Audiobooks discussion

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message 1: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (laurelb) | 8 comments Hi all,

I'm thinking of finally entering the 21st century and buying an MP3 player. I know nothing about such things though, and wonder if anyone can give me recommendations on brands/models they like, and which seem to work best for audiobook downloads.

Also, I know more is usually better in terms of GB availability, but I'm curious how much space a typical audiobook download uses up? Right now I get all my audiobooks from the library.

Thanks for any input!

message 2: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments BEFORE you buy anything, check to see whether your library offers downloadable books as a service, and then check to see which players are compatible.

message 3: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (laurelb) | 8 comments Thanks, John. It hadn't even occurred to me that some players wouldn't be compatible. Shows how much I know. :) I checked and my library offers audio downloads through Net Library. For what it's worth to anyone, here's what I found in terms of compatible devices:

message 4: by Red (new)

Red (redpimpernel) | 7 comments I've had several iPods and have been extremely happy with them. The quality is good, they are ubiquitous so everyone is compatible with them, and you can buy them everywhere, and iTunes is a really nice, easy to use way to all of your audio files. For audio book listening you don't need a huge one. At 1 gig it would hold several books (about 70 hours worth). If you want to have some music on your player too, you definitely want more space. 4-8gig is plenty for a moderate amount of both. On my 4gig iPod I have 560 songs (37 hours worth, 3.23 gig) and 4.5 hours (110 mb) of podcasts and 23 hours (324 mb) of books (2 books).

Book file sizes depends on sound quality level, and usually audio books are at a lower bit-rate (sound quality) then music files. But generally speaking they don't take up nearly the space a video file needs.
2.5 hours = 35.4mb
5 hrs = 71mb
9 hrs = 125mb

Very, very generally 1 gig will hold about 65hrs of book reading time.

message 5: by Red (new)

Red (redpimpernel) | 7 comments here's what I found in terms of compatible devices:

Unfortunately we have to log in to be able to connect to that page. Can you cut and paste the list?

message 6: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (laurelb) | 8 comments Thanks, Red!! Very helpful information. That will really help me when comparing different options. My brother recommended an iPod as well, though they tend to be more expensive.

Oops on the link! This one may not require a sign in:

Here's the list (it's a bit long):

Apple iPhone 3G
Apple iPod Classic
Apple iPod Mini 3rd Generation
Apple iPod Nano 1st Generation
Apple iPod Nano 2nd Generation
Apple iPod Touch
Archos 104
Archos 605 Wi-Fi
Archos Gmini 402
Cowon iAUDIO7
Creative Labs X-Fi
Creative Labs Zen
Creative Labs Zen Mosaic
Creative Labs Zen Stone Plus
Creative Labs Zen V Plus
Creative Labs Zen Vision M
Creative Labs Zen Vision W
Latte Neon M3
Memorex MMP8567
Microsoft Zune 2nd Generation
Philips GoGear SA4425
RCA TH1010
Samsung K3
Samsung S3
Samsung S5
Samsung T10
Samsung T7J
Samsung YP-K3
Samsung Z5
Sandisk Sansa Clip
Sandisk Sansa e250
Sandisk Sansa Fuze
Sony Walkman NWZ-B135F
Sony Walkman NWZ-S615F
Toshiba Gigabeat MEV30k

message 7: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments I have never owned an iPod brand player, but from what I gather they are easy to use, which is great if you've never had an mp3 player before.

Can you insert bookmarks with iPods? Audible has self-marking books, but Net Library books need a bookmark, if you ever want to switch to another file. My Cowon D2 lets me insert them, but it's kind of expensive, and not really for a novice.

If you're only going to be using the player for books, and not lots of music, then 4 Gb should be your limit - I got along for years with a 1 Gb player. Audible and Net Library books are highly compressed, taking up very little space. Books ripped from CD's tend to be larger files, although you don't necessarily need to load your collection all at once.

Sallie(GeorgiaGirl) (shuga) Laurel, I too have access to NetLibrary - for that I use the Sandisk MP3 however, it does have difficulty in bookmarking so it doesnt work all that well - I use my IPod for everything - when I set up my acct w/netlibrary ipod was not compatable something to do with digital rights management. IPod works great for audble & other downloadable info. The Sandisk also worked great for my audible acct. I dont use my IPod for CDs because it throws everything into the music file & then i have a crazy time finding everything. Hope my info was helpful - feel free to ask more questions....

message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 168 comments Laurel, just a warning. My library has NetLibrary too and, previously, I was told that they were not compatible with iPods. I checked after I read your list and they now have "over 700" titles that are compatible with iPods. However, there are over 2000 titles available that are compatible with the other mp3 players, so, in my library anyway, you are still restricted with the iPod. I also have a Zune mp3 player which is made by Microsoft and no audiobooks seem to be compatible with it.

message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 168 comments Here is the explanation from my library about how things work concerning iPods. It occurs to me after reading it that this probably applies to Zunes as well:

Each NetLibrary eAudiobook is available in one of two formats: MP3 format or protected WMA format. For information on formats click here. eAudiobooks in MP3 format can be played on iPods. You can download and play an eAudiobook in MP3 format on an iPod if you use Media Center (see below). If you do not use Media Center and instead download from the NetLibrary website you’ll need to relocate the file to the iPod yourself. For more information on using iPods click here. You can search for iPod-compatible titles using Advance Search (Limit Search by Format MP3). Titles displayed in any type of search, such as author, title, or keyword, include a format icon (MP3 or WMA) to indicate device compatibility. A portable audio device that supports playback of protected WMA files is needed to listen to titles in WMA format. MP3-format titles can be listened to on devices that support WMA files as well.

message 11: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (laurelb) | 8 comments Thanks, everyone, for all the helpful comments. I'm so glad I asked as I never would have considered the fact that some mp3 players may not be compatible. I will research it some more based on all the comments and let everyone know what I end up getting... though it may not be til Christmas time. :) Thanks!

message 12: by Red (new)

Red (redpimpernel) | 7 comments This discussion caused me to see if my library offers NetLibrary and they do. So I will be checking NetLibrary out as a source for my ebooks, too. And I'm sure there are computer utilities that convert WMA files to MP3.

message 13: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments Red -- these are DRM-protected wma files, not so simple as just copying them.

message 14: by Red (new)

Red (redpimpernel) | 7 comments John, it's always something, isn't it. Too bad you couldn't convert DRM-protected WMA to DRM-protected MP3. But I suppose, that defeats the whole point of DRM. The best solution would be if they just provided the files in both formats to begin with. DRM-protected WMA was the reason I can't utilize my library's Overdrive ebooks.

message 15: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments Years ago, I bought a Creative Zen Nano Plus, because it played both audible and (wma) Net Library books; it tells how many minutes elapased, though not how many yet to go (you need to remember the file length yourself away from the computer). I see at Amazon it was re-branded as Zen Stone, and runs on an internal (re-charge-able) battery, instead of a swap-able AAA. It will also play OverDrive books; downloaded books can stay on the player indefinitely without "expiring".

message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori (twizzle777) | 191 comments My state library has OverDrive, and I can put WMA books on my i-Pod as well as the mp3 ones. They do expire - which is fine.

message 17: by Dacia (new)

Dacia | 59 comments I've had only occasional luck with putting Overdrive books on my ipod - even the "ipod compatible" ones. Sometimes it works like a charm, and sometimes it simply won't go!

On the other hand, I absolutely love my iPod Shuffle. It's 2Gig and holds over 10 books at a time - which is enough even for my ADD self. The best part, I think, about the Shuffle is that they're high quality, practically indestructible (my 5-year-old has one), and quite cheap. The 1 Gig version sells for like $45, and the 2 gig for $69. At first there used to be trouble with bookmarking if you loaded books from CD onto the ipod, but iTunes fixed that several versions ago. You can now mark a CD as "audio book" and click and option for "remember playback position" and it'll pick up there the next time it gets to the track.

The only trouble I've had with it is that "backing up" is a little tricky. You have to be VERY careful to hold down the back button while you're backing up, because if you only click it then it goes all the way to the beginning of the track. That's not such a huge deal if you're on an audio track that's only 1 CD long, but if you're in an audible file (where each segment is around 6 hours long) it can be a pain to try to fast forward back to the point. I usually give up, in that case, and move on to another story until I can get home and fast forward using iTunes.

message 18: by S.G (new)

S.G | 39 comments Using a Blackberry and changing the chips works fine for me. Hey, ... apparently it's a phone too!

message 19: by Red (new)

Red (redpimpernel) | 7 comments An update for anyone who has a Mac. Even though Overdrive has a Mac version of their client out, it only lets us access titles that are in MP3, that's a very limited number of titles. Likewise for NetLibrary. Even though I can run Windows OS, and use that version of Overdrive, it requires that my iPod be PC formated to be able to put those titles on it. I just gave up and am back to borrowing audio books on CD from my library and transferring them manually to iTunes/iPod.

A tip for anyone else who is using iTunes to import audio books from CD. When you first insert each CD, BEFORE you press the import button, if you select all of the tracks and then choose Advanced/Join CD Tracks from the menu, it will import the entire CD as 1 file. So when you are done, each book will only have as many files as it had CD's, (handily named with the book title-CD #), instead of the potential 100's of files with such unhelpful names as "3j".

message 20: by Suchin (new)

Suchin | 6 comments Got my BB Storm for the promo deal of $50 and it's great doing audiobooks on it. Agree that prepping the chips and changing them works great.

message 21: by Mindi (new)

Mindi Poelwijk (mindip) I have a creative zen mp3 player and I can download from netlibrary and overdrive media. I have had no problems and I download about 3 books a week. I have also been able to copy audio book discs to the computer and then transfer them to the MP3 player with no problems.

message 22: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2 comments Could we revisit this? What do you use? Does it bookmark? I'd like to buy something for my husband, he'll be using NetLibary. Thank you in advance!

message 23: by Terry (new)

Terry Hall (terry_c) Anyone thinking of purchasing an mp3 player (ipod or others) would be well advised to go to and peruse the 'Device center'. It lists all players that will handle the format that Audible's books come in. Even if you don't download books from currently, you may at some time in the future.
The single biggest problem that I have with any iPod is that they do not play the very common wma type files. It also works best with iTunes program on your computer and this program is somewhat of a resource hog.

message 24: by John, Moderator (last edited Nov 22, 2009 08:47AM) (new)

John | 3602 comments My Cowon D2 handles Audible, Net Library, OverDrive and ripped-from-CD books just fine - 8 Gb internal, plus an SD card slot. Bookmarking is incredibly easy.

I've taken to downloading Audible type 4 books, which are much larger files (slower), as type 3 sounds slightly "tinny" to me.

message 25: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 243 comments I use a Zune. I'm not sure how it works with downloaded things, as I don't have those resources available. I check out audiobooks from the library and rip them, which you can do in whatever software comes with your player, making it compatible...

I'm jealous about the ease of your bookmarking. I just have to remember where I am....

message 26: by John, Moderator (last edited Nov 22, 2009 09:16PM) (new)

John | 3602 comments Doesn't your Zune have a "resume" function???

I use Bookmarking if I'm juggling between books, which isn't often.

message 27: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 243 comments Well, yes. If you haven't had your Zune off for like a week straight (72 hours?), it will automatically resume where you last were when you turn it on and push play... Unless you plug it in to charge, and then it conveniently "forgets" where you were. But I also juggle between books QUITE frequently, so that feature isn't always sufficient.

I use the goodreads status updates to mark where I am. So right now my status says, "Disc 5, Track 9, 0:30." (This audiobook doesn't have track breaks in places that make sense... so I'm at the end of a section, but 30 seconds into a track.... SO DUMB!)

message 28: by Serena_v (new)

Serena_v | 51 comments John wrote: "Years ago, I bought a Creative Zen Nano Plus, because it played both audible and (wma) Net Library books; it tells how many minutes elapased, though not how many yet to go (you need to remember the..."

My 5-gig rechargeable Creative MUVO2 FM worked great with all formats, including Net Library and audible. But as of about a month ago it won't play files with DRM protection anymore. I guess the security software has caught up with devices with no internal calendar/clock to enforce expiration dates on library materials. I checked out and downloaded two books, and both came up with an error message saying "copy protected" when I tried to play the files. Has anyone else run into this recently with players that worked fine before?

message 29: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments I haven't had this problem (yet) - I downloaded an OverDrive book to my player the other day, and it played just fine - or are you talking about expired books?

message 30: by Serena_v (new)

Serena_v | 51 comments John wrote: "I haven't had this problem (yet) - I downloaded an OverDrive book to my player the other day, and it played just fine - or are you talking about expired books?"

No, not expired; newly downloaded from my library. They were Overdrive audio books, and played fine on my notebook through the Overdrive media console. But once transferred to my Creative Player it just came up with an error message saying "copy protected". My library also has Net Library downloads available, so I think I will try one of those tonight and see if I have the same trouble. The Muvo2 FM is not on the list of supported players, so maybe it might be time for a different device? I like the 5 gig capacity, and that it's rechargeable and compact (I don't need video), and that I can also use it as a data drive, and that it doesn't try to rename or reorganize my files when I transfer them over. Some of the smaller Muvos and Sansas are on the supported device list, but I don't believe they are rechargeable. Oooh, I wonder if it's Vista that caused the problem; I'll try transferring them again, but from my old PC and good ol' XP. Thank you for helping me think it through!!

message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2 comments Thanks for the feedback. I have a SanDisk Sansa that I would have loved to have thrown out the window while driving if it wasn't littering! Fast forwarding through books trying to find where I left off made me crazy. Maybe I'll buy a new one for me too.

message 32: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments I don't run into resume problems very often, unless the battery has gone to "0" and switched off abruptly without saving my place. Still I try hard not to let that happen.

Here is the D2 Amazon link, you can read the comments at your leisure, esp the ones re: audiobooks. I'm not shilling it, and it is somewhat expensive, but the bookmarking feature couldn't be much easier. It's one of the few players that handles Audible, Net Library and Overdrive equally well. I use Cowon's software to rip each CD as a single track. You do need to "activate" the resume feature, defaulted to "off" at the factory. I've found audiobooks-only use to be about 25 hrs between charges - takes about 3 hours to fully recharge with the included AC charger (two swap-able plugs for North America, and overseas).

message 33: by Serena_v (new)

Serena_v | 51 comments I was able to get content from Net Library to download onto my Muvo2, but again had no luck through Overdrive. So it's probably not a supported device anymore. Oddly though, I was able to get both Net Library and Overdrive DRM Protected materials onto my old 512mb Creative Muvo N200. So that one's still flying under the radar as a device that doesn't recognize expiration dates.

message 34: by Ethan_Orin (new)

Ethan_Orin | 2 comments As for the best audiobook player, I'd like to recommend the all-time one, such as iPod, Zune, Creative Zen for they are providing great audio quality as well as large storage capacity. Also includes advanced bookmarking and navigating features.


message 35: by CatBookMom (new)

CatBookMom | 995 comments There's a good thread from 2014 on this topic, here (; this topic is from 2009 except for Ethan_Orin's post.

message 36: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3602 comments I was a bit surprised to see this one resurrected. As per another post elsewhere recently, I should review these to lock older ones. Thanks, CBM!

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