I actually discovered downloadable audio books completely by accident. I never intended to download audio books, But they were in a folder of some music I was getting off a filesharing client. Without looking at it, I selected the whole folder. I was curious why it was taking so long to download, but I didn’t worry about it that much. When I opened it up, however, there was a whole online audio book included along with the songs that I had wanted to listen to. It was something that I wouldn’t have downloaded normally – I think it was a lecture on the history of Britain or something like that. Since I had it, I decided to listen to it. That downloadable audio book definitely changed my Internet listening habits forever.
The neat thing about downloadable audio books is that you can listen to them while you are doing other things. These days, more and more people spend large quantities of time on the Internet. Most of us surf the web and check e-mail, but it goes beyond that. A lot of us make money online, do research for school on the Internet, or have other uses for it beyond just recreation. After several hours in a row, the Internet can get pretty tedious. With downloadable audio books, however, you never have to worry about that. You can always have something interesting going on in the background even while you are surfing.
My favorite thing about downloadable audiobooks is that I can find things that are a little bit difficult to find in print. You see, the Internet has always been a haven for the weird and rare, and this is nowhere more apparent than with downloadable audio books. My favorite things to find are turn-of-the-century readings by obscure authors. I love the scratchiness of the recordings, the differences in vocal cadence, and the chance to hear someone who has always only existed in text for me before speak for himself.
This isn’t to say that you can’t find more mainstream audio books online. There are downloadable audio books by all of the big authors if you only look for them. Still, you might as well just read that stuff in paperback. To me the biggest thrill has always been finding things that are obscure and unusual. That is where the Internet really shines if you ask me!