Thanks so much to everyone who said how much they liked my last post, How I believe I spend my day vs how I actually spend my day. If you’d like to write your own blog post documenting your self deception I would love to read it, and if you point me to it I’ll add a link in my post.
I mentioned recently that I was considering giving audiobooks a try. Actually I said I was going to try them this month, so I’d better get on with it, despite my reservations about awful American accents.
How to listen
Audiobooks aren’t going to do me a lot of good if I can’t listen to them, so my first step is to figure out how to do that.
I read ebooks on a really old kindle, so that’s the place to start. I examine my kindle and don’t find anywhere earphones can plug in. Not surprising, considering it was probably manufactured before mankind discovered sound.
The Audible website tells me I can also use an iPhone or iPad Touch (don’t have one), Windows phone (don’t have one), kindle (see above), fire tablet (don’t have one), Amazon echo (what is all this weird technology?), Android (don’t have one), iPad (don’t have one), Windows tablet (don’t have one), through streaming (sounds too complicated), via download onto a computer (but I don’t want to carry my computer in my pocket while I do housework), or on an mp3 device. That’s the one! (Assuming I can make it work.)
I found my “mp3 device”. It was in one of the cat’s boxes, and the battery had been flat for some time (months, possibly a year or more). Because I’m good at planning, this morning I plugged it in to charge up. Yay me!
The website tells me I have to install AudibleManager. The button is orange and scary, but let’s click it and see what happens. Instructions appear. Oh dear, it sounds complicated.
Yea, I’m not going to do that.
In fact, I can’t do that because I’m on a Mac and AudibleManager only comes as an exe. I’m going to try the other thing: download an audiobook, which will hopefully appear in iTunes, and see if I can move it to my mp3 player from there. Which is the only thing you can do on a Mac (I mean, other than write books and look at cat gifs, of course).
How to pay for an audiobook
The first thing I notice when I get to Amazon is that audiobooks are really expensive. For example, “Dawn of Wonder” costs $41.34. It’s also 29 hours 36 minutes long. To be fair, that’s only $1.40 an hour, which is cheaper than a movie.
And it lasts longer than a day. I’m thinking audiobook marathon! (Though I’m sure that won’t involve housework.)
But just paying for the audiobook itself isn’t my only option. It’s free if I join Audible, which itself is free for the first month and then $15 a month. It’s not clear what you get for that $15 a month. More audiobooks, I’m guessing. You can unsubscribe at any time, but signing up to things is against my religion because I tend to forget what I’ve signed up and never take advantage of it.
There’s a third option. If I buy the kindle version ($5.78) then I can add audible narration for $4.01. Arithmetic was never my strength, but that’s about $10. So unless I’m misunderstanding, I can get the book and audible narration for $10, or the audible narration alone for $40.
$40 is more than $10, and you get less.
(Looks left and right, wonders if whoever came up with this pricing is worse at arithmetic than me.)
$10 for 30 hours of entertainment is only about 30c an hour. That’s much cheaper than a movie. We have a winner.
Choosing an audiobook
Now comes the fun part: choosing what book to get. My experience with this audiobook is likely to determine whether I ever listen to another, so you can see there’s a lot riding on it.
I head to Amazon audiobooks, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy. (There are only three subcategories of fantasy, which seems rather limiting.) Looking at the first page, most of the books are from the Wheel of Time series. Not that I object to them, but they’re a bit much of a commitment for my first audiobook.
I found Wizard’s First Rule! I love this book. I’m so not listening to it, or I’ll never be able to read it again without having the narrator hanging out in my head.
And Watership Down. I haven’t read this book in years. Okay, decades. I thought it was really scary. Nope, I’m not going to ruin Watership Down with a narrator’s voice either.
It’s time to get serious about this. Here are my requirements:
- Not a book I already love.
- If it’s in a series I haven’t read it has to be the first book. Reading a series out of order is more painful and soul-destroying than ironing your underwear while you’re wearing them.
- The cover can’t be hideous or cartoonish. Sorry, but it can’t.
- The blurb has to at least vaguely interest me.
- The writing in the first few pages can’t be awkward.
- Most importantly–and this doesn’t come up with ebooks–the narrator’s voice and accent have to not make me scream.
I’ve opened a bunch of potentials. Off to take a look and a listen. In the first two pages of results I found eight books to look at. A lot more failed requirement number 2, and a couple failed 3.
Book 1: I’d almost buy this book for the cover alone. It’s just so pretty! But the narrator has such a piercing voice I’m not sure how much I can listen to.
Book 2: The cover of this book is less inspiring, but I like the narrator’s tone. He has a deep voice that’s easy to listen to. Unfortunately he doesn’t enunciate very clearly and I have to concentrate to pick up the words.
Book 3: The cover is boring, and the narrator is way too excited. (Maybe it’s a compensation mechanism.) OMG, it’s a bird! OMG, a cloud blew across the sun! OMG, the wind is cold! Take a pill and calm the truck down.
Book 4: I like the cover, which has a pretty tree on it, but the excerpt was soporific.
Book 5: I like the narrator’s voice, but the book’s written in first person. In case I’ve ranted about this before, I’ll give you the short version: sorry, nope.
Book 6: I can’t make the sample play, and the cover looks tacky anyway.
Book 7: The narrator isn’t bad to listen to, and the cover looks cool, but it’s only 12 hours long. I know this is still half a day, but the other one was 28 hours. A definite maybe.
Book 8: This book is long, and a few minutes of narration show why. The phrase “lack of editing” comes to mind. Perhaps some people enjoy reading pages and pages that basically say “the wind blew through the forest”, but I have other things to do, like plan world domination.
I’m not happy yet, so I open a few more.
Book 9: First female narrator! I didn’t like her voice.
Book 10: I couldn’t listen to much of this one. Melodramatic narration, much?
Book 11: The narrator has a pleasant voice, but the way she acts the characters’ speech is too overdone for my taste. Just because you can put on weird voices that barely sound like speech, doesn’t mean you should.
Book 12: I want to love this book because the cover is SO FREAKING PRETTY. But I don’t.
This has gone on for way too long. As I said, I have world domination to attend to. I tried to listen to the full sample of book 2 (which seemed less mumbly as it went along), but I zoned out half way through, which I don’t consider a great sign.
I’m going to buy book 7, Fireblood by Jeff Wheeler, because the narrator is nice to listen to, and the first few pages seemed well written. The kindle version is $6.31 and I can add audible for $2.29. I guess it’s cheaper because it’s only 12 and a half hours, but it’s part of a trilogy, so if I like it there are more.
Let’s do this!
And then comes the problem
The only difficulty is that I can’t listen to the audiobook on my mp3 player.
I could if my laptop were a PC or my mp3 player were an i-anything, but because I have the lack of foresight to have a Mac for my laptop and a something else for my mp3 player, I’m in trouble.
Google comes to the rescue and provides me with what it assures me is a totally legal solution that costs $40 if I want to listen to more than the first three minutes of my audiobook. (Hint: I do.) Unfortunately their clever fixit also hasn’t worked since the last iTunes update.
The development team assure me they’re working on a fix. So I wait.
Another week with no housework getting done. Well, you can’t say I didn’t try.
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