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A Thanksgiving road trip took the fam and me down to Southern California on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Excited by the prospect of four quiet hours in the car with my husband and a sleeping toddler, I thought to procure an audiobook for the old iPod. This was not as easy as it sounded.

To date, I am strictly a reader of books. Yes, I read magazines–and blogs–and online news sources–but when it comes to, you know, books, I do them in paper. The kind that can sit next to my bedside table or slip into my bag. But I got excited about listening to what I have to fight myself not to call a “book-on-tape,” and went to Audible.com. Well, for the low-low price of $21 (!!!), or for the dubiously better deal of $14.95/month, I could indeed get one audiobook (or one per month). I decided to look elsewhere.

There is this site, and this one, both of which offer “free audiobooks,” though it appears that the latter just sends you back to Audible for a free trial and the former has a few classics but nothing new and exciting. A quick Facebook status update convo (“Is $21 really the best price I can get for an audiobook?”/”Try the library!”) reminded me that the library now has downloadable offerings, and off I went. I “checked out” two: Bringing Up Bebe and The Hunger Games, but ultimately I was unable to download either successfully. With a little time and the Help Desk, I’m sure I could have figured it out, but I had two pies to make before we rolled out of town.

In the end, a couple of “This American Life” podcasts kept us happy, but I sure was bummed to miss The Hunger Games.

Despite me sounding like an utter luddite, I admit to being very intrigued by the ways that our reading is changing. I don’t know that I’m asking for a Kindle for Christmas, but the ability to hold ten books in a vessel the size of one? It’s genius. Almost as genius as someone telling you a great story on a long, long road trip.

So, enlighten me, readers: how do YOU do your reading? Do you listen to Audiobooks, and if so, what is your preferred source? Why is Audible so great? (I’m all ears.) Do you have a Kindle or other kind of e-reader? What makes you choose the e-book over the real book?

Also check out:

The Christian Science Monitor on e-books versus print

Twenty Best Websites to Download Free Books!