Audio book rentals?
March 21, 2010 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any experience with renting a wide variety of audio books (preferably in MP3 format) online? I'm looking for reputable rental services for audio books, preferably via download. My local library does audio downloads. and I do use them, but their selection is limited.
posted by answergrape to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Audible is pretty much the undisputed leader in the online audiobook market. I use their service frequently, and have been quite happy with it overall. My own complaint is that I wish it was somewhat cheaper.
posted by sophist at 1:48 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: One purchases audio books from Audible, correct? I'm looking for an audio book rental service such as what my library provides...only for a fee.
posted by answergrape at 2:00 PM on March 21, 2010

How would one "rent" an mp3, exactly?
posted by modernserf at 2:07 PM on March 21, 2010

Best answer: You might try googling around to municipal libraries elsewhere and seeing if they have a larger selection (Los Alamos, Phoenix, LA, NY, ?) and then contacting them to see if you can become a non-county resident member for a fee ($20-30) & then go to their website & download to your hearts content. Or, try the interlibrary loan folks at your own library......
posted by Pressed Rat at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2010

Response by poster: Many libraries allow one to "check out" mp3 files for a period of time. The files include DRM that "expires" items at a designated time/date.
posted by answergrape at 2:11 PM on March 21, 2010

Best answer: Overdrive Search

Overdrive is a subscription service that allows public libraries to offer audiobooks for checkout/download. That search page will search all of the libraries that subscribe for whatever title you want. It's not the perfect solution since, like Pressed Rat suggests, you'll have to determine which libraries will allow you to get a card and at what cost, but if you find a cheap card at a library with an extensive subscription you'll be set.
posted by carsonb at 2:46 PM on March 21, 2010

Oh, you'll also need to download and install the Overdrive software, which is kind of a drag.
posted by carsonb at 2:47 PM on March 21, 2010

I don't know about renting, but Librivox has a bunch of audiobooks available for free in mp3 format. It's all books that are in the public domain, so if you have a contemporary book that you want, it most likely wouldn't be there.
posted by _cave at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2010

As far as I've been able to tell (after considerable time spent googling around for all forms of audio-books) the renting expiring mp3s model doesn't exist in the commercial world. It's library thing, and I hope it spreads!

Here's a fairly typical outfit that rents and sells audio books; you buy the downloads, but can rent the physical disks.
posted by dpcoffin at 11:36 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: Booksfree offers unlimited audiobook and paperback rentals in various formats for a fixed subscription rate. You can do an MP3 download plan, CD/MP3-CD plan, paperback, or combo plans. However, the selection on the mp3 download plan looks a bit thinner than the others.
posted by sophist at 5:30 PM on March 24, 2010

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