Friday, September 29, 2006

PLCMC & NetLibrary

I'm not much of an audio book listener. Somehow, I need to see the words on the page to really grasp what's being said.

For me to listen to an audiobook, it's going to have to be easy to purchase, easy to listen to, and portable. (I cancelled my membership a few years ago because the files just weren't portable in any convenient way.)

To be completely honest, I probably won't listen to anything through PLCMC's partnership with NetLibrary because the files aren't compatible with my iPod. Not that other public libraries are doing any better; a quick search revealed that most are using either NetLibrary or OverDrive, both of which require Windows Media Audio DRM.

Nevertheless, I took a look at the offerings available to PLCMC patrons from NetLibrary. I found a surprisingly good "fiction & literature" collection, with lots of works by Southern authors like Lee Smith. Over one quarter of the 1,377 titles offered are classified as "mystery & suspense" - I wonder if there is data saying that mysteries are the most common type of audiobook purchased?

A few titles were miscategorized. For example, Salem's Lot by Steven King was in the health and medicine group, and Anne Perry's (fictional) Belgrave Square was categorized as non-fiction. Book descriptions were short or even missing; NetLibrary should think about allowing users to tag audiobooks, to provide more detail.

I did my exploration at a computer without speakers or headphones, so although I was able to download an audio book I was not able to listen to it. Downloading was easy, at least! There are a few NetLibrary titles that I might want to try downloading to my home computer so I can listen to them, including one of the recorded lectures.

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