Do you hate as much as I do? I...

Wait, allow me to backpedal a bit.

I started getting into audio fiction in a big way a few months ago. I was listening to a lot of music in my car, but I'd been playing so many records at home that I needed a break.

It started with one of my all-time favorite books. I bought an MP3 CD of Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky for a road trip I was taking. I played it through twice and really loved it. Since then I have listened to quite a few books, including Lansdale's Vanilla Ride, Heinlein's The Menace from Earth, F. Paul Wilson's Cold City, Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts, Ed Gorman's Different Kinds of Dead, David Morrell's Nightscape, King's Night Shift and a few others.

You may not think you drive enough to make it through a whole novel in any kind of decent time, but short drives really add up. I'm around ten minutes from my job, and between that and the odds and ends driving I do, I get through a book pretty quickly.

I tend to listen to books I have already read. Like many readers, I like to revisit beloved books, but can rarely find time between the new stuff I am working on.

I have found audiobooks to be highly relaxing. I used to build up a lot of impatience when behind the wheel, and often for no great reason. Now when I am enjoying a book when driving, I take my time. I don't rush at the yellow light so much. It's a good antidote for road rage.

Of course I do not enjoy all the books I try to listen to. Some audio readers have rubbed me wrong. Then again, I've discovered wonderful talents like Phil Gaganti and Stefan Rudnicki.

The damned audiobooks can be expensive. Multi-disc sets can set you back a bundle. I tend to enjoy MP3 discs. Not as much changing of discs, and the cost is much lower. Still at around twenty bucks or more a pop, it gets expensive.

I was buying a lot of used audiobooks. I want to give royalties to authors, but my own bottom line often prevents that from happening.

Then there is They are an Amazon company, and they control a big chunk of the audiobook market. I don't like them for a variety of reasons.

One, Amazon is rapidly getting a stranglehold over the entire e-commence world. Many do not mind that at all. I don't think it's healthy for the system.

Two, Audible wants to snare you into a contract where you get a monthly charge. An extra bill is the last thing I want or need. Especially when I have a tight month, which happens a lot.

Finally, Audible is a huge, convoluted mess as far as I am concerned. You have to download the 'free' Audible Manager program. I never saw a way to choose what file I wanted. I downloaded one book. It was Paul Theroux's amazing The Lower River. I still have not been able to listen to it. I loaded it on to a flash drive, but my car did not recognize the files. I'm sure there are ways to do it, but I do not feel like jumping through a lot of hoops to listen to a book.

Audible seems to cater to those who listen with a device of some kind. A phone, an e-reader, a tablet. God knows what all. Me, I like things simple. The easier these contraptions are supposed to make our lives, the harder they seem to me.

Some will think I am an idiot. That's fine with me. People think I practically perform magic in the machine shop. I say that stuff is easy. It depends upon one's experience and they way his or her brain functions.

I found an alternative to It is cheap, simple and easy to use. And as far as I know the company is on the up-and-up, and creators of the intellectual property get paid.

The company is, of course, The Audio Bookshop.

The Audio Bookshop is a fairly new enterprise, and at least for now, their library is fairly small. However, they have some books by writers who are much admired by readers of this website. You'll find audiobooks by Brian Keene (The Rising!), Jonathan Janz, Jack Ketchum, Rio Youers, Tim Lebbon, H.P. Lovecraft, Ronald Malfi, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and others.

I downloaded Ketchum's Hide and Seek. This was the first book by him that I ever read, and it remains a favorite. Plus, the first person narrative of the novel lends itself nicely to the audio format. Best of all, the reader, Wayne June, does a great job with the story.

Oh, did I say that the best part is the reader? No, that is not accurate. The very best part of the deal is the price. A full-length, unabridged audiobook for the sum of $3.00. Yep, three bucks. It must have been a temporary sale, because most of the books are around ten dollars now. Which is still around 33% cheaper than Audible.

The download process was simple and the files were user friendly MP3s. I don't love MP3s for music, but they are more than adequate for audiobooks. It worked like a charm, I did not need to install some program, and I dragged and dropped the book onto a flash drive. No fuss, no muss.

And you don't have to sign up to be monthly gouged to shop at The Audio Bookshop.

I said that The Audio Bookshop has a small library at the moment. One thing can change that. Success. If they sell a lot of these ridiculously low-priced audiobooks, it is almost certain that more will become available.

The Audio Bookshop is owned by Audio Realms. Audio Realms has audiobooks by Garton, Lee, Laymon, Bryan Smith, Mary Sangiovanni, Nate Kenyan, and Thomas Tessier, to name a few, as well as many other titles by Keene, Ketchum, and more favorites. Hopefully more will migrate over to The Audio Bookstore.

Most of us wish we had more time to read, and now you can make use of your driving time with audiofiction, and for an unbeatable price. So far I am extremely pleased with Ketchum's Hide and Seek, and the next one I download/purchase will be Brian Keene's The Rising.

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