Guest Author - Valerie Shoopman
Audio books are becoming more and more popular, particularly downloading audio books over the internet to load onto your MP3 player. However, you might not be aware of the formats and procedures for actually downloading and getting an audio book onto your MP3 player.
First, you need to know where and how you can download audio books. There are several online audio book stores with downloadable audio books, each having their own unique differences. Some charge monthly memberships, some charge per title, some rent the audio books for a specific amount of time. The better online audio book stores have a large selection of titles, multiple file formats, flexible payments, and a variety of pricing points, along with great customer service and guarantees. Some even have articles, book reviews, customer reviews and ratings, along with best-seller lists, and audio book newsletters to keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings in the audio book world.
When you purchase a downloadable audio book, you will be directed to a page where you can right-click on the file name to save the audio book file to your hard-drive. Typically, audio books are 4-6 hours long and have large files, which are broken down into smaller parts for easier downloading. For example, depending upon the publisher, an audio book may have four parts to download with each part fitting on a CD, or they may have 20 parts to download with about four parts fitting on a CD. Rarely is there only one file to download, unless it is a very short audio book recording (less than an hour).
The better online audio book stores will give you a choice of sound quality and file sizes to download. The higher quality the sound, the bigger the file size and the longer it takes to download. The lower the quality of sound, the smaller the file size and the less time it takes to download. If you are using DSL or Cable, you shouldn’t have much of a problem downloading. However, if you are using dial-up, you will probably want to go with the smaller file size. Typically, the loss in sound quality is not much for audio books.
I will start a file downloading and then go fix dinner or do something else while waiting for the download to complete. You can load up multiple files to download. Your computer will spool them and download them one after the other. Then, when I come back, the files are all downloaded onto my computer.
Second, you need to know that there are several file formats available and they don’t all work on all MP3 players. However, there are work-arounds for that little problem! Here are the details of the two most common file formats.
There are audio books available that are actual MP3 files, which are not protected or encoded with any encryption or licensing information. You can easily transfer these files by dragging and dropping or copying and pasting from the saved location directly to your MP3 player if it shows up as an external drive, or drag them into your iTunes library and sync up to your iPod.
The other most common audio book file type is WMA, which stands for Windows Media Audio. WMA files are the choice of most big audio book publishers such as Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster because they are protected, licensed files, which can only be unlocked by the purchaser. To unlock a WMA file, you will need to open it in Windows Media Player, or other media player that can handle DRM or Digital Rights Management.
Once you open the file the first time in Windows Media Player, then you can listen to the WMA audio book file on your computer, copy it to a MP3 Player that can play WMA files, or burn it to a CD.
Burning a WMA audio book file to CD is key to getting a WMA audio book onto your iPod. Once, you have burned the CD, then import the CD into iTunes, and sync up with your iPod. Of course, if Microsoft and Apple played nicely together, you wouldn’t have to go through this extra step!
If you would like some practice at downloading audio books in WMA and MP3 file formats, you can do so for free at http://www.emediaxpress.com/free . Have fun exploring the whole new world of downloadable audio books. No more paying for packaging and shipping costs, or waiting for the mailman to come. Instant downloads for instant listening pleasure!