Thursday, November 01, 2007

Audio Books at the Library

As I drive a lot, I try to entertain myself while in the car. I used to entertain myself with road rage, but that wasn't real healthy. Then I entertained myself with other folks' road rage, but there just isn't enough to be interesting. For a long while I listened to OPB, but now I'm on to audio books.

I've listened to them in the past, but the library seemed to have very few audio books on CD. Lots on cassette, but the CD selection could barely occupy a 5'x5' set of shelves, maybe 100 books total. Plus, the books that were there looked rather boring.

Well, the last time I went into the library, I stopped by the audio books on CD and saw two that looked interesting, one by Al Franken and one by Orson Scott Card (more on them later). But I was curious this time, and I looked at the on-line catalog to see what kind of selection they really had.

Wow, turns out they have a huge selection. Nearly 2000 non-fiction audio books, and a whopping 4367 fiction books. And, nearly half of that is books on CD: 704 non-fiction and 1812 fiction. It just happens that nearly all the CD books are checked out all the time!

I just looked at one of the books I have on hold, The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum. There are 4 variants of the book at the library: CD, cassette, paperback and large print. The CD version has been checked out 73 times, and the cassette 53 times, both are currently checked out. The paperback has been read 14 times, and the large print 35, neither of which is currently checked out.

This extremely un-scientific study shows that audio books are checked out 3 times as often as print versions - and this is a popular book. The Al Franken book I am currently "reading" has two print copies and one audio, the print has been checked out 30 times between the two copies, and the audio 29 times (oh, there's also a large-print version that's been checked out 6 times, and a downloadable version w/no historical information available).

Anyway, the summary is that there's a plethora of choices for me to listen to, I just can't wait to browse them in person because they're never on the shelves.

I have been meaning to check out the downloadable books, perhaps that'll be my next set of books.

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