Toronto-based firm offers limitless audiobook streaming
Do you like audio books? Check this out: Audiobooks.com a new service based in Toronto, is providing as many streaming audiobooks as you can listen to for a regular payment.
Instead of storing the audio on your computer, Audiobooks.com streams it to your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android device. You listen to it on the move.
Usually when these kinds of services launch I sceptically search for a book that I'm reading at the moment to see if I'd be able to get it there. Guess what? I'm halfway through Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs (which is an excellent read, by the way) - and Audiobooks.com has it. That's an encouraging sign.
Audiobooks.com lets you listen to the book, and then stores the position you were at, so that you can pick up where you left off later. The more I hear about this service, the more I like it.
What's interesting about this Audiobooks.com from a mobile perspective is that Simply Audiobooks has taken a bold step with its mobile offering. It doesn't use an app at all - instead, you visit the web site directly in your mobile browser, log in to your account from there, and start listening that way.
Apps are the normal mode for offering content on an iPhone, and usually on an Android device too, so this represents a significant shift for an audio book company. It also gets it past Apple's draconian in-app sales and publishing rules. By doing everything in the browser, Simply Audiobooks doesn't have to play by Apple's mysterious and often frustrating rules. And users who save the web page as a widget on their home screen will be able to access the site as easily as they can access the average app. That's a smart move.
It works seamlessly, too. After a small technical glitch, (I just rebooted my phone), I accessed my Audiobooks.com account and chose the Jobs book. Not only did it play, but it started playing at the point where I had finished listening to it on my PC. That's slick.
The service also appears to give you access to multiple books at once. I started listening to a second audio book, and the Jobs one was still available to me.
The big issue for many Canadians will be how to listen to streaming audiobooks while on the move, given Canadian mobile telcos' tendency to gouge customers on data rates. But Audiobooks are relatively light on bandwidth, compared to video. The service estimates an average of 150Mb per book. And if you happen to be listening at home via WiFi, that's even better.
Now, I just have to work out how to squeeze in 15-25 hours of listening time for the average book (and really, you'd want to listen to at least two books to get your money's worth). Audiobooks.com's player could do with a fast-play function, so that I can listen to the books being read at 150-200% speed.
Audiobooks.com is offering a 7-day trial. Go check it out, book lovers.
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets