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Cool Feature for PC Users

The Duluth Public Library now has downloadable audio books, free for anyone with a library card, a PC and a non-iPod mp3 player.

The skinny:
- They're free! You only need a library card (in good standing) to download them.
- The downloads are not compatible with Apple products (Mac computers or iPods), since they use a Microsoft DRM. (Bill Gates donated pretty much all the computers to the DPL, so ...)
- They're probably not Linux compatible either, but I don't know for sure.
- You check them out like any other library book. They "expire" after two weeks. If someone else has the book "checked out" you have to wait, just like real-world library materials.
- You can check out up to 10 audiobooks at a time.

Download the audiobooks here. And let me know how it works. I'd use this feature, but I'm a Mac guy.


So.. since iPods make up 75% of the player market now, how good is it really. Great try but like all audio in a digital format. It needs to work on everything.

What a cool idea!

they do this at the mpls libraries too.

funny thing is that they don't work on zunes either. only players that feature "plays for sure" which also excludes my sony walkman phone.

I have checked out several so far. Some are not able to be burned to disk due to licensing.
I am listening to "Crazy Horse" right now and recently finished "Pride and Prejudice" and "Kabul Beauty School".
I have a little commute to work and this is a good way to spend my drive (besides dodging deer).

awesome to be a mac guy.

...and yes, no Zunes, just PfS (not so sure, MS, eh?) devices. What sucks bad about that is a library like this will trial some new service people want have been asking for, and it'll fall flat. Then the suits say "I told you so" which was their reason for delaying it for so long. But what the suits don't bother to look at, and most potential users won't understand, is that this is limited to PCs and orphaned music players, and how many people have a PfS player or want to sit at their computer listening to a book on tape?

It's just like this with many of the ebook initiatives at various libraries and colleges- they might try it, but it's stuck in some Adobe or MS eBook DRM format, something that you can't read anywhere but on a computer- or a huge Windows tablet if you want "portability," but no PDAs or phones supported, even ones running WinCE/WM/PPC. And the same thing- not much interest, suits say "toldja so" while scratching their heads when legal and illegal non-annoying (or sub-threshhold like iTunes) services are gaining much momentum.

Though, on a personal note, hopefully I'll be able to use these. I've XP on my MacBook Pro, and it shouldn't be hard to strip the DRM or do an analog-hole copy of the books I want to listen to. Breaking the law for fair use!

Or, for less nerdily inclined, you could probably pick up a 1-4 GB PfS device for pretty cheap if you were wanted to get at these ebooks not at a computer. The SanDisk models are nice and I think come in second place, though distant, behind the iPod. You can get a refurb Sansa 2 GB for like $50 at Amazon.

And no, it won't work on Linux. Rather, it won't work on anything that isn't Windows.

The library has to be one of the best ideas ever thought up by humankind.

Let me know when you crack the DRM.

i sure hope this sticks around. i never learned to read.

Who exactly are these "suits" of which you speak? I'm not aware of any "suits" working at the Duluth Public Library.

sweet! i am glad there are library people moving things like this along....

i wish there was a delivery service, like Netflix, for my library books. i'd pay $10 or more per month for that...

By "suit" I mean manager or administrator; I was also speaking in the general. I do understand there are managers at libraries, though most of boneheaded decisions along these lines are made in the private sector.

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