few new audiobooks from Audible today, and noticed something different: the download was no longer "broken into multiple parts to make the download faster". Even relatively long books..."
I think this is great, because if you didn't know which part you were listening to (part 1, part 2, and so on) you'd get lost easily on the navigation system. But with the single-file format all is much simpler and convenient because you get all chapters in the correct order... with some exceptions. For example, even though there are 105 chapters plus an epilogue on The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown they are all read together, but tagging chapter 105 as chapter 46 or something.


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I just finished a couple of mystery thrillers. Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh was a 4 star read, very quirky & perfect as an audio book. It's also SF. My review is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Fault Line by Barry Eisler was the first book outside his John Rain series that I've ever read. I liked it better for the main character, but it's very similar otherwise. I read this as an ebook. My 3 star review is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I don't usually like to have 2 mysteries going at once in 2 formats, but it worked out well this time. Sternbergh's writing & world can't be confused with anyone else, that's for sure.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I got a... curious... offer from Audible today:

Scalzi has a new book, Lock In, coming out next month. Audible is making two different editions, one narrated by Amber Benson and the other narrated by frequent Scalzi narrator Wil Wheaton. Audible is offering a pre-order deal including both editions for the single price/credit.

It would have to be a heckuva book to justify listening to it twice, wouldn't it?


message 19: by Michele (new)

Michele | 274 comments I went ahead and pre-ordered Lock In today since I had a credit and planned to get it anyway. From his latest blog post he hints that the 2 different narrators tie into the story a bit in some way. I usually enjoy Wil Wheaton's narration, especially for Scalzi's stuff. Who knows maybe the chapters alternate and I will switch back and forth between the 2. Either way, it didn't cost me extra so cheers!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Michele wrote: "I went ahead and pre-ordered Lock In today since I had a credit and planned to get it anyway. From his latest blog post he hints that the 2 different narrators tie into the story a bit in some way...."

I read the prequel novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome, that was made available: Unlocked novella on Tor's website & the 4 teaser chapters from the upcoming novel Lock In.

I was planning to read Lock-In as an e-book rather than audiobook, but even had I planned on an audiobook, I'm not sure what gimmick would compel me to read the same thing twice just for a different narrator.

Lately, Scalzi has been doing a number of what I'll call "publishing gimmicks" (I could call them "publishing experiments for the digital age" instead.). Last year the serialized, chapter-at-a-time The Human Division, as well as the Audible exclusive anthology Rip-Off! (an audiobook with no print/ebook version, though most of the stories have shown up elsewhere, such as The Lady Astronaut of Mars. )


message 21: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments I have three novels up with Audible. I have never listened to them -- it makes me too nervous. (Why? I can read these novels perfectly okay.)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote "Rose & I belong to an audio book group & a guy (also named Jim) just posted an article about how audio books are out selling print at times now. They've really become important."

Scalzi put up some of his relative sales figures on his blog back in August to point out that for his recent novels Audiobooks were almost outselling print & e-books combined (46%). The State of a Genre Title, 2015.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

G33z3r wrote: "I was planning to read Lock In as an e-book rather than audiobook, but even had I planned on an audiobook, I'm not sure what gimmick would compel me to read the same thing twice just for a different narrator...."

Ooops. While I was here I noticed that comment above, and smiled realizing that now that I've read the e-book and listened to both audiobooks, I understand what the gimmick was. :) (view spoiler)


message 24: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I only read it in ebook format, although I'm a huge audio book fan. I hadn't realized it had 2 audio book versions. I'll have to see if my library gets them. That would be interesting.

Thanks for Scalzi's blog on the sales numbers. That had a lot of interesting points. As an audio book fan, I'm glad to see them getting the recognition they deserve. That means even more will be accessible. My ability to download them remotely from the library & listen while doing mundane chores has made a huge difference in my reading. I'm getting through twice as many books in a variety of genres.


message 25: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (sunscour) I am now a HUGE fan of audio books. I just finished Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1) by James S.A. Corey .


message 26: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mankowski (sarahmankowski) | 246 comments Jim wrote: "Right now, I'm listening to Neverwhere written & narrated by Neil Gaiman. "

I really enjoy Neil Gainan's readings. I recently listened to his short story collection Smoke and Mirrors. His story Chivalry, IMO, was absolute perfection.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

No one mentioned GraphicAudio books. Their audio drama versions of books are amazing. I've heard the demon cycle by peter v brett, the nekropolis series and the nuclear bombshell series, as well as several deathlands and outlanders books and a lot of others over the years.
Any lover of audio fiction should check out GraphicAudio.


message 28: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mankowski (sarahmankowski) | 246 comments I go through a lot of audiobooks while working in the garden and cooking. I prefer to listen on my little Sony Walkman, but can't get Audible to work with Walkman. So I listen to Audible on my Kindle and Librivox books on the Walkman. Our local library does lend some ebooks and audio, but most are still on CD.

I tend to search Librivox books by reader. They do have some excellent readers for science fiction. Unfortunately, the books recorded earliest tend to rank higher because they have been downloaded the most. But the quality of recordings, in general, has greatly improved in the years since they began. The readers have access to better technology these days.


message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael | 152 comments I've got a subscription to Audible (two books per month). I used to get through a lot of books on my old daily commute (one hour plus each way) but I only live about 10-15 minutes away from my current job so that limits how much listening I can do. I still like to listed while I'm traveling, though.


message 30: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikekeating) | 242 comments I'd never listened to audiobooks until I first moved in with the wife. They are her preferred medium for books due to bad vision and many years of long commutes. So I've begun listening to some of the things in her large audiobook on CD collection. I'm working my way through Harry Potter and LOTR, and plan on getting to her Wheel of Time discs.

Strangely, I have more trouble following along with a story that I haven't been through on audio than I do visually. I've gotten some books on Audible that I've liked reading previously, but the only book that my first experience with has been on audio was Nick Offerman's reading of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. (Highly recommended, btw. His voice is awesome and fits the material very well.) I haven't even so much as considered listening to anything else that I haven't already read.


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments Mike wrote: "...Strangely, I have more trouble following along with a story that I haven't been through on audio than I do visually. ..."

I don't think that's strange. I had the same problem initially, but it doesn't seem to be one any more. Listening requires a slightly different skill set & habits than reading print. When I get interrupted while reading a book, I generally put my finger on the spot & start reading again a little before. Now I'm more easily interrupted or distracted & have to know when to hit the pause button, yet I rarely rewind at all.

I used to rely on paging back in paper books. That's slow in ebooks, cumbersome if it's more than a page or two. I won't do it at all, save for a minute or less, in audio format. Not doing it seems to have sharpened my recall of details. Sometimes to the detriment of the book, unfortunately.

This is the third year I've been reading mostly audio books. They make up about 2/3 of my reading which is over 200 books a year. I like the media more all the time as my eyes get older. I can really feel the strain after sitting at the computer all day. I also seem to have less time to just sit & read. More interests & chores that I can do while listening to an audio book. I've found that a set of ear protectors over my ear buds allows me to use all but the noisiest machinery & still hear the story well. I always thread the wire into my shirt so it can't get hung up on anything, either. It's pretty darn great.


message 32: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 28, 2016 09:25AM) (new)

Mike wrote: "I have more trouble following along with a story that I haven't been through on audio than I do visually...."

It's not as easy to jump back in an audiobook as it is in a text book when I have those, "wait, what?" moments. With text it takes just a flick of the eye to see if I missed something, while with the audiobook it's more effort, and usually my hands aren't free to mess with the audio player beyond "pause".

Jim wrote: I used to rely on paging back in paper books. That's slow in ebooks,..."

In compensation, the e-book comes with a search function which is useful for the "Who the heck is Joe?" moments when I've forgotten about some minor character.

Jim wrote: "I've found that a set of ear protectors over my ear buds allows me to use all but the noisiest machinery & still hear the story well. .."

I got an aviation headset to which I can attach a Bluetooth adapter. Lawnmower & vacuum cleaner sounds disappear.

Jim wrote: "This is the third year I've been reading mostly audio books. They make up about 2/3 of my reading which is over 200 books a year..."

I find I'm reading more novels on audiobooks these days. I used to confine audiobooks to nonfiction, but for the last several years I've spent so much of my text-reading time on short stories (magazines & anthologies) that audiobooks is the only way I get to some novels.

Besides, I've listened all the good non-fiction already. :)

I haven't gotten to the point where I sit down and just to listen to an audiobook. They're still for use when I need my eyes on other things.

The last year or so I've started using the Amazon/Audible "Whispersync" to swap between reading the e-book and listening to the audiobook, at least when there is a steep discount to adding the "audio narration" as Amazon calls it. E.g. I picked up All the Birds in the Sky today in both formats (extra $4 to add the audiobook.) That's an interesting experience: it lets me see all the spellings of weird proper names, which I find enhances my listening comprehension when I go back to the audio.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting note from Audible... They've re-done...

Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4) by James S.A. Corey Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

4th book of the Expanse series.

The update has narration by Jefferson Mays (who has done all the previous & subsequent Expanse books.)


Back in 2014, Hachette (Orbit) decided audiobooks were the next big thing and wanted to pull the audiobook publishing in-house by creating Hachette Audio. Cibola Burn was one of their first efforts, and they chose to use a different narrator, Erik Davies, whose narration was lethargic to the point of terrible.

Apparently they decided to go back and re-record the audio with Jefferson Mays. Audible sent me an email today that I could download the updated version from my libaray. (In fact, it appears the Davies version is gone, since they re-used the same ASIN for the updated edition. And good ridance!)


message 34: by [deleted user] (last edited May 01, 2017 11:31AM) (new)

Tor announces Tor Labs, "a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts."


message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments Thanks. I'll check the Tor podcasts out.


message 36: by S. (new)

S. D. Howarth (sdhowarth) | 5 comments Most of my intake comes from audiobooks as they keep me awake better than blowing my eardrums out with metal on the computer at work. While most of the offerings on audible are overpriced for an outright buy the subscription and extra tokens are pretty reasonable.

My main gripe is itunes, it seems worse rather than better for getting media between devices, but at least it can be bypassed with the app.

I also find it can make some books more digestible and put you off others just through accent alone. Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Michael J. Sullivan have cracking books and awesome narrators. The formers interview on Sharp Ends was hilarious. I love Glen Cook's Black Company, yet the non Mark Vitor books seem a bit of a let down in comparison. What I did find was audiobooks made the Wheel of Time bare able to wade through, with the narrator crossover preventing it disappearing into a tedium of shifts and hair tugging. In contrast I have a soft spot for Dragonlance novels, which hooked me into fantasy many years ago. I remember hearing one set of cassettes that sounded like Mark Twain's grandad was recounting them on his veranda while sipping bourbon. It just sounded plain wrong on a fundamental level.

The only downside is my backlist is getting seriously long.


message 37: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments Steve wrote: "...While most of the offerings on audible are overpriced for an ou..."

Check out your local libraries. They offer free audiobooks for the download. That will make your backlist even longer. :) I avoid some narrators, but others work with some books & not others. A few make any book better.


message 38: by Roger (new)

Roger I've started to do some stationary bike riding (my knees are terrible and need some good exercise) so I started listening to The Way of Kings to pass the time. The best part....with just one click per chapter I can skip the Shallan chapters and just listen to the rest...


message 39: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 127 comments I've just started listening to audio books on the work commute and I'm addicted.
Just finished Animal Farm
Before that:
Watership Down
The Sacred Band
I, the Sun

And I've just downloaded Reaper Man


message 40: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 08, 2017 12:44PM) (new)


message 41: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Here are a few audiobooks that my dog gave 5*s to:
Because of Winn-Dixie
Finding Gobi and
Power of the Dog


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Patricia wrote: "Here are a few audiobooks that my dog gave 5*s to:"

I take it your dog doesn't read listen to much scifi or fantasy.


message 43: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikekeating) | 242 comments G33z3r wrote: "
Audible Introduces Audiobooks for Dogs


Audible For Dogs: Prepare For Your Dog's First Listen

My dog recommends:

The Neverending Story
The Sirens of Titan
[book:A..."


This sounds like they mixed up their real innovations with their April Fool's jokes and forgot that it's not April anymore.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Mike wrote: "This sounds like they mixed up their real innovations with their April Fool's jokes and forgot that it's not April anymore...."

I watched a couple of those videos, and I kept laughing, expecting it was like something from The Onion. But it appears Audible & Amazon are serious.

I have learned (thank you, Wikipedia) that Cesar Millan had a "Dog Whisperer" TV show for over a decade, and is presumably well know to anyone likely to buy audiobooks for their dog.

My dog wants his own Goodreads account.


message 45: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikekeating) | 242 comments I'm wondering how long before they come out with a feline version.


message 46: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I need some help. My MP3 player is dying & I finally got a smart phone (hand me down Galaxy S5), so I thought I'd use it. My daughter swears by MortPlayer, but there doesn't seem to be anyway to speed up the playback. I've gotten used to listening to books at 1.25 speed & really don't want to slow down. Also, it doesn't look as if MortPlayer has been updated for ages & I couldn't get their web site to open.

I'd love any suggestions for a good Android audiobook player. I don't mind paying a one time fee for a good one. Suggestions?


message 47: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 15, 2017 06:36AM) (new)

Jim wrote: "I need some help. My MP3 player is dying & I finally got a smart phone (hand me down Galaxy S5), so I thought I'd use it. My daughter swears by MortPlayer,..."

I can't help from direct experience. I use the Audible Player for Audiobooks and Podcast Addict for podcasts, and both let me crank up the speed as high as x3.0. (I think the basic function is built into the Android OS.)

I am told Smart Audiobook Player is a good choice, though. Its variable speed playback seems dependent on whether the version of android on your S5 supports audio speedup.


message 48: by Patricia (new)

Patricia My dog is very eclectic in his listening. He really enjoys most genres and he loves Cesar Milan. Been watching and listening for years. He is a most well balanced dog. One of his favorite fantasy books is The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss and a sci-fi favorite is the Vatta's War series by Moon.


message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments Thanks, G33z3r. That does look good. I'll give it a shot.


message 50: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2048 comments I really like that Smart Audio Book Player, G33z3r. Thanks. Works like a charm so I splurged & bought the full version right away. It was all of $2. That will stop me from running out of time while in the middle of mowing or something.


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