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January 31, 2008

Digital lifestyle: Amazon.com to Acquire Audible.com

Tginfluenzaaudiobook From the Amazon PR Release:

"Audible.com offers the best customer experience, the widest content selection and the broadest device compatibility in the industry," said Steve Kessel, Amazon.com's senior vice president for worldwide digital media. "Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience."

They also plug the out of stock Kindle in the press release.

I've been using audiobooks to listen to John M. Barry's The Great Influenza (unabridged, just over 19 hours), Ian McEwan's Atonement, William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. It was a little difficult with Gibson's work because he's invents new cyberwords and sometimes writes in sentence fragments which makes comprehension difficult. I chose to download the ebook of Cormac McCarthy's The Road for this reason.

The good thing about audiobooks is that you can listen while during your entire commute without interruption, and it's great for a long walk in the city. The really bad thing is that you can't bookmark or navigate to a specific chapter. This works for fiction, but for a science book that you want to use for future reference, it's a real pain.

Mobipocket is great for reading ebooks on your smartphone. You can annotate, bookmark, even draw pictures with their free reader. I've even put chapters of Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2008 on my Treo 700p using the desktop Mobipocket software. You lose the illustrations, charts and graphs, but having the text on hand that you can bookmark works for me. It also loads the texts onto the SD card, so can carry many books without clogging up the phone's internal memory.


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