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Booksfree spells relief for audiobook addicts

CNET's Donald Bell gives the Booksfree mail-order audiobook rental service a test drive.

Booksfree logo.

I know Kindles and e-books are all the rage, but if I'm being honest with myself, I'll take an audiobook over virtual ink. In fact, I've come to rely on audiobooks (and podcasts, of course) to ease the drudgery of my daily commute. I can download or rip audiobooks to my iPod, hit play, and take in a crime novel or autobiography that I would otherwise not have time or attention span to read. But as any audiobook fanatic will tell you, the habit can get very expensive. A typical audiobook from iTunes or Audible will set you back between $15 and $25. Depending on how fast you churn through books, you could find yourself spending upwards of $100 a month on audiobooks you'll only hear once. is a service that solves the audiobook money pit the same way Netflix bailed out DVD addicts. Users pay a flat fee for a monthly subscription, and receive a rotation of audiobook CDs sent to them by mail. Booksfree isn't the first audiobook service to try the Netflix model, but it's one of the most affordable I've seen, with subscriptions as low as $13.49/mo.

After using the service for a month, I believe the service is great deal for audiobook fans who don't have the cash for iTunes, or the time and patience to use their local library. The site isn't flashy, but the book selection was fine for my interests, the delivery was swift, and the subscription plans are reasonable.

To see a walk through of my experience with Booksfree, check out the slide show.

Update: The minimum price for a Booksfree audiobook subscription is currently $13.49, not $10.99 as this article originally stated.