audible

App Review: Audible Audiobook Player

by Michael Alderete on 11/5/2010 · 11 comments

If you search the App Store for “audiobook” you turn up hundreds of results, most of which are crap. (More on that in a future post.) Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge. Aldo on Audiobooks will only bother to review worthwhile apps.

My favorite source for audiobooks is Audible.com, an online service offering over 85,000 digital downloads of audiobooks and other spoken word content (more here). This summer Audible released the Audible audio player app, dedicated to playing Audible content and interacting with the Audible.com service directly, without requiring the use of a computer or iTunes. The app is free, but requires the use of an Audible.com account.

Audible app

The short version of this review is, if you’re an Audible customer with an iOS device, getting this free app is a no-brainer. It’s intuitive and optimized for audiobooks, it plays in the background just like the built-in iPod app, it adds useful features not in the built-in iPod app, and its design is clean, simple, tasteful. I’ve used it exclusively for audiobooks for the last four months, and it’s a great replacement for the iPod app. I plan to continue using it indefinitely. I still use the iPod app for podcasts and non-Audible audiobooks, and regularly miss Audible app features.

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Useful news feeds at Audible.com

by Michael Alderete on 12/19/2008

If you are looking to stay “on top” of all the latest audiobook releases, there are a variety of sources. Most of the different audiobook publishing houses and audiobook stores have email newsletters, or even paper catalogs they will send you in the mail. I’ve signed up for a lot of these, and find them useful.

But the best source for audiobook releases news I’ve found are the RSS feeds offered by Audible.com. They have feeds for the latest releases, but they also have feeds for best sellers from various lists (NYTimes, etc.), best sellers in various categories, and feeds for specially priced titles, including free content. Audible’s feeds used to be awful, abbreviated entries that were almost useless. But at some point they got a whole lot better, and now tell you the book title, author, and give the full description for the book. They even link to an audio sample of the book, for you to listen to before you buy. Since Audible has the largest catalog of audiobooks, this is about as comprehensive a source as you can find.

Unfortunately, while I would like to link directly to Audible’s feeds page, their horrible web site makes it impossible to directly link to some pages, including that one. So I can only describe how to navigate there yourself.

  1. Start at the Audible.com home page.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  3. Click the “RSS” link, which looks like this:

Audible RSS Link

Find a feed that appeals to you, and subscribe to it in your usual newsreader, e.g., Google Reader, NewsGator’s excellent readers, etc. (If you don’t know what a newsreader or RSS feed is, this What is RSS? article is a pretty good introduction.)

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