I like audiobooks. They're great when I can't devote my full attention to reading (when I'm walking down the street) or when I can't be bothered to hold a book (when I'm working out) or when I don't want others to see what I'm reading and silently judge me (when I'm reading In Her Shoes). The problem is that even my super-fancy iPod can't handle my audiobook workflow. You see, I like to go to the library, borrow an audiobook, and download it onto my portable music-playing device in mp3 format. Then I like to speed up the tempo so I can listen to my book at normal reading speed.
This Centon mp3 player is awesome. I'm recommending the 2 gig version. (I have the 256 mb version, which doesn't quite hold a whole book. You'd think that would be a dealbreaker for me. You'd be underestimating how cheap I am.) The 2 gig Centon can probably hold a couple of books, and it runs on 1 AAA battery. It plugs right into a USB port and has drag-and-drop functionality, an FM tuner, and a voice recorder. I'm not sure whether other cheapo mp3 players have the functionality I need, but none say they do on the box. I'm telling you, go with the Centon.
Here are some FAQs:
Q: Are you worried that you're missing the experience of an audiobook by speeding it up?
A: Do you mean am I worried that I'll miss out on the subtle nuances voiced by the C-list actress reading a Jennifer Weiner novel aloud to me? No.
Q: Are you sure my iPod can't do this?
A: As far as I know, iPods can only speed up audio of certain formats of audiobook recordings. Good old ripped mp3s are doomed to be normal speed. Action item for Steve Jobs: make your product do what I want it to do.
Q: Amazon reviewers say this mp3 player is crappy.
A: First, that's not a question. Second, sometimes Amazon reviewers are crappy. My Centon has worked for over 3 years and is still going strong.
Q: Is this worth the money?
A: It's $20. Get over yourself.
Bonus points because you can speed up music for the gym. Have you ever heard The Postal Service sped up to 80s-punk pace? Amazing.