I have a 60 mile round trip commute every day, so I listen to a great number of audio books in the car. I love them, and they help me use my time to stay frosty with the books that are out there. But lately I’ve been incredibly frustrated because almost every one I check out from the library skips. At first I thought it was just Listening Library books, but now I’ve had problems with Recorded Books, too. I check the books out from work, and they skip like crazy. And not just those at my branch. Any branch.

Now, I understand that skipping is not uncommon for heavily used CDs from the library, but Adam has checked some of them for scratches and says they’re fine. They just seem to be poorly manufactured. This is infuriating, and I will say I notice it more with books for children and teens. Do they not deserve quality audio CDs, too? One book I tried to listen to skipped the entire last twenty minutes, so I had to track the book down at Barnes & Noble on a Sunday to find out the ending.

So I tried ListenNJ for audiobooks. Awesome service in theory, and much appreciated by a library user like myself. But I do have some issues. The selection is less than fantastic for newer books, and the audio files are divided up into tracks the length of each original audio book CD. That’s an hour+ for each track. This makes pausing on the $10 MP3 I bought (hooray for W00t!) because the files are DRM (grrr) incredibly difficult, as it doesn’t like to remember where I left off and hates fast forwarding. I wish everything would just work on every player, then I wouldn’t have to deal with cheap flawed technology to supplement my actual preferred technology. Can’t we all get along, Apple and Microsoft? And don’t get the Reeve household started on appropriate applications of copyright law here.

So last week I signed up for Audible. Now I have to pay again to get my audio books, but at least they will go straight on my real player. So far this is a happy situation, even if I only get 2 titles a month. I’m hoping to offset those 2 with older titles from ListenNJ and an upgraded MP3 player. I know, half of you are backing away in fear over how much effort I’m putting in to getting at these audio books. The other half is waiting to comment on the last paragraph.

I know why this is all happening. It’s karma. My brother has long been an advocate of the audio book, as he has a long commute and also lives at the gym. I used to tease him about not really “reading” the books. This is my repayment now that I’ve discovered how brilliant he is.

If anyone knows of a support group for me, I would really appreciate it. Twelve steps to overcoming an audio book addiction in an over-gadgeted, anti-DRM world? Anyone?