ListenAlaska is pretty nice — it’s about time we got access to downloadable audiobooks — except:
- It operates only on Microsoft Windows machines. Granted, something like 85% of PC-using humans use Microsoft Windows, but that leaves 15% out in the cold. As a wannabe Linux Nerd, I object to software that won’t run on Linux. But I object more to software that won’t even run on the Macintosh OS, which far out-paces Linux in numbers of users. I heart open standards and interoperability.
- An item (1) may be “checked out” by a maximum of ONE simultaneous users, rather than A DOZEN or more, and (2) cannot be “checked in” earlier than the standard 14 days. My wife and I have occasionally screwed up a check-out so that ListenAlaska thinks we’ve got it, yet we just plain haven’t. It would be nice to be able to say, “Cancel! Take it back! Let me try again!” Well, in fact, we can say it, but there’s nothing we can do to make it happen. Why must they subscribe to the print model?
- It doesn’t work with iPods, the most ubiquitous MP3 player in existence. I know, it has something to do with Apple’s not wanting Overdrive’s DRM software on their precious iPods. Makes me wonder if Apple will have to change their tune eventually. For now, it means that I can listen to Overdrive’s audiobooks while sitting by my computer, and nowhere else.
About Project Gutenberg, I say this:
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
That’s from Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, currently the 93rd-most-downloaded author on PG in the last 30 days.
Having the complete and (presumably) reliable text of tens of thousands of classic titles is really fantastic. Having their audiobooks in OGG format, which plays on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix, OS/2, and PocketPC, is equally fantastic. I heart classics AND full text AND interoperability.