Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Playaway audio books

OK, I'm not a fan of this plan. First, let me admit that I DO listen to audio books...I have the audio book version for some of my favorite novels and I love them. The TWO things I hate most about audio books are 1) Their price (usually 150% to 200% or more the cost of the retail hardcover edition) and 2) That they are usually only available as abridged versions.

This "playaway" plan is capitalizing on the idea that people are buying and downloading their books from the Internet to play on their iPods. I don't know how big that market is compared to those of us who buy the CDs/tapes...I don't even have an iPod (yet...eventually maybe).

Anyway, my complaints with this new product are many:
1) Not much selection yet (because it's new and needs to catch on...granted, even with good selection, I have other complaints that would keep me from it)
2) Not flexible - with a book on CD, I can rip a copy to my computer at work and home and then listen to it at home, at work, transfer to my MP3 player, etc. With this proprietary format, I'm stuck listening to it the way they want me to....stuck pouring in batteries and dealing with their earbuds
3) Price - This may seem like the same complaint as I have with normal audio books, but it's even worse here because of the inflexibility...with the audio books, I can partially justify the cost due to the large realm of flexibility. With these, I feel tied back down
4) The cheesy conversation starter / advertisement by putting the cover art on the player. While I have no objection to cover art in general...I'm one of those people who gets annoyed while reading in public when a stranger comes up and starts asking me about the book I'm reading. They don't know me...don't know anything about me...why would they or should they trust or care about my judgment of the book enough to interrupt my reading and ask about it. If they REALLY want to get an opinion they'll care about, they should go and research it on the 'net or from friends. Adding this possibility to the times I'm listening to a book sounds just painful.

ok...I had other complaints, but my brain just farted and they floated away.

So anyway, let me know your thoughts if any.

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