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I was cleaning out my iTunes Library this week.There is a limited amount of memory on my computer and iPod, so I try to move unused items to an external hard drive.

Needless to say, this is inconvenient. Coupled with the issue of limited selections in my library, I decided to look for another option.

Library Limitations

I love my library. I visit on a weekly basis to check out what’s new and to pay my overdue fines… I usually have so many items checked out that I forget to return things. Unfortunately, the audiobook selection is limited. Even with Overdrive,

I often have to wait quite awhile to get newer selections. I was perusing the same old PlayAways yesterday (you know the ones – the books that were released two years ago and everyone has already listened to) and left empty-handed.

Disk Space

If you listen to your books via digital means, your space is limited. My 8gb iPod is full of apps, contacts, music, videos, and books. I mean FULL. My computer is full of… well, everything you can think of. I have been selectively moving items already heard/read/watched to an external hard drive, but I hate to delete anything I have paid for. I needed an alternate solution.

Free Rental Trial

Netflix for Audiobooks

It never occurred to me that books could be rented. I did an online search and there are several sites offering this service. The easiest way to explain the concept is to look at the Netflix model. You pay a monthly fee, make a list of titles you are interested in, you receive and watch your movies, and return them in order for the next to be sent to you.

Options

On SimplyAudiobooks.com, you choose your monthly or annual plan (there is a discount for signing up for the annual option) and make your list of desired titles. You can choose to receive books via CD or PlayAway with free shipping both ways or via digital download. There are no due dates and no limits. When you return your book, the next one on your list will be sent to you.

Digital downloads are the least expensive option, but remember that you must have space on whatever device you use for listening. Plans start at $13/month and are based on how many titles you wish to receive at a time, whether you subscribe to the monthly or annual plans, and the delivery system (PlayAway, CD, or digital).

The Downside

Renting with a monthly service means a monthly fee. If you are an avid reader, you will certainly get your money’s worth by subscribing and the convenience of delivery is a huge benefit. Those with erratic reading habits may chafe at the fee on those months when they don’t have as much time to indulge.

Some books beg to be listened to more than once. Those are the titles that populate my bookshelves. I am also a big lender. I pass along books that I have enjoyed to others. Rentals won’t satisfy those needs…

The Bottom Line>

If you like the idea of Netflix, you may enjoy an audiobook rental service. If you aren’t sure, try the monthly option first… and let me know how it goes!

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