I don’t listen to audiobooks all that much. I have nothing against them or anything like that. It’s just that I don’t have a commute to work, indeed it only takes me 15-20 minutes to get there from home. I don’t do a lot of driving other than that because it seems that every time I get on the road, I get pissed off.
So I don’t listen to audiobooks for the same reason I don’t use diesel fuel; I simply don’t have a use for them.
But I find it weird that the audiobook model seems to be so incredibly broken for today’s audio and media devices. If you subscribe to Audible, there are things they have you download to put the audio on your iPod, Zune, or whatever MP3 device you’re using. You could go through an Overdrive account if your library has one, but chances are you’re going to have to fill your device at home unless the library ponied up the money for a “digital download station.” The reason? Well, it works like this. The standard agreement for using Overdrive says that patrons can use their computers at home to put content on their devices. They cannot do so in the library, even on a public machine.
To me, this is the equivalent of saying that yes, you can check out that book. However you’ll have to take it home to read it because it’s against our contract that you even open inside the library walls.
Anyway, the methods one has to use to put a simple audiobook on a media gadget are strange at best and tortuous at worst. Loading audiobooks onto a Zune is a chore, especially if you’re pulling the audio from CDs. Now, I can see the Apple and iPod fans sitting back and nodding and saying things like “Well, what do you expect from Microsoft?” Sure, fine. Say what you want, but the fact is that it’s no easier to do the same thing on an iPod.
It’s not exactly difficult to do these things, but it’s also not something you can do quickly or easily. Indeed, if you were importing a few audiobook CDs onto either device, you’re going to have to set aside an afternoon. That’s pretty lousy considering how easy it is to place content from regular audio CDs on either device.