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Customer Discussions > MP3 Player forum

What's the best player for Audiobooks?


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Posted on Jun 22, 2012, 3:50:12 PM PDT
AshenTech says:
you can use a mac or any computer that has a USB port to load up a sandisk player, they arent like ipods, they dont require windows or osx, they dont require itunes, they just work :)

Posted on Jun 22, 2012, 5:53:33 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
I have an Ipod and a Clip+ and I think the Clip is the easier to use of the two. The Ipod isn't difficult but the Clip+ is as simple as it gets.

If you take the time to get used to drag and drop you'll find that it's much simpler than Itunes. For me, Itunes is a nightmare. I like the Ipod a lot when I can avoid Itunes.

I'm currently using a Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 for music, videos, audiobooks, etc. Pretty much the same stuff I used to use the Ipod Touch for. It's a great little player. It's only slightly larger than the Ipod Touch and a little lighter. It's speakers are far louder and sound much better. The screen doesn't have the sharpness of the Ipod Touch gen 4 screen but it's better than the gen 3 screen. It's every bit as easy to use as the Ipod touch although if you're not used to Android it'll take a bit of learning. Android isn't much harder to learn than IOS but it is different.

I also recently put a 64 gig micro SD card in my Samsung, giving it far more capacity than I need.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012, 2:02:19 AM PDT
doxie lover says:
Does the Samsung Galaxy bookmark in Audio books? What kind of battery life does it have?
Thanks

Posted on Jun 23, 2012, 12:25:32 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
The Samsung doesn't come with an audiobook app but there are several that you can choose from. It's an above average audiobook player. The Audible app for Android is excellent if you like books from Audible. I use one called Akimbo for MP3 books. There are a couple of other good ones as well.

It's probably worth discussing terminology here. Those have always been two separate features: bookmarks and resume. Resume means when you stop listening and come back to it later it remembers where you left off. The built-in player does that just fine. Bookmarks are things you set to mark spots to come back to later or to use as a backup for the resume feature. Bookmarks are also great to use in conjunction with a sleep timer. Just set a bookmark every now and then and if you fall asleep the last bookmark is a little before you fell asleep.

Unfortunately Sandisk confused that by calling "resume" "bookmarks". Sandisk does make great products but they sure like playing dirty marketing tricks.

The music player that comes with the Samsung Player does remember where you left off last session but it doesn't let you set bookmarks. The other audiobook apps that do are readily available from Amazon or Google Play.

As for battery life the Player 4.2 gets considerably more audiobook playing time out of a charge than does the Sansa Clip+. I haven't measured either but the specs say it gets 50 hours music playing time on a charge. Sandisk says the Clip+ gets 15 hours. The Samsung also has the advantage of a replaceable battery. It's a pretty simple matter to carry a spare. I got my spare battery from Amazon for $11.

The Ipod Touch has specs that are similar to the Galaxy Player's and there are even better audiobook apps available for it. There's one called Bookmark that I think turns the Touch into the best audiobook player I've ever used. Unfortunately it doesn't do anything else as well as the Samsung so I've switched. I still have good audiobook players on it and better everything else.

If you use Audible books the IOS Audible app is considerably different from the Android Audible app. The IOS version is simple and straightforward compared to the slightly convoluted interface on the Android version of the Audible app, but the Android version has a better selection of features. Both have everything you really need for audiobooks.

Barry

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 10:23:50 AM PDT
The best player is a a cassette tape, unfortunately. Why don't the hardware manufacturers understand that we enjoy a book sequentially, not in random order? Someone could fill a nice market niche by making a dedicated book player that acted like a tape. Start. Stop. Pause. Resume. Big digits to show where you are. Easy to operate in a car or without reading glasses. I would pay a couple hundred bucks for this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 11:41:22 AM PDT
Catfish man says:
I agree with that. I listen to one book at a time, sequentially. I don't need bells and whistles, just resume where I left off.

Unfortunately, the cassette tapes I request from other libraries through interlibrary loan in my state don't always play anymore (my library sold all of the cassette audiobooks for 50 cents each at a big sale a couple years ago, which was at least half of their audiobook inventory). People left them in a hot car and they are 15 years old, they warble badly or the reels won't turn without repairing the tapes; the format is obsolete. It is a tossup for me between those old cassettes and library CDs though, which are often scratched and skip. I have to clean every library CD with a cloth before I put it in the player, but sometimes the scratches are too deep. I have even found CDs that were cracked.

So at this time, my preferred format from the library is Overdrive downloads, loaded onto a Sansa Clip+ because that way they won't expire. The selection isn't very good at my library for downloads, and I have to keep up with what they have because they continually add and delete from their small subset of audiobook offerings. You would think that the second largest city in Michigan would have a large collection of downloadable content, but they don't. So I must use interlibrary loan and take whatever format I can get.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 12:03:04 PM PDT
I absolutely agree with what Catfish says. Before my library got into OverDrive I used to get their CDs. The state of the discs was often pitiful, I swear people used them as plates to park their sticky doughnuts. The last straw for me was when the very final part of the CD was so damaged that I never did hear the end of the book !!!!! I think I was the first patron to sign on for OverDrive at my library - couldn't wait ! Bought my Sansa Clip+ and love this system. Recently bought a second Sansa Clip + as a security blanket (!) and download my books onto both of them. That way when one needs to be charged I don't have to wait for it, I just find my place on the other one. Also, on a recommendation from this group, I joined another library in our capital city and now have as many choices in OverDrive as I can use ! Love it ! By the way, in the past when pickings were slim at my local library, I would just try all sorts of different titles and authors, some sounded quite weird but I was desperate - and in doing so I found some great books that I really enjoyed. Vi

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 1:01:42 PM PDT
doxie lover says:
As long as it resumes where you left off is fine by me. Can you download all audiobooks from Overdrive onto it? How easy or difficult is this device to use?
Thanks

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 3:08:31 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
When I got used to my first MP3 player, a Rio 500, one of the best audiobook players ever except that it wouldn't hold an entire audiobook, I quickly started ripping all my tapes to MP3 so I could quit using the tapes. I never went back.

Tapes have a LOT of problems that simply went away with MP3. They jam. They break. They're bulky if you want to carry a complete book with you. Rewinding to re-listen to something tightens the tape on it's spool and if you do it too much the tape slows down just a bit at times and distorts. Tapes develop hiss and if you don't keep the heads clean they develop it very quickly. This can be problematic if you're on a trip. You have to change tapes every 30 or 45 minutes and if you're driving and a bit clumsy you can drop the box they're in and have to stop the car to figure out which is the next tape.

I'm sure there were a lot of other problems I've forgotten but these are the ones that come to mind quickly. Tapes were good because they made audiobooks portable but better portable ways came along and tapes were thankfully put to pasture.

Right now I listen on a player that fits comfortably in a shirt pocket and I can forget it's there when I'm not using it. I can put a complete book or two on it and not take up enough of it's storage space to notice the loss. It always sounds perfect. To re-listen to something if my mind wandered I touch a little button that takes it back a few seconds and I can decide how many seconds. It has resume. It has bookmarks. It has a sleep timer. It lets me control the sound quality. It never varies in speed unless I tell it to.

Yes I do realize that most of those aren't very important features but some are and the rest are nice to have. I don't miss tape a bit.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 3:12:37 PM PDT
It is the tape player analogy I was getting at, not the physical medium itself. No one would argue that cassette tapes and their players were fiddly, weird little devils. But the task of book playing is not the same as the task of music playing. We want something linear, simple, and repeatable.

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 3:25:54 PM PDT
C. Holt says:
Classical music and album rock fans feel the same way. And they are harder to please, quality wise. But we soldier on regardless.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 3:33:51 PM PDT
doxie lover says:
Hey Barry,
Does your Samsung Galaxie 4.0 or 4.4 play protected DRM WMA files? Do you use Overdrive on either or both of them?
Thanks

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 3:55:20 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
I don't use Overdrive so I can't help with that directly. However Google Play does have an Overdrive Media Console app for Android and they say it handle both Overdrive ebooks and audiobooks. So my guess is that it will work. The player has Android 2.3.6.

Barry

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 5:53:29 PM PDT
AshenTech says:
Philip E. Bowles and others: if you want to make sure books play in order and "just work" get DRM free audio books, OR strip the drm yourself.

next step is to rename the files so that they follow the example 99% of players on the market will play in order.
get bulk rename utilitiy(freeware)

change track number to follow this example 000, 001, 002,003, when you get to track 10 its 010, this will insure even the most pesky of players will play the files in order.

Another big tip is to use mp3tag to edit the tags so that your books will display in the tags based brower of a player properly, remove any excess data or non-standard characters. this is quite easy and fast once you learn to do it.

if your ripping your own cd's or mp3 cd's its even easier as most of them already have proper track naming and tagging the most you may need/want to do is run mp3tag over the files to remove any tags you personally wont need, this helps keep database refreshes allot shorter AND avoids db issues.

if you take a few minutes to learn to do these things, you will find that your audio book experiance will be alot better on mp3 then tapes or records or whatever other medium you have tried.

Note, another tip is, if your player supports ogg vorbis, you can convert higher bitrate aac/mp3 files down to ogg using q0(quality zero) this will cut the file size substantially for many audio books, in my exp it can be as much as 1/4th the size without quality loss.

when buying a player, pick one that suits your needs and/or pick one that you can modify or get somebody else to modify.

I have been told the samsung galaxy players are good for audio books and have a few audio book playback apps...

the cowon c2 I have works well for me, it takes a bit to get use to the UI, but there are also like 7+user made UI's out there you can use as well. it has excellent bookmaking, I havent tested lately for audible compatibility, they keep telling me when i contact them it either should already work or will be added soon.....in other words audible sucks....

no player you have a sandisk player, you may want to try rockbox and a custom theme(you can either make your own, use a premade one or ask for one that does only what you need)

rockbox dosnt support DRM, but honestly, using DRM'd files is a pain anyway....the more people refuse to use them, the sooner they will go the way of the dinosaur

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 6:22:03 PM PDT
I've been using Creative MP3 players for the past six years and listen to almost exclusively spoken word items (audiobooks & podcasts). The battery is starting to go on my Creative Zen Xfi and I'm considering a new player. I'm intrigued by what you've said about the Samsung Galaxy. There are a couple MUST a player must have for me and they are: Speakers and Bookmarking. Plus I like the idea of a replaceable battery.

I noticed that you said that the Galaxy doesn't support Bookmarking but you said that there are Apps that do. What Apps do you recommend for bookmarking?

Lastly, you said in a later post that you used a 64 GB MicroSD card. Can you bookmark files on the card? (My Creative does not allow that.) And can you play video files off the card?

Thanks,
Randy

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 6:30:56 PM PDT
C. Holt says:
Mort Player Audiobook for Android does everything you've mentioned here. You can do anything with files on the SD card that you can do with files in memory.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 6:55:09 PM PDT
JimR says:
If you have an Android player, check out the Ambling audio book player. The pro (paid) version lets you import mp3 files. You can also set up books in a series and you will automatically go to the next book in the series. It automatically sets a book mark every time you pause or stop, in addition you can set book marks manually. When you list the book marks it tells you where in the audio book it was set and the date and time that it was set.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 6:56:05 PM PDT
doxie lover says:
Barry,
Thanks for all the info on the Galaxie. I think for my needs of just listening to audiobooks and mainly from Overdrive I would be way in over my head with this device. I really wanted something that came with audiobook apps already on it.
Didn't want to download all kinds of apps to be able to use audiobooks on it. Always an education reading these discussions. Thanks as I stay informed and learn a lot.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 7:19:01 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
I use the Audible app for Audible books and the Akimbo audiobook player app for MP3 audiobooks. They're both just fine. They have bookmarks and resume. They handle playlists intelligently, although I don't really care about that. I prefer to merge the files in a book with MP3 merge into one long file, up to about 8 or 10 hours, or two or three files if the book is longer than that.

Another app I tried was the Astro audiobook player. It was also full featured and a worthy app. I preferred Akimbo, though. Both have most of the same features and each has a few features the other doesn't have.

There are some other apps as well but these are the ones I've tried. A long time ago I also tried the Ambling audiobook player and paid quite a bit for their Pro license. I found it to be pretty unsatisfactory but I recently went to try it again and they want me to pay again. At the time they didn't sell the Pro version through the Market so I bought it from their website and they seem to have forgotten that. I decided not to pay for it again. It's fairly expensive and I have no real reason to think it's better now than it was, although I'd be a little surprised if it wasn't.

I've never put audiobooks on the card so I can't answer that. Android is a but finicky about that but my guess is it's do-able. Audiobooks are small enough that I don't mind keeping them in main memory.

I really think the Samsung 4.2 is the nicest portable device I've ever used, however as an audiobook player it's not perfect. The audiobook apps work just fine but I'm not fond of their interfaces. They'll do.

I used a Creative Zen for quite a while and a Creative Zen Vision:M before that. For audiobooks they really have a better interface. The Android apps have all the same features and a lot more that the Creative players don't have. But they don't have the nice clean and simple interface that the Creative players have.

I've also used the Sansa Clip and Clip+ quite a bit and I liked it but it's interface was also clumsy in somewhat the same way as the Akimbo and Astro apps. Nothing that really bothers me but they're just not as nice as the Creative players used to be.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 7:30:16 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
Thanks for the tip about Mort Player. I just downloaded it and it works just fine. It's too soon to be sure but this might be the one to use.

I hadn't looked at it before because I don't like ads so I've been avoiding free apps where possible. But this thing looks good.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 7:33:26 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
I think I agree with you that the Samsung is a bit of overkill if you only want it for audiobooks. This is really a genera purpose pocket computer.

For a dedicated audiobook player these days my preference would be a Sansa Clip+, although they don't have bookmarks. They do resume very reliably. I missed having bookmarks when I used it but since I only used it for audiobooks and nothing else it wasn't a big issue.

Barry

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 7:36:37 PM PDT
Hi doxie lover. A lot of technical messages have come along since you sent this message,
"As long as it resumes where you left off is fine by me. Can you download all audiobooks from Overdrive onto it? How easy or difficult is this device to use?"
and I'm really not sure which device you were asking about. I can only give you info for the Sansa Clip+ but for the tech impaired it is very good ! If you only want to download audio books from OverDrive (as I do) it is very simple. It holds a lot of books - I have about twenty and it's a little over half full. As for resuming where you leave off, if you just turn off the device it will resume when you turn it back on. If I am charging it or if I download something in the meantime, I just use pencil and paper (very tech!) and make a note of the Part and minutes where I left off, and it's simple to get back to my place. Vi

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 8:00:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2012, 8:02:48 PM PDT
doxie lover says:
Hi V. G. Eastwood,
Thanks, I have been watching and answering the posts. I was interested in knowing what the Samsung Galaxie was all about. I presently use the Sansa Fuze. Was looking to buy another 8 gb fuze but the only ones I saw were in the 200. or more price range. I originally paid 80. thru Amazon for mine. So I was looking to see if there was something to replace it with. Mine is still working and I do have the Sansa Clip & Clip + but, wanted a longer running device. All of which are easy to use and and will pick up where you leave off no matter how many books your reading at one time.

Posted on Jun 24, 2012, 8:18:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2012, 8:19:21 PM PDT
jj2me says:
The "OverDrive support on Android" question comes up often. So far, no Android device or app supports protected WMA, as far as I know (besides the little wrinkle described below about an oddball tablet.)

Here's what OverDrive says about their Mobile apps:
"Mobile (supports EPUB eBooks & MP3 Audiobooks)" *NOT* WMA Audiobooks.
( http://www.overdrive.com/software/omc/ )

OK, the OverDrive Android Mobile app doesn't support DRM'd WMA. But how about if we load an OverDrive audiobook from the PC to an Android device, like we load regular MP3 players? And somehow we find an Android music app that will accept the license info and play the protected WMA audiobook (I know of no such app).

In this list of OverDrive support for various devices (admittedly, a small subset of devices):
http://www.overdrive.com/resources/drc/
we only see one "sort of Android" device, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, listed as able to play protected WMA "With OverDrive Media Console v2 (or newer) installed on the device." Since for other Android devices in this list, it refers to "OverDrive app", and not "OverDrive Media Console v2", I'm confused. The Archos 5 Internet Tablet couldn't possibly have the ability to have a PC app installed. Maybe the listing for the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is a mistake? I searched a bit and found no one claiming that their Archos 5 could play OverDrive WMA audiobooks. (Besides, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet has terrible ratings--it's not worth considering any further.)

The second link above lists three Samsung Galaxy variants, and none plays OverDrive WMA. A short search found someone with a Galaxy Player who got the expected error when trying to play an OverDrive WMA audiobook, because he did it via the OverDrive Android app, which, as we learned in the first link above, only supports MP3 audiobooks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012, 10:28:55 PM PDT
D. says:
To Doxie Lover: You can get manufacture refurbished players for well under $100 dollars on Ebay. I have purchased many refurb electronics & they have always been just as good as any new items I have bought. http://www.ebay.com/itm/SanDisk-Sansa-Fuze-Black-8-GB-Digital-Media-Player-/130718089416?pt=Other_MP3_Players&hash=item1e6f67c0c8
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