For those who prefer to read with their ears, Audiobooks.com is offering unlimited streaming of audio books for a flat monthly fee.
For $25 a month, you can stream audio books onto any computer or mobile device through the Audiobooks.com HTML5 web app, which works on most major browsers. Since the books are stored on Audiobooks.com’s servers, you can pause in the middle of a chapter on one gadget and pick up exactly where you left off on any other devices — much the way multi-platform e-book readers like Kindle and Nook work with text. As with all streaming media offerings, a downside to not downloading the files is that you can only listen to books when you have an Internet connection.
Audiobooks.com competitor Audible has similar monthly plans, but with Audible you are limited to a set number of books: one title for $15 a month, or two titles for $23 a month.
The $25 monthly cost for unlimited audio books on Audiobooks.com is steep when you consider that audio books are often eight hours or longer (Moby Dick clocks in at 25 hours and 30 minutes long), so you’re unlikely to read a ton of books in any given month. For comparison, an unlimited monthly Netflix streaming subscription costs $8 a month. On the other hand, individual audio books can cost as much as a hardback book: For example, Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography costs $35 on Audible.
If you listen to more than two audio books a month and are always connected to the Internet, an Audiobooks.com subscription is a good deal. However, keep in mind that the company is still expanding its library and doesn’t have a huge selection of books just yet (that means no Harry Potter).
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