I’ve been giving an audible.com a try for a few weeks now & I’m pretty pleased with it. My motivation was largely for something to listen to while trying to go to sleep at night. (My mind tends to start to race off in a thousand directions at night, making it hard to fall asleep.) It’s worked out well.
I’ve had speakers for my iPod in my bedroom for a while, eliminating to wear headphones while trying to sleep. If you stop an audio book track, the iPod remembers where you were, so when you play it again, it picks up where you left off. It also has a built in “sleep timer”, allowing you to tell your iPod to shut itself off after 60 minutes or so.
The selection on Audible seems decent, although like books on the tape, you have to pay attention to if a book is abridged or not. The integration on the PC is slightly better than on a Mac, but both work well enough. The number of computers you can “authorize” to play purchased audio isn’t as generous as Apple’s 5, but they do allow 2, letting me download it to my desktop (where I sync my iPod) and on my laptop (which I use more often).
Right now I’m listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book I wanted to read a while back, but never found the time. The most interesting thing I’ve learned so far is just how much of a crazy fucker Newton was. I’d known remotely about some of oddities, including his odd forays in religion, searching the bible for secret codes, etc. but not his extensive efforts in alchemy, working to turn base metals into gold and the like, and his willingness to experiment on himself. As an example, apparently he stuck a need into his eye until he felt the back of the socket simply “to see what would happen”, and, for the same reason, latter stared at the sun for as long as he could. Neither permanently blinded him, but he did have to spend several days in a dark room to restore his sight after staring at the sun. I guess when you come up with not just gravity, but calculus, advances in optics, you’re entitled to a few eccentricities.