We’d seen the Audible audiobook ads on Metro-North–blissed out guy in headphones with a tagline about how you’ll wish your commute was longer. So we decided to give the service a try.
It’s actually pretty cool, and easy to use. You go to Audible.com, sign up, search for a book you want, and purchase it–same as you would something on Amazon.
I picked out Tom Perrotta’s The Abstinence Teacher because The Wishbones and Little Children were really good, and Michiko Kakutani likes the new one. Had I been paying in real money, not a trial basis for hotshot bloggers, it would cost $28 (it’s considerably less on amazon.com). Audible transfers the file over to your iTunes library, and it takes around six minutes to download.
From there, I simply plugged in my iPod, then found Abstinence under “Recently Added”–the only 5 hour, 46 minute file in my iPod (slightly longer than “Nights in White Satin,” if you’re scoring at home).
I played the file for about 10 minutes on the train this morning. What’s critical is that you can stop playing, shut down the iPod or shift to music, then shift back to the book exactly where you left off (imagine what a pain it would be to restart a 5 3/4 hour file from the beginning every time). Campbell Scott, last seen as the uptight guy with Kyra Sedgwick in Singles, narrates.
It was basically my first time listening to an audio book. What feels weird is when you feel you’ve missed a bit of info, such as a character’s description: you can’t flip back a few pages and you can’t rewind.
I liked it. But to be honest, Audible is better suited for car commuters, whose hands are tied up. If you’re on a train, there’s really nothing to stop you from actually reading a book; your hands are free–unless of course you’re that nut job John Clifford and you need your hands free to throttle fellow riders.