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Old 07-05-2005, 12:55 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Questions about Audible.com

I'm curious.
Is anyone using Audible.com, especially on a PalmOS device?

And a few questions that people must be wondering about in addition to me...

(1) How's the player? Would I want to use it to play mp3 ebooks that I didn't purchase through Audible, or does it make more sense to use something like Pocket Tunes?

(2) Is the Audible software necessary on a handheld at all? I.e. Are all Audible downloads available in .mp3 form that can be played on any mp3 player?

(3) What kind of books are most appropriate for the audio format? (Novels, best sellers, magazines, newspapers, etc.)
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Old 07-05-2005, 01:40 PM   #2
Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
I'm curious.
Is anyone using Audible.com, especially on a PalmOS device?

And a few questions that people must be wondering about in addition to me...

(1) How's the player? Would I want to use it to play mp3 ebooks that I didn't purchase through Audible, or does it make more sense to use something like Pocket Tunes?

(2) Is the Audible software necessary on a handheld at all? I.e. Are all Audible downloads available in .mp3 form that can be played on any mp3 player?

(3) What kind of books are most appropriate for the audio format? (Novels, best sellers, magazines, newspapers, etc.)
Bob,

(1) The player is used exclusively for listening to Audible.com content: It isn't a media/mp3 player like Pocket Tunes. The Zodiac version supports the highest quality (Format 4) of any PDA. It's very good for what it does and has a few cool features like a finger friendly mode where the buttons are bigger, and it shows a small thumbnail of the book/magazine/newspaper.

Here's a screenshot from today:




(2) The Audible.com files are a proprietary format with DRM, using the .aa (Audible Audio) file extension. You can only play them using the Audible Manager on the desktop, Windows Media Player (plug-in for Audible Manager, you have to 'authorize' it as a seperate player), an iPod, iTunes, or the Audible Player for Palm or Pocket PC, or any other 'Audible Ready' device. You can burn CDs in Audible Manager to play your Audible content using a CD player.

(3) I listen to books and magazine subscriptions (Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal). Both types are suitable IMHO, and it's very subjective and depends on your taste.

I'm a Basic Listener, so I get one book and one subscription per month. I recommend listening to the previews of books before you buy. The most important factor is whether or not you find the speaker's voice acceptable for listening.

A few more things:

Audible recently started offering "My Audible Podcasts" feeds for their subscriptions, so you can feed this into a podcatching application like iPodder to fetch your latest issues with your other Podcasts.

Audible also has RSS feeds for different categories to keep you informed of new releases, etc.

I really enjoy Audible.com, it's a great way to spend my commute. Between Audible.com content and Podcasts, I listen to stuff that I find interesting.

Hope this helps.

Brian

Last edited by ballistic; 07-05-2005 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 07-05-2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
I'm curious.
Is anyone using Audible.com, especially on a PalmOS device?

And a few questions that people must be wondering about in addition to me...

(1) How's the player? Would I want to use it to play mp3 ebooks that I didn't purchase through Audible, or does it make more sense to use something like Pocket Tunes?

(2) Is the Audible software necessary on a handheld at all? I.e. Are all Audible downloads available in .mp3 form that can be played on any mp3 player?

(3) What kind of books are most appropriate for the audio format? (Novels, best sellers, magazines, newspapers, etc.)
I've been using Audible shortly after I got my Palm in Oct 2003 and have been a regular user of their Wall Street Journal daily edition and occasionally some audio books.

1 - The player is only to play and manage your Audible files as ballistic has already mentioned.

2 - Yes, you need the Audible player on the handheld to play your Audible books. Other mp3 or audio players won't be able to play it since it is encrypted. Even if you own an Audible book and try to give the file to someone with an Audible account, I don't think your friend will be able to play it since it's encrypted only for your use. No. They are in .aa format and can't be converted legally into mp3. Your best bet is to burn the highest quality format onto CDs and then rip and encode them into mp3s or other compressed audio formats.

3 - Audible comes in various file formats (1 - 4) that vary from AM quality (1) and higher (4), but obviously, higher quality also means a bigger file size. I have to say that the quality isn't that great, but for me, since I usually listen to a daily periodical like the WSJ, it's not a big deal for me, but for an audio book, you may want to think about it.

A good idea is to at least listen to the audio sample of the specific book you are interested in to determine whether the narrator's tone and speaking voice is acceptable as well as what the book "sounds" like.

The good thing about Audible is that once you've purchased the book it's yours for life, even if you don't purchase any more books from them. Simply log back in with your login id and password and you can access it again.

Sometimes the software may get a bit buggy when trying to download and transfer the files from computer to Palm (I simply exit the Audible Manager app and the Audible app on the Palm and start over). Most times, it will be okay and will transfer properly. If not, you can always transfer to your card reader and then put the card in the Palm, add a few more steps in the process.

I am satisfied with Audible.

Last edited by maceyr; 07-05-2005 at 04:19 PM.
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