Unlike a book with a spine and pages, you can't hold the audiobook that you own. But you do have to pay for it.
A number of sources and services allow listeners the a la carte option of buying audiobooks one by one, but the most popular retailer by far is Audible, owned by Amazon. The service offers a large selection of titles — 350,000 and growing.
Audible encourages loyal listeners to buy a membership for a monthly fee of $12 to $24. Audible members get a book or two a month, but also earn credits, bonuses and discounts that reduce the price per title that they pay.
Drew Nielsen figures he's listened to more than 100 audiobooks through his membership. The 30-year-old web designer from Maple Grove almost always has a book in his ear. He's hooked on Audible's Whispersync for Voice, which discounts the price of an audiobook when purchased with an e-book of the same title.
"It lets me read books in any Kindle device and then flip over to the audible version and be in exactly the same place," he said. "I can get through the book faster between reading and listening."
Other options for listeners:
• Allyoucanbooks lets listeners stream an unlimited number of its 30,000 audiobook titles for a $19.99 monthly rental fee.
• DownPour rents audiobooks starting at $6.95, with shorter books available for 30 days and longer ones given a 60-day rental.
• Scribd provides access to curated its list of e- and audiobooks for $8.95 per month.
• LibriVox offers free audiobooks of texts and titles that are in the public domain. All are recorded by volunteers.