Audiobooks discussion

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message 1: by R. (last edited Jan 04, 2011 02:21PM) (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments I've recently retired from a job that involved a long automobile commute. For sixteen years, I was in the habit of listening to books continuously while driving. Now, I'll probably be doing most of my listening while walking, riding a bike, and working out at a gym. As most of the new audiobooks I'm getting (I review them for LIBRARY JOURNAL) come to me on CDs, I need to get a portable CD player. Yesterday, I looked at players at several stores but couldn't find one I could be sure would work for books, i.e., restart where it last stopped. Anyone have any suggestions? My ideal player would also have an FM tuner so I can listen to the televisions at the local gym.


message 2: by Emma B (last edited Jan 04, 2011 03:14PM) (new)

Emma B | 17 comments I like my Sansa disk - it's 4 gigs and that will hold a lot of audiobooks (I don't use it for music). The one I have is only a media player - does not have a video player - and therefore, is cheaper to purchase. It has the ability to record short notes to yourself; has an FM radio. Truly a little gem that I picked up for about $30 on sale at Best Buy - I think they run about $50 now (though check around). Biggest bonus for me is I can transfer library audiobooks from the Overdrive console and the Sansa allows me to play the books without an "end date or return date" DRM cut-off.

http://www.sandisk.com/products/sansa...

P.S. I've not transferred CD audiobooks directly to the Sansa - you would most likely have to upload your disks to a player on your computer, such as iTunes or Windows Media Player and from there transfer it to the Sansa. And yes, the Sansa will take you directly to where you left off in the audiobook - and you can forward/backup, pause, etc.


message 3: by Richhenz (new)

Richhenz | 3 comments I use my ipod shuffle ($30). It's got nearly a gig, is easy to dock with my computer and load whatever files I want to take along. I just plug in some buds, clip it on my pocket or collar, and I'm good to go. The battery lasts a long time too. Been using it a lot cross country skiing this year (snow's gone now, but it'll be back).


message 4: by R. (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments The Sansa disk sounds useful, but right now my primary goal is to be able to listen to CDs while on the move. I know it's possible to convert CDs to MP3 and load them on iPods (which I already have but never use), but I'd like to cut out steps. Right now, I have a 20-CD recording of MARK TWAIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY to review, and the prospect of converting 20 CDs is too much for me.

P.S. To Richhenz: My first iPod was a shuffle. Naturally, I didn't know how to use it and went a little crazy trying to listen to a book as the damned thing jumped from track to track. I fear the new digital technology ain't designed for old folks like me.


message 5: by Emma B (new)

Emma B | 17 comments Gosh, R, I'm not sure I'd enjoy lugging around a big CD player (which I do believe would skip) around at the gym or elsewhere. The way to go is the media player - and mine doesn't skip at all, btw; everything is digitized.

Coincidentally, I just got my notice from the library that the online Mark Twain Autobio is available for me to download. Won't take very long to do it, and then consequently, it won't take very long to then transfer it to my Sansa disk.

Otherwise, yes, I do believe you will have to take the time to upload your 20CDs of the book to your computer player and then transfer to a media player to get the same deal as I get by utilizing Overdrive from my local library (online).

And hey - I'm an old baby boomer, and I love all this technology! Since buying the Sansa in 2008, I don't think I've let a week go by without having a nice audiobook to listen to courtesy of the online library...free.

Other than a media player, like the Sansa or the iPod or the Zune, I guess you would have to go the CD player route. Maybe others here can enlighten us as to the better portable ones out there. Mine's been sitting on the shelf ever since I got the Sansa ;)


message 6: by R. (last edited Jan 04, 2011 04:07PM) (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments Emma,

I should check our local library catalog and see if I can download Mark Twain's autobiography myself. I certainly don't want to spend time converting CDs to MP3.

By portable Cd player, I mean something reasonably small, like a Sony Walkman. However, I can certainly see the advantages of using something really small, like a clip-on iPod. Still, I already own a lot of books on CD that I expect to listen to again. Among my favorites are the 11 volumes of C. S. Forester's Hornblower novels, which must add up to 70 or 80 Cds. It would be worth something to me to have the entire set of books loaded on a single iPod or Sansa.

I'm actually pretty handy with a lot of computer applications, especially graphics and even video. I guess I'm simply resistant to having to learn yet another new technology. These days, when I'm learning something new, I'm always thinking: How soon will I forget how to this?


message 7: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 8 comments Emma B wrote: "I like my Sansa disk - it's 4 gigs and that will hold a lot of audiobooks (I don't use it for music). The one I have is only a media player - does not have a video player - and therefore, is cheap..."

I use a 4 gig sansa clip also. I bought one for a friend for Christmas this year, and paid $29 for it, so either I was very lucky or the price has not gone up. Two very good features are that you can add a memory card, and you do not have to use iTunes.


message 8: by Emma B (last edited Jan 04, 2011 04:48PM) (new)

Emma B | 17 comments R, if you have a library card, go to your local library's web site to see if they are a participant in Overdrive. At our site, there is an area for "downloadable media" - and that's where the Overdrive is.

You will have to set up a pin number, and after that, download the Overdrive program. After that, you've got a world of audio and ebooks to choose from. As mentioned, most libraries update their selection about every two weeks (or less). The key is to look at the "date uploaded to site" - that's where you'll see the latest uploads - and, to check often for new audios.

Overdrive doesn't offer absolutely everything on the market, but I've never felt very deprived. And, as more people have caught on to the service, you might have to wait "in line" for a week or two before a popular audiobook will be available to you. I think I reserved the Mark Twain audiobook about two/three weeks ago - it's rather popular!

You can also put holds on audiobooks that aren't even published as yet - I did that with Nora Ephron's new book and as soon as it became available, I was notified via email.

Anyway, back to the players. Converting is no big deal - iTunes and Windows Media Player will do it with one click. It can be time-consuming if you have 20 disks, sure, but even downloading from Overdrive can take some time for the larger audiobooks.

Once on your computer, then it shouldn't be too big of a problem to transfer the uploaded disks to your player (you might give it a try with the iPod you have) with another click within the iTunes or WMP program.

My transfers to media player from Overdrive end up in a music folder (I'm too lazy to change the thread link) and then all I do is move the book to the audio folder via Windows Explorer and I'm all set.

If you fool around with both uploading your CDs to your computer, or with using the Overdrive download service, I'm sure you'll be cooking in no time.

P.S. If you still want to use a portable CD player, remember it will be as big as your CD. There are smaller CD media now, but I'm not experienced with them - but ostensibly, the smaller the CD, the smaller the player.


message 9: by Emma B (new)

Emma B | 17 comments Betsy wrote: I use a 4 gig sansa clip also. I bought one for a friend for Christmas this year, and paid $29 for it, so either I was very lucky or the price has not gone up. Two very good features are that you can add a memory card, and you do not have to use iTunes."

Yep, I loved the fact it wasn't wedded to iTunes!


message 10: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 224 comments I have the Sony CD player and it does skip or the ear phones have to be turned a certain why or the sound will be off. I wanted to do it old school too, but have realized I'll just have to bite it and get a player instead. Unless you're stationary R, I don't think it will work.


message 11: by Heidi (new)

Heidi | 1546 comments I checked on Amazon for you - it looks like all the "sony" brand walkman's have gotten the best customer reviews, but gee wiz they are expensive! If I were you I would start on Amazon to find a model you like and then do a price search on the rest of the internet. That is normally what I do. I have an old Sony model walkman, so I can't be too much help to you. Sorry!


message 12: by R. (last edited Jan 04, 2011 05:57PM) (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments Thanks to everyone for the helpful tips.

Incidentally, I only now realized that my name has been shown as "R." I'm not sure why that is. "R" is my first initial, but I go by Kent Rasmussen, and I'm not trying to hide my name. I suppose I should look at the setup on my home page and see if I can change it.

I mentioned earlier that I recently retired. I'm now on social security and Medicare and have given up on my efforts to prevent the government from telling me what my name is.

Kent

p.s. Since writing the above, I checked the setup on my home page. I don't see how I can change it so my name comes up as "Kent" instead of "R," unless I drop the R completely. I'd prefer not to do that, however, as I publish under "R. Kent Rasmussen." Anyone have any tips on this issue?


message 13: by Janice (new)

Janice R. wrote: "I've recently retired from a job that involved a long automobile commute. For sixteen years, I was in the habit of listening to books continuously while driving. Now, I'll probably be doing most of..."

Kent, I was in almost exactly the same situation as you; while still working I drove many miles each week, and audio books had been a wonderful way to pass those long hours. When retiring I did not want to give up listening to books. I tried using first a Sony Walkman cassette player, but it was too big, and too many books are no longer being produced on cassette. Then I went to the Walkman CD player, again, too big, and when I was walking or working out, it skipped badly. I now use a boom box for CD's when I am at home and staying in one room. Otherwise, I use a Sansa Fuze MP3, the 8 GB, and I really like it. I am usually listening to several audio books at once, but I was doing that anyway. My local library has many books available for free download, and I have found it very easy to download to my laptop and then transfer to the MP3 player.


message 14: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) Hey R. Kent! :) Another thing to consider is, if you transfer all of your CD's (rip them) to your computer, then you won't have to worry about the CD's becoming damaged and skipping and so forth over time - the files will be backed up and last a lot longer. Happy listening.


message 15: by R. (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments Thanks all, for the tips. Good timing, as my car's CD player failed me today. It was working fine this morning, but while I was running errands later in the day, the changer seem to act like it was working but produced no sound, even though the system's radio works fine. This sort of problem makes me very, very tired. Where do I go to get it repaired? I don't even remember where I bought it.


message 16: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 224 comments Stereo shops, Best Buy. They usually have repairpeople.


message 17: by R. (last edited Jan 05, 2011 08:56PM) (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments I've already visited a local auto electronics shop, where I got the distressing news that no one makes add-on CD changers for cars anymore. The proprietor of the shop said that most Audiovox changers last only 5-6 years, so mine has outlived its normal life expectancy.

Happily, I may already have solved the problem. Not ten minutes ago, I purchased on eBay a changer that is identical to mine and which the seller describes as brand new out of the box. My guess is that the dealer is unloading no-longer-marketable equipment through eBay.

Assuming that the changer I've just bought is in the pristine condition it was advertised as, I may be able simply to take out the old changer and pop in the new one myself--probably at a fraction of the cost of what a repair would have cost. (And there is still no guarantee that the old changer can be repaired--the local electronics dealer is looking into that for me.)

Adding to my apparent good fortune--the eBay seller is based only 30 miles from my home, so I could have the new changer up and running within a few days.

The prospect of having a car without a built-in CD player is depressing in the extreme. I also use my car's built-in cassette player pretty regularly. One of the good things about recent changes in audiobook technology is that I have been able to buy a lot of excellent-condition audiobooks on cassettes at library sales for next to nothing. Some of these I've later sold on eBay at a profit. I buy an audiobook for one dollar (yes, only $1.00); enjoy listening to it for 8 to 10 hours; then sell it on eBay for at least ten dollars. How can audible.com compete with those numbers?

Kent
in slightly chilly Southern California


message 18: by R. (last edited Jan 08, 2011 11:16PM) (new)

R. Rasmussen | 24 comments Good news! The new CD changer I ordered through eBay arrived yesterday. As advertised, it's a sparkling new (in the sense of not having been used) unit identical to my broken one. This morning I popped the old unit out of the brace fastening it to the roof of my car's trunk, and I slipped in the new unit. Happily, all I had to do was screw in four bolts and plug the cable into the side.

That operation was simple but not easy; however,I don't blame the changer itself. I faced three problems:

1) The changer, the brackets, the roof of the trunk, and even the bolts were flat black, and I couldn't see what I was doing because of the glare of the sun, which didn't illuminate anything. Even a flashlight didn't help.

2) The original brackets were not perfectly aligned, so I had to loosen the screws holding one of them before fastening the bolts on the changer, then I retightened the screws. That took me a while to find out.

3) I'm not as limber as I once was and to get at the brackets was extremely awkward because I had to lean over the rear bumper, bend down under the roof of the trunk and then look up to see what I was doing. I can't bend three different ways at once. Moreover, the hinge for the trunk lid got in the way of my screwdriver, making using it it even more awkward. Eventually, I removed almost everything else from the trunk and climbed all the way inside, so I could sit in a squatting position with the changer, more or less. above my lap. After completing the job, I had a helluva time climbing out. I was glad I didn't have to call the fire department to extract me. (I'm gittin' too old for this sort of thing.)

All that aside, the new changer works perfectly, so I can now look forward to at least a few more years of untroubled years of listening to books on CDs in my car. My original changer lasted through about 8 years of very heavy use. If this new changer lasts that long, it will probably outlive my 10-year-old car. No matter. I'm retired now. If my car conks out, I'll remove its plates, file off its serial numbers, rub off all my fingerprints and let it roll down to the bottom of the steep hill on which we live. I don't have to go anywhere.

Kent


message 19: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) That's great Kent! Sounds like quite a trial.


message 20: by ms.petra (new)

ms.petra (mspetra) | 16 comments R, if you are still looking, I highly recommend the SONY D-FJ041. I am a mail carrier and listen to books and/or the radio all day long. This unit is an AM/FM radio and CD player. It has a pause button and when I change batteries (I use Energizer rechargeable) it picks up right where I left off. The controls are easy to access if I need to pause to speak with a customer. I have an IPOD, but I prefer just picking up my books on CD from the library and listening to them. I don't have to download, transfer, delete, etc. If it is something I really like, I might download it or buy a hard copy.


message 21: by Mary (new)

Mary Turzillo | 4 comments I have the same problem. I put my portable CD player in a waist pack and listen while cooking, doing housework, cleaning cat boxes, etc. My best recommendation so far is Sony Walkman D-E J011 or the ancient Sony Walkman D-E220. I've owned three of the D-EJ011 units and they're good, except the newer ones, from Amazon, have quality control issues -- they start halting after a few months. The first Sony D-EJ011 I had was a dream. As to downloading 20 or 30 CDs to an MP-3 file, please, give me a break. If I'm going to use library books, I'm doing it to save time, not play with my computer for endless boring hours. Cluttering up my iTunes library with every audio book I've ever borrowed from the library and listened to is stupid and possibly illegal. As to Overdrive, it doesn't play well with Apple products. As to Audible, I reluctantly subscribed, but there are interface problems there, too, plus the books are not inexpensive. I listen to a lot of library books. The Sony units do keep your place, and if Sony ever gets their quality control back, they're your best bet.


message 22: by Mary (last edited Jul 01, 2013 12:44PM) (new)

Mary Turzillo | 4 comments Thanks for that info. I never thought of buying an "antique" unit.


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary Turzillo | 4 comments Emma B wrote: "R, if you have a library card, go to your local library's web site to see if they are a participant in Overdrive. At our site, there is an area for "downloadable media" - and that's where the Over..."


Hi, Emma. I love modern tech, too, but look at how long and complicated your explanation is. I personally want to listen to books to keep my eyes and hands free. The books already exist on CDs, so why go to all the tsuris of uploading, downloading, syncing, unclicking, clicking, and cluttering up your hard drive with a bunch of stuff I'll only listen to once? This is not music we're talking about. And while Overdrive claims to be Mac compatible, the truth is not quite as nice. It's very kludgy. Plus, I find the iPod a drag. It's hard to navigate without a magnifying glass, it's got a short battery life, and it's so tiny it gets lost in every jeans pocket I have. I use it for hypnosis tapes, but I've never had a good reading experience with it with audiobooks. Possible, yes. But very frustrating. Libraries have these nice books on CD. Players exist. Kent just wants one that works. I'd say, get a Sony.


message 24: by Tomerobber (new)

Tomerobber | 193 comments Well I don't have any of the problems that you posters are talking about . . . I have 4 iTouch's of different iterations and several iPods and all my reading and listening apps work just fine . . . but I also have several portable CD players as well including a Sony Model D-E356CK that I've had for ages that I use for the books I've bought on CD's and I still have a Sony Walkman portable Tape player with AM/FM radio that works just fine.

I buy books from Tantor when they have their $6.99 each sale . . . and to me that's pretty cheap for an audiobook . . . and they come in Library Cases to boot. I use my library's Overdrive App and borrow books on CD as well.

I have a membership with Audible.com and another with Downpour, Inc and get audiobooks for $10.00 - $12.99 each and they have sales several times a year as well . . .


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary Turzillo | 4 comments I really like FREE books. I listen to 2-3 books a week, and I'd like at least some of them to come from the library, not Tantor, not garage sales, not Audible, though I do use those sources too. Anybody mention Playaways? These are little units pre-loaded with a single book. Many libraries shelve them with their other audiobooks. The company is in Ohio. The downside is that Playaways don't have a huge selection, yet.

Thanks for the tip about Downpour. I hadn't known about that source.


message 26: by Tomerobber (new)

Tomerobber | 193 comments Mary wrote: "I really like FREE books. I listen to 2-3 books a week, and I'd like at least some of them to come from the library, not Tantor, not garage sales, not Audible, though I do use those sources too. ..."

My library has several shelves of playaways . . . but I think in the long run it became more expensive (IMHO) requiring AAA batteries and access to headphones or external speakers . . the batteries were provided by them but you had to pay a fee for the earbuds. I didn't use them often because they always had a long waiting line.

The company that makes them offered them for purchase and also made available a program where you could send the device back and they would reload them with another book. The gimmick selling point was that you didn't need to have a digital device . . . it came with everything in place.

That didn't mean that it didn't have issues . . one book I got from the library had a recording error in it.


message 27: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Lazar (aaronpaullazar) | 140 comments Mary wrote: "I really like FREE books. I listen to 2-3 books a week, and I'd like at least some of them to come from the library, not Tantor, not garage sales, not Audible, though I do use those sources too. ..."

Hi, Mary. It just occurred to me that if you are into doing reviews for audio books, I have a couple I'd be happy to gift you in exchange for an honest review. ;o) See what you think of TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (audible) and FOR KEEPS (audible) and if you like the sound of the samples, and/or the plot synopsis, I'm happy to gift them to you through email, etc. If they aren't your cup of tea, I certainly understand. Let me know! Have a wonderful July 4th holiday. --Aaron


message 28: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Lazar (aaronpaullazar) | 140 comments R. wrote: "I've recently retired from a job that involved a long automobile commute. For sixteen years, I was in the habit of listening to books continuously while driving. Now, I'll probably be doing most of..."

R - I haven't read through all the comments yet (forgive me if I repeat something here!) but wanted to say I'm surprised you still get audio books on CD - it seems so much simpler these days to have the files on your smart phone (if you have one) and to listen through blue tooth in the car, or to listen with earbuds while walking, exercising, doing dishes, etc. I do this constantly using my iPhone. It's bliss. And I can carry as many as I want this way. Also - I can get radio shows (any you want) on my iPhone. I use IHEART radio - it is great. So if you're in another state, you can still listen to your home station. ;o) If you have any questions on the details of the above suggestions, please feel free to contact me via email at aaron dot lazar at yahoo dot com. Happy Fourth!


message 29: by Tomerobber (new)

Tomerobber | 193 comments For the recent posts here . . . message #20 was posted 2 1/2 yrs. ago . . . so might not have much validity . . .


message 30: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Lazar (aaronpaullazar) | 140 comments Tomerobber wrote: "For the recent posts here . . . message #20 was posted 2 1/2 yrs. ago . . . so might not have much validity . . ."

LOL, that is too funny, Tomerobber! Thanks!


message 31: by Ann (new)

Ann | 81 comments Aaron - I just looked up Tremolo on Audible and it looks wonderful! I do remember Beatlemania ... someone once brought me a piece of the carpet from a room the Beatles stayed in, in my hometown ... lol! If you're still willing to gift for a review, I'd love to listen to it! :) For Keeps looked interesting, too ... a green marble? Gotta love it! :)


message 32: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Lazar (aaronpaullazar) | 140 comments Ann wrote: "Aaron - I just looked up Tremolo on Audible and it looks wonderful! I do remember Beatlemania ... someone once brought me a piece of the carpet from a room the Beatles stayed in, in my hometown ......"

Ann, you are on! I just got a bunch of new free codes from Audible. If you email me at aaron dot lazar@yahoo.com, we can get you started!


message 33: by Ann (new)

Ann | 81 comments Aaron - Excellent! Thank you! I will go email right now ... :D


message 34: by Emma B (last edited Sep 23, 2013 09:46PM) (new)

Emma B | 17 comments Haven't checked this thread in a long while, but I'm STILL using my Sansa clip AND Overdrive as mentioned in 2011. The Sansa has been going strong for several years now and once it goes, I have an iPod Classic that will take over. Actually, I often download to both the Sansa and the iPod, respectively - when the Sansa needs to be recharged, I switch to the iPod so as to not lose continuity of the audiobook.

None of this is complicated to do - not the downloading of the initial Overdrive program from the library, not the downloading of the audiobook and then subsequent transfer to my Sansa or iPod. Not time consuming. Schlepping up to the library - time consuming, LOL. Love doing this from the comfort of my couch. :)

I don't have a smartphone, but Overdrive is also available for smartphones from what I understand.

Can't live without my audiobooks!


message 35: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3724 comments This thread seems to have strayed enough that I'm closing it.


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