More and more Audible instead of iTunes
When I got my iPod (I'm on #2 now) I figured I'd get all sorts of music from iTunes. However, after I converted my CD collection with RipDigital's service, I haven't purchased more than a few songs a month.
Instead, I find myself turning to Audible.com for my audio-fix. I use the Podcast feature from iTunes to listen to a few podcasts, but I'm doing most of my listening on Audible. I was actually an Audible listener a few years back on my old Rio 500, but the iTunes integration really sold me. You download the Audible files using a small browser-helper application and they jump directly into iTunes from there.
Most recently I've been listening to the Ricky Gervais show, which is apparently the most successful podcast ever with about 250,000 downloads per show. Audible makes your subscriptions available via RSS (with Enclosures) so I just subscribe to those in iTunes and they just show up. The whole season is only $7 - I listen to this on the small flight to Seattle.
UPDATE: Doh! Al reminds me in the comments that the best part of signing up is the $100 OFF a new iPod.
I'm in the $14.95 a month "Gold" plan that gets me a free New York Times (or WSJ) subscription via podcast with one free book a month (and rollover). I used to get 2 free books a month, but I can't listen THAT fast. This plan is WAY better than the $9.95 plan, which only gives you 30% off. I'm all about free.
My favorite audiobooks:
The Time Traveler's Wife: I can't say enough about this book. Part romance, part sci-fi, part character study. It's a fantastic book, but the voice acting in the Audible version is excellent.
Ender's Game (20th Anniversary Edition): Timeless, a must listen/read.
Altered Carbon: Detective story on its ear, set in the 25th century.
Anything by David Sedaris: This guy just kills me. I've literally had to pull the car over.
Their list of compatible devices is pretty impressive. The current promo is two free books for a 30 day trial.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
If someone out there is ready to replace their old mp3 player, this is a deal you should strongly consider.
I'll check out your recommendations when my next credit comes around. :)
Might I also recommend Terry Pratchett (Discworld novels). You can't go wrong with Terry Pratchett. :-)
I have had an Audible.com Membership since May 2000 and am grandfathered into the 5 books a month I used to get (though I pay $29.95 a month instead of $19.95) and have just short of 600 books in my Library. (However, I don't get podcasts)
I will have to ask you next time about the ITunes Integration, I am now using a Zen Nano instead of the Rio (I had a shuffle for 1 week and HATED it)
If your looking for something specific that Audible doesn't have anymore (they got rid of some of the Robin Williams stuff) let me know. If you are a sci-fi fan i'll let you borrow the one that has an interview between Harlan Ellison and Robin Williams, it's funnier then Sedaris' "6 to 8 black men..." (which is saying a lot)
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Does the Audible version contain Orson Scott Card's freeform commentary at the end? I actually borrowed the CD version from the library. I found his commentary on his inspiration for Ender and Battle School to be very interesting. Even more interesting to me was that Speaker for the Dead was actually written first, but published after Ender's Game.
Speaking of which, I've got Speaker for the Dead from the library right now. Same producers as Ender's Game, so I'm really looking forward to listening.