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Pros and Cons of Downloadable Audio Books

By Lillian Keefe

Many people assume that downloading audio books is too complicated for them to handle. In this article we will discuss what the pros and cons of downloadable audio books are. You will also be able to figure out when it may not be the best choice for you. The popularity of audio books is increasing due to the new downloadable format but audio books are still popular on CD and even on audiocassette.

CD formats can be very convenient particularly for those traveling in a car. Typically if you look at the costs of a book paperback is the cheapest followed by downloadable audio books, then by hard cover and lastly by CD audio book. This is due to the obvious convenience factor that is offered by CD and the fact that you don't have to buy the discs and burn them yourself. The older you are (like me) you may still have an audiocassette Walkman or car stereo. This is why even though this format is bulkier and doesn't allow you to skip forward and back on tracks there is still a demand for books on audiocassette.

So let's list out the pros and cons of downloadable audio books.


1) Instant access to the audio book upon download

2) Ability to move to formats that will fit your plans, if you want to use it for commuting burn it on an audio CD, for exercise download it to your MP3 player etc.

3)Formats like WMA and MP3 allow you to minimize the space requirements for your collection, whether they be in physical or digital form

4)Cost to produce audio book downloads is low.

As convenient as downloadable audio books can be there are some cons associated with the format.


1)Bandwidth Problems When Downloading

2)Learning Curve for New Users

These cons can be stumbling blocks and barriers to experiencing the benefits of downloadable audio books but there are solutions and workarounds to help you.

Bandwidth problems stem from the fact that files for audio books are bigger than the 4 minute music download that some of us may be used to. Audio books can be an hour long or even more than 6 hours long depending on whether they are abridged or unabridged. Even if you have a DSL or Cable connection they will take some time and if you have dial-up it will definitely be a challenge.

The main solution to this problem is planning ahead. If you have a slow connection you should plan your download during your free time or time away from the computer. You can start the download and go do something else. You can start it before you go to work or before you go to sleep. By the time you wake up or return your download will be complete. If you don't have the patience and your employer allows it you can download it at lunch or break from your office since they usually have faster connections. After downloading the audio book you can then take it with you on a zip disk or a flash disk to listen to at home.

At CreateTimeAudio you have the option of downloading different sizes based on your connection. There are three sizes that allow you to trade off download speed versus quality. The smallest option is for people who have low-bandwidth Internet connections. These formats are usually those with the highest compression ratio - thereby making the download lighter and faster.

Lastly as a new user downloadable audio books may be a little intimidating because of the formats involved and issues like Digital Rights Management (DRM) that enforce restrictions on what you can do with the downloaded audio books you purchase. This is similar to restrictions on downloadable music. When downloading audio books be sure that the store you buy it from provides support and a guarantee. At CreateTimeAudio we provide video help, a support desk and a money back guarantee in case the experience just doesn't work for you.

Lillian Keefe owns CreateTimeAudio and is the host of TheAudioBooksBlog where you can find more info on unabridged audio books

Please feel free to use this article on your website if you like, we only ask that you include the above resource box in your website with the links in place.  ;-)



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