Audiobooks discussion

Archives > Simple but dependable audiobook player?

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message 1: by Marnie (new)

Marnie (bookexplorer) | 8 comments I'm looking for recommendations on audiobook players that work reliably, have a screen to show the book titles, and bookmark your page. I am new to this, but I'm trying to find a gift for my mom. She is always lugging home the CD sets from the library and actually dragging around a portable CD player to hear books. I want to move her into the 21st century and get some simple technology. Any player advice as I shop?

message 2: by Janice (new)

Janice Marnie wrote: "I'm looking for recommendations on audiobook players that work reliably, have a screen to show the book titles, and bookmark your page. I am new to this, but I'm trying to find a gift for my mom. ..."

I love my Sansa Fuze, which is a very user friendly device. It is a MP3 player, and in the menu lists what books are downloaded, by showing all the "parts" of the book under that title. I use my laptop to download books from the library, or to copy books on CD and then transfer them to the MP3 player. It bookmarks, which was one of my major criteria in choosing which device I wanted. And it lists the downloaded books in the menu. And I found a cheap speaker to hook it to so that I don't have to wear the ear buds when I am cooking or doing something where I am stationery in one room. I was doing the same thing as you describe your mom doing, even lugging a boombox in the car, until I got a new car with CD player. I am slowing joining the 21st century, or maybe the 20th!

message 3: by Yz the Whyz (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9 comments Oh...i'll be watching this thread closely.

I love audiobooks, but I only listen to CDs while driving. I've never owned an mp3 player, but I think its time for me to join the rest of the world...LOL.

So, I'm doing research for something affordable that I can use to download audiobooks borrowed from

message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol | 75 comments I am 59, so I'm not as techy as some. I bought an Ipod and I use Itunes to download CDs then transfer to the ipod.
It's not too difficult once I learned to do it with help from my SIL.
There are reasonably inexpensive speakers that you can buy to place the ipod in to listen to books without headphones.

message 5: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments A cheaper alternate to the Sansa Fuze might be the Clip+ instead, if your mom isn't going to using the video player aspect.

message 6: by Marnie (new)

Marnie (bookexplorer) | 8 comments Janice - which size Sansa Fuze? My cousin is using 4GB, but my son thinks we should go bigger. So, how large is your Fuze?

John - how's the screen on the Clip? My mom is already farsighted and won't want a tiny screen.

message 7: by Shelly (new)

Shelly (okily-dokily) | 11 comments I would also recommend the Sansa Fuze. 4GB is plenty, audiobooks don't take up that much space. Your son is probably thinking about his music library where 4GB is puny. The Fuze also comes with a microSD slot, so if it needs to be bigger, you can simply buy a card. Also, the Fuze is popular enough that you can buy accessories for it. A case, a charger, etc...

My only concern with the Clip is the size. It's a great player for someone who already handles small, fiddly stuff, but for a first mp3 player, the buttons and screen might be to small.

On the other end is the iPod, which has a nice screen and large buttons and complete overkill if she's just going to listen to audiobooks. Also, you'd have to deal with iTunes.

message 8: by Shelly (new)

Shelly (okily-dokily) | 11 comments Oh, I forgot to add, whatever you buy, pre-load it with some books she might enjoy. I have to do that for my dad whenever I buy him a tech gadget, otherwise it gets tossed into the pile of "I dunno what do to with this".

message 9: by Janice (new)

Janice Marnie wrote: "Janice - which size Sansa Fuze? My cousin is using 4GB, but my son thinks we should go bigger. So, how large is your Fuze?

John - how's the screen on the Clip? My mom is already farsighted an..."

Marnie, I have the 8GB, only because my husband felt I might need that much. So far I only have downloaded one book at a time, all the others are on my "wish-list" at the library. I do have some music on it as well, but not much. I think Shelly is right, the 4GB should be plenty of room unless you want to store and keep several books and music as well. I also like the size, it fits easily into my pocket while I am working out or piddling in the yard. My vision is pretty bad, but I have no problems reading the screen on my Fuze.

message 10: by Kara (last edited Nov 24, 2010 12:05PM) (new)

Kara (sterlink) | 52 comments I have a 2 GB Sansa (SanDisk). While I would not recommend the model itself... (small, has some known bugs, and a lame bookmarking ability), I CAN comment on GB space. I currently have 5 audiobooks (mp3) on it (and maybe 15 songs), all of which have over 12 hours of listening... some more like 20-30. That's plenty for portability, and I can throw in my 2 GB microdisk if I need more room for extended travel.

If your Mom mostly borrows from the library, (where rentals expire and must be deleted), or as long as she has computer where she can back up things she purchases, 4 GB is plenty.

To others on this thread... good to know the Sansa Fuze is well liked. =)

message 11: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments Which Sansa model do you have - Fuze or Clip? I have heard that the Clip is better for audiobooks as they don't expire, as they do on the Fuze, so you can "store" them, as long as you tag and store them as audiobooks?

message 12: by Marnie (new)

Marnie (bookexplorer) | 8 comments Thanks for all the comments. I'm going to look this weekend for a Sansa Fuze in either 4MB or 8MB - depending on the prices. I should preload it with a couple books - that is a good idea, too!

message 13: by Kara (last edited Nov 26, 2010 04:37PM) (new)

Kara (sterlink) | 52 comments SanDisk Sansa Express 2 GB MP3 Player (Black), tiny and built like a thumb drive... but as I mentioned, has some functionality issues. Don't buy this one.

The Clip sounds nice. =)

message 14: by Janet (new)

Janet Marnie wrote: " I'm going to look this weekend for a Sansa Fuze in either 4MB or 8MB - depending on the prices. "

Marnie: I have a Fuze (4GB w/ 8GB card) and love it.
Nice thing about the Fuze in your situation - especially if you and your mom live in different towns - is you could get a memory card and card reader and download books for her.

While my Fuze has been almost trouble free, I have had a couple of glitches which were quickly cured when I read postings on
a great resource you might want to bookmark

message 15: by Marnie (new)

Marnie (bookexplorer) | 8 comments I had trouble finding the 4GB Fuze this busy shopping weekend. I did see the 8GB model, though, and will be watching for any sales. Best Buy had is for $10 off with sale price of $80, but I would like to think it will get a little lower. We have some time to wait.

Thanks for the sandisk bookmark, Stanley's Mom. I'll save it.

message 16: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Ferguson (ruthdfw) | 93 comments I am looking at getting a Garmin GPS unit that allows you to listen to audiobooks via your car stereo, then I don't have to mess around with the CDs anymore. Has anyone tried this?

message 17: by ☻Nikki☻ (new)

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 25 comments Does anyone have any experience with the Phillips Vibe 4MB? I just ordered one on Black Friday for $29.99. I got in mainly because it was compatible with Audible and the Sony player I have isn't. I didn't research it very much so I don't know if it has bookmarking capabilities or not. Just wondered if anyone could tell me if this was a good purchase or not.

message 18: by Janet (last edited Nov 28, 2010 10:50PM) (new)

Janet Marnie wrote: " Fuze...Best Buy had is for $10 off with sale price of $80, but I would..." has the old (reliable) model 4GB Fuze for $56; the 8GB for $62 (and it's also in some stores). I wasn't aware until today that there's a NEW model. But based on the mixed reviews on Amazon, I sure wouldn't take a chance on it until they get the bugs out of it (and one review said it no longer bookmarks)

message 19: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) | 163 comments I think the ipod is very very easy to use -- itunes makes it so simple to load books on to it and then then it is very easy to download audio books from -- which transfers them automatically to itunes. Also, there is the link up with -- that makes it very easy to transfer to an ipod. I had a Sansa clip a few years ago and I found it frustratingly difficult to load cds on to it.

message 20: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I've found most Overdrive books are in WMA format, not supported by iPods.

message 21: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) | 163 comments Not true in terms of accessing books from -- but I can see how this may be perceived to be true. I listen weekly to numerous WMA formatted audio books on my ipod and now iphone and have for the past few years. All that a user needs to do is download to their computer the overdrive console -- the console converts WMA into a usable format for the ipod/iphone:

However, iphone users cannot download WMA based media directly to their iphone or itouch through the console app -- a user needs to use the computer based overdrive console to have the conversion process take place. There are no extra steps regardless if it is a MP3 or WMA -- just download and then transfer to the ipod or iphone. The only thing different with WMA is that it takes longer to both download and transfer. This is some basic facts about overdrive and WMA posted on one of my local libraries, but it applies to all overdrive:

message 22: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I see -- thanks for the update!

message 23: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) | 163 comments I hope it helps! It is actually easier than my long description above makes it seem, I had no idea about the conversion process when I started, I just did it.

message 24: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments Do books expire after the loan period on iPods?

message 25: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) | 163 comments Yes and no. You can choose your check out period (at least at the two libraries I belong to) -- 7, 14 or 21 days. The audio books expire off of the overdrive media console that is loaded onto the computer (PC, it doesn't work on MACs to my knowledge) and it will expire off of the overdrive media console app if you use that (I do not use the app and I have an iphone). But, it is up to you as a user and under the terms of the agreement, to delete the audio book from your ipod/iphone -- I have to admit I often go past the check out period, but I always delete once I am done with the audio book. There is no way (that I know of) for a user to save the book and keep it in itunes -- the overdrive media console prevents that from happening.

message 26: by Sara (new)

Sara | 2 comments anyone have a ebook reader from either Borders or Barnes and Noble and think its work it? can you download books for free? thanks!

message 27: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) | 163 comments I have a Kindle and I think an ereader is very worth it. There are lots of free ebooks for the Kindle -- classics, indipendtly published books and special offer new releases. The Kindle can listen to mp3 audio books and music as well -- but I have not tried it.

message 28: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I have a Sony 650, which has mp3 playback, but no resume function (bookmarking), nor audio folder support. Your best bet for an e-reader that also does audiobooks looks like a Kindle.

For more information about which e-reader to consider, try:

or this one

message 29: by MissSusie (new)

MissSusie | 2032 comments All the books I've gotten from the library's overdrive media have played just fine on my ipod and they bookmark fine. I've had other mp3 players and I really like my ipod for audiobooks.

message 30: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments My Sansa clip+ arrived yesterday -- it's even smaller than I'd expected -- practically fits in a change purse!

It does exactly what I wanted it to, although the menu navigation will take a bit of getting used to. I did learn that with books ripped from CD's I'll need to tag each disk/file/part "Book name 01" as it displays the Artist, but not the Album on the Now Playing screen.

message 31: by weateallthepies (new)

weateallthepies | 7 comments The Sansa clip+ menu navigation does take a while to get used to, there are a couple of choices in their design I found rather counter-intuitive. That aside it's a great player, one I have used daily since it was released.

I will warn however that the clip mechanism isn't as sturdy as it could be. I've had one clip+ replaced and the clip on this one has recently broken too. The plastic casing where the clip hinges has broken in both cases.

It is also now supported by the alterative firmware 'Rockbox' which adds a lot of features. It doesn't support DRM and is probably best left alone unless you have a reason to use it but I've had quite a few devices that run Rockbox so I like the familiarity.

message 32: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I keep my device in my shirt (or coat) pocket, so the actual clip piece is something I'd rarely, if ever use. I have no desire to run Rockbox at all, but have heard of it at Cowon forums. I'm just happy that the Clip+ plays all formats of audio (DRM, Audible and ripped-from-CD) equally well; the sound quality is very good. 4Gb plus a memory card slot is a lot of space!

In charging it yesterday, I stumbled across that if one clicks "device properties", the exact percentage of battery charge is indicated!

message 33: by weateallthepies (new)

weateallthepies | 7 comments Yep the sound quality is outstanding for such a cheap and small device. Even better once you get a decent pair of headphones plugged in, I use my favourite Koss PortaPros and a few of my more audiophile friends have been very impressed by the sound it can produce.

The memory on these things is incredible as I look back on the huge brick of an mp3 player I lugged around when they were first available.

Anyway, great choice. Probably my favourite player for audiobooks and podcasts, and I've been through quite a few over the years. Cowon are probably my other favourite though most of the models I liked are no longer in production.

message 34: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I started with a Cowon I5: 1Gb, AAA battery, great for Overdrive and ripped books, but wouldn't play long WMA's (NetLibrary), nor Audible books. Has (clunky) bookmarking.

Then a Cowon G3: 2 Gb, AA battery, same inner workings, but used a joystick that turned out useless in my pocket without remembering to always lock the device. The ON/OFF switch broke after not a lot of use. Now a $$ thumb drive.

Followed by a Creative Zen Nano Plus: 1 Gb, AAA battery, all file types okay, no bookmarking (got knocked out 9 hrs into a 10 hr NetLibrary book once!), unlike Cowon doesn't show length of file. after several years the screen got clouded by dust, and it finally stopped working right after I dropped it on the sidewalk without the case. Bought a refurbished replacement.

Cowon D2: Video (!), all audio with amazingly simple bookmarking, all formats (though not Audible enhanced), great for traveling, but not around town in pocket with ON/OFF mechanism via touch screen.

And now a Clip+ ... I'm fond of the Creative player, but 1 Gb wasn't enough storage for me.

Anyway ..... the Sansa Clip+ is a great player, with resume and bookmarking (for audiobooks). It seems like an iPod Shuffle-killer as one can actually see (access) the menus!

message 35: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments Skullcandys come with a lifetime warranty if you register them with the manufacturer after purchase. I have the cheaper ones with no such feature, but really like them.

message 36: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I find they're just the right fit for me.

As for the Clip+, the only negative I can report is that the file navigation takes a lot of getting used to - otherwise, I really like it!

message 37: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments I don't believe the actual Clip is sold anymore; the Clip+ is almost identical, differences being: an added micro SD slot; a square, rather than round, button configuration; the volume control has been moved to the other side; (I believe) the audiobook bookmarking function was changed slightly.

message 38: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments The Clip+ is t-i-n-y. A pack of gum may actually be larger and/or weigh more!

message 39: by Yz the Whyz (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9 comments After following this thread for some time, I went ahead and purchased the Sansa Clip+ 4GB today. is tiny.

This is my first mp3 player, and I'm excited to play with it.

*off to figure out her new little toy*

message 40: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments Unless you really feel a need to do otherwise, stay in the same book; you can juggle items, with bookmarks, but I've found it's easy to "get lost" in the menu and lose your place that way.

Often Overdrive books will come with an ID tag of "fiction", so after downloading, and before transferring, go into My Media, and be sure the ID tag reads "Audiobook". I'm not going to go into great depth on that here, but if you want more info, ask.

Oh yeah ... if you click on device 'Properties' while it's connected to the computer, it'll show the % of battery charge.

message 41: by Yz the Whyz (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9 comments Thanks for the tips, John.

I was able to successfully download an audiobook from last night, so I'm pretty pleased with myself. : )

message 42: by Lu (new)

Lu (luwang) | 2 comments If you are adventurous technically, I'd highly recommend a player that can be rockboxed. Go to and look under the players under Stable Ports.

I personally like the Sandisk players, and had used Rockbox on Fuze v1 and e280 v1.

Rockbox has these "skins" that you can download to the player to show many different pieces of information such battery status in % terms, in addition to name, bitrate and ID3 tag info. It also supports multiple bookmarks even in the same file.

message 43: by John, Moderator (last edited Dec 16, 2010 09:17AM) (new)

John | 3724 comments As I understand, Rockbox will not play WMA library books.

message 44: by Lu (new)

Lu (luwang) | 2 comments John, I suspect you are right. Rockbox probably won't play WMA with DRM built-in. I usually rip CDs so it hasn't been a problem for me.

I do like Rockbox for the vast amount of control it gives to the users in working with their players which simply is not available in the out-of-box interface.

message 45: by Joe (new)

Joe (joewig) | 17 comments The Ipod has been the winner for me. Small, oonvenient and user friendly are crucial. I can flip through chapters and stop and start through as many books as I want.

message 46: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments Welcome to the group, Arnshea!

message 47: by Joe (new)

Joe (joewig) | 17 comments Arnshea wrote: "I've been using my phone (Samsung Captivate) for listening to audiobooks. There are several clients but I've gravitated towards the audible client. There's at least 1 client that will play DRM'd WM..."

I have a Captivate too and hadn't thought about using it to listen to my Audibles. Think I'll give it a go. My concern would be whether it would train the battery quickly.

message 48: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know (if anyone needs a new player) that Amazon has a deal today for the 8 GB sansa clip for $40, and you get a $5 mp3 download credit with it.

message 49: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments That's a great price for an 8 GB. I paid $30 for 4 GB (which is honestly enough space for audio-packrat moi), but I specifically wanted it in red, which can be tougher to find than black.

message 50: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) Haha, John that's the exact one that I have! I had to have the red one too.

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