I listen to an audiobook a month. The online audiobook market is being sewn up by audible.com, which has aggregated lots of books and periodicals and presented them in a uniform web site. You can buy recordings outright for regular audiobook prices. Or for $15 a month you get one book and one subscription a month.

Sounds pretty reasonable, except.. you don't get MP3, you get some screwed up DRM encumbered format that only plays on certain devices. You're allowed to burn a CD, but you can't turn the recording into an MP3.

Audible uses security technologies, including encryption, to protect purchased programs. While the more typical MP3 files contain the same kind of audio data, they are not protected in this way. You will not be able to convert the Audible format to MP3 because of this encryption. The measures taken by Audible are required to protect both the intellectual property rights of our Content Providers as well as the Authors. Audible's secure distribution system prevents a customer from passing along duplicate digital audio files to another listener.
Why would I want to buy some crappy format whose main purpose is to restrict my usage? After 10 minutes on the web site I still can't figure out whether your book-a-month is owned by you to listen to in perpetuity or if you only get to listen to it for the month you rented it. Who wants the uncertainty? I'm going to keep buying CDs and ripping them to MP3 myself.

Todd tells me the books apparently don't expire.
  2005-01-08 17:09 Z