cybel: (Default)
[personal profile] cybel posting in [community profile] amplificathon
I've been giving DEEP THOUGHT lately to various podbook related questions that have never, as far as I know, been discussed anywhere. With amplificathon opening up more and more to meta/discussion topics, I've finally decided to try to assuage my curiosity by asking some questions here.

This would also be a good place for anyone to ask any podbook related questions they may have or to bring up any issues they've encountered regarding podbooks.

Please don't take this as a vanity post: it really isn't meant to be one. Consider it merely information gathering, information that will potentially be useful to me and the (thankfully!) many others who are now providing podbook versions of their own and others' podfics, as well as to the podfic/podbook consumer.

Here goes:

1) Which format do you prefer, assuming you have a choice, of course: podbook or mp3? Why?

2) Now that iTunes allows podfics to be moved into the Books folder and to be marked as bookmarkable, are podbooks still a viable format? Why?

3) Do you care if your podbooks have cover art or not? Do you prefer fandom/story specific covers, or are abstract or text only covers sufficient?

4) Do you like to see both author and performer credits on a cover? Is the legibility of the text on a cover important to you?

5) Do you bother to download a podbook if it isn't available until considerably after the mp3 is posted?

6) Any questions you'd like to add?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-30 08:54 pm (UTC)
glittertine: (Sherlock - S/J close - by captain_kay)
From: [personal profile] glittertine
In sum: love podbooks, will wait for them, not fussed about covers one way or another.

1) Which format do you prefer, assuming you have a choice, of course: podbook or mp3? Why?
I'm a little worried about forward-compatibility, but I do prefer podbooks.
- It saves me time because I don't need to manually shove it in the audiobooks folder, not a lot of time, but some.
- Sometimes podbooks take less space. Even in days of seemingly endless harddrive space, this matters (42G in 'books and counting).

2) Now that iTunes allows podfics to be moved into the Books folder and to be marked as bookmarkable, are podbooks still a viable format? Why?
Yes. Sometimes, the bookmarking thing screws up, and doesn't allow you to restart at the beginning of a 'fic, only at the point that's bookmarked as where one left off last time. Highly annoying.
See also the above mentioned space issue.

3) Do you care if your podbooks have cover art or not?
No.

4) Do you like to see both author and performer credits on a cover?
If there's a cover, yes. Sometimes 'fics are not coded to include both, then the cover can be helpful. But to be honest, out of the 822 podfics currently on my computer, I've maybe looked at the cover to find an author/reader name twice, so definitely not a priority.

Is the legibility of the text on a cover important to you?
Not if it's legible once you enlarge it in iTunes.

5) Do you bother to download a podbook if it isn't available until considerably after the mp3 is posted?
Usually yes. I'll wait a couple of days for a podbook version of something that catches my eye unless it is a favourite fic or a favourite reader, in which case I'll probably wait half a day before having to have it. I do usually have a limitless, extremely fast internet connection though, so I can easily download both. Whenever I'm away from my fiber, I'll wait for the podbook unless the fic description sounds terribly intriguing.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-30 09:37 pm (UTC)
lian: Klavier Gavin, golden boy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lian
Covers are a huge help because I *notice* them, even if I don't always find them pleasing aesthetically.

I've downloaded quite a lot of podbooks where I simply overlooked the initial mp3 announcement post because I'm a random, completely unsystematic downloader (I go either by what's being posted in this comm and sounds interesting, or by recs.)

Plus I like your kind of lower quality encoding because podbooks save lots of space, and that's a huge draw. If I like a reading, I will almost always download the podbook once/if one becomes available and delete the previous mp3 version off my hard disk.

Readers! I wish they were more promninently marked, and on the cover, too. Meta-data-wise I'm guilty of listing author first in my own readings as well >_>; but I HATE IT when other people do it! Haha. After all, when choosing to download podfic, I go by fandom and reader, and almost never by author. So, yeah. If there's a cover, I definitely want that reader on it!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-31 01:02 am (UTC)
sothcweden: birds flying high at sunset/dawn (Default)
From: [personal profile] sothcweden
I actually don't have any use for the podbook format at this point. I don't have an iPod or other compatible device, so mp3 files are the only way I can listed to podfic. I might be able to use VLC media player (I haven't tried), but I never listen to podfic sitting at my desk, which is the only play VLC player is available to me.

That said, I really appreciate those who do the conversions of the podfics I've made to podbook format (making them more accessible) since Audacity doesn't export to that format.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-31 04:16 am (UTC)
aphelant: (dw - la! i am river song!)
From: [personal profile] aphelant
1) I prefer podbooks, because I am way too lazy to sort mp3s by hand, I need them to go with the audiobooks automatically. This is so that when I'm at a party and someone wants to put my iPod on random, we aren't going to unexpectedly hear stories about dudes fucking. :) Actually, this just makes 'random' actually work properly, full stop!

2) Uh, I guess I answered this in part one, haha. But to re-iterate: I am too lazy to sort mp3s into the Books folder, I need what I download to just do it automatically.

3) I want my podbook to have cover art on it. It's pretty! And I prefer story-specific covers, but they don't necessarily have to be a screencap. I think my style of making covers is a pretty good representation of what I like (though I think I tend to use non-fannish but story-specific covers because I'm not very good with altering screencaps), but then again I have also really liked all of the covers that have been made for me (omg especially the one for Shell Shock IT NEVER STOPS BEING AWESOME haha, and also for 5 Lies because it makes me dizzy! Trust me, that's a good thing) and I don't think that any of them have used stock photos? Hm. IDK, I JUST LIKE COVERS OKAY. :D

4) It never occurred to me to put the performer's name on a podbook cover until I saw it done fairly recently. And now I can't believe I have gone this long without thinking about it, wth. So yes, both author and performer credits on the cover, and I like the text to be legible on my iPod screen. (If I'm worried that my text might be too small, I will actually mock it onto my iPod. Why yes, I *am* anal retentive. :P)

5) I don't download a whole lot of podfic, but when I do I *only* download podbooks. If it's mp3 only I'll either pass it over for later or, if I really really want it, I might convert it myself. Or hahaha maybe I would poke you to see if it is in the works. :D So I guess I'm saying that yes, I will download a podbook even if it isn't available until much later because, um, that's all that I download, so I probably wouldn't have really considered the mp3 in the first place.

6) At what kbps do you convert your podbooks? I didn't know which setting to choose in iTunes when I made my first (public) podbook the other day and just kind of, you know, picked one that looked okay ::flail::, so any help would be greatly appreciated! <3

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-01 01:59 am (UTC)
aphelant: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aphelant
The Shell Shock cover still makes me giggle when I see it. It will never ever stop being awesome! :D

Don't feel bad about not being able to produce more! You already make so many! And I don't download very much at all, really, only a couple of times a year because I can't listen to them at work (it's too distracting), so I'm not a very good case study, haha. And you're right, posting them is the only way for people to see the covers, so it's good that you do!

Haha, I know you're good about poking, and I definitely take advantage of it for things. LIKE THIS EVENING. :P There are a couple of old podfics that I have which only exist in mp3 format afaik, maybe I will email you about them for possible 'booking some time. :)

Thanks for the compiling advice! I am off to make some audiobooks now!! <3

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-31 10:11 am (UTC)
pennyplainknits: jared's legs (all the way up)
From: [personal profile] pennyplainknits
I don't use podbooks myself, but I know a lot of people do and I really appreciate people like you and Tess taking time to compile them!

I love covers! Sometimes I'll embed the cover in the mp3 file as well, as I like seeing it come up on the screen of my mp3 player. I would want the performer's name, definitely-after all, it is their work!
Edited Date: 2010-08-31 10:17 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-01 02:01 am (UTC)
aphelant: (dw - cool shades)
From: [personal profile] aphelant
Sometimes I'll embed the cover in the mp3 file as well, as I like seeing it come up on the screen of my mp3 player.

This is also a good reason to post your podbooks! Even if someone can't use the m4b format, they might still be able to put the cover art on the mp3! YAY COVER ART!! *\o/*

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-01 12:15 am (UTC)
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
I love the M4A and B formats for their compressed size and their handy one-piece handling. But I don't use iTunes or iPod or iAnything, and plain MP3 seems to work more consistently with the player (CorePlayer), device (my smartphone) and operating system (Windows Mobile) that I'm currently tethered to.

I suspect that when I migrate to Android, the audiobook format will cease to cause me problems.

I value cover art (when I can see it) as a visual aid, since my age (getting on) and listening circumstances (often while riding a bike) prevent my reading the fine print. I'd like to see both reader and author--it helps me get to know both.

Because MP3 works fine for me and there's no intermixing with a music collection, I'll usually preference it over podbook, but when I upgrade, I imagine I'll have a strong preference for podbook.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-04 01:10 am (UTC)
mific: (ear trumpet)
From: [personal profile] mific
1) Which format do you prefer, assuming you have a choice, of course: podbook or mp3? Why?
podbook - I like to have them easily sorted into "books", not in with my music.
2) Now that iTunes allows podfics to be moved into the Books folder and to be marked as bookmarkable, are podbooks still a viable format? Why?
Yes, as above. Hassle to have to do the soerting myself.
3) Do you care if your podbooks have cover art or not? Do you prefer fandom/story specific covers, or are abstract or text only covers sufficient?
Yes, really like cover art. Anything is good but needs either words to make the content clear or a pic that makes the fandom clear. And they look good.
4) Do you like to see both author and performer credits on a cover? Is the legibility of the text on a cover important to you?
Yes but not essential, as I alwayd edit the fields in iTunes and can see those as well
5) Do you bother to download a podbook if it isn't available until considerably after the mp3 is posted
No, although I have been known to steal the cover art later on! I convert mp3s to podbooks whe the mp3 is posted, almost always, and do my own cover art. Impatient, much?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-04 06:18 am (UTC)
fish_echo: text 'reading is sexy' above a picture of Dean (SPN) reading a book whilst lying on a bed (Fandom-SPN-Dean 'reading is sexy')
From: [personal profile] fish_echo
Better late than never?

1) Which format do you prefer, assuming you have a choice, of course: podbook or mp3? Why?
Flippant answer: Both! Neither! :P

Real answer: my portable player doesn't play m4b files, so I prefer mp3s for that (it also plays ogg and flaac and various other non-common podfic formats). However, my computer will play m4bs just fine. And my computer is old and cranky and has a small hard drive compared to all the things I wish to shove onto it, so sometimes (especially for the epically long podfics) I try to download the m4bs just out of a space issue. Of course, then I can't listen to it on my player, so it is less useful to me. (And one of these days I'll be getting a newer and less cranky and way more spacious laptop, at which point I'll probably stop downloading the m4bs at all.)


2) Now that iTunes allows podfics to be moved into the Books folder and to be marked as bookmarkable, are podbooks still a viable format? Why?

I don't run iTunes so this is irrelevant to me.


3) Do you care if your podbooks have cover art or not? Do you prefer fandom/story specific covers, or are abstract or text only covers sufficient?

I like the covers! I even like it when images are embedded in the mp3s! (Actually, my portable player will show cover art, but the player on my computer doesn't, so I only ever get to see the cover art if it's on an mp3 or on the original post advertising the recording.) I'm a strongly visual person, so I like that covers exist and I have every plan to some day poke around until I get a program on my computer that will display the covers. I prefer covers that tie into the podfic in some fashion (I still really like what you did with the Sheppard's Law cover), but text-only would be preferable to no cover. (And I think I'd prefer text-only to an image cover which had nothing to do with the podfic.)


4) Do you like to see both author and performer credits on a cover? Is the legibility of the text on a cover important to you?

Yes, definitely (to all parts).


5) Do you bother to download a podbook if it isn't available until considerably after the mp3 is posted?

Sure. There's loads of times that I don't download something until after it's posted (for various and boring reasons). But if I have already downloaded the mp3, I'm unlikely to download the m4b (just because that's not really space-efficient, now is it?)


6) Any questions you'd like to add?

I am impressed by the number of covers which you make over such a wide range of fandoms/images. Do you have some sort of encylopedic memory for images and image sources or do you have some incredible database?
Edited (deleted a stray parens) Date: 2010-09-04 06:19 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-04 04:51 pm (UTC)
fish_echo: A picture of Hardison (from Leverage) with text: Age of the Geek, Baby (Fandom-Leverage-Hardison age of the geek)
From: [personal profile] fish_echo
Yup, but it doesn't run on Linux!

Ah, drat! I had been hoping that there was some secret handshake society of the obsessively organised graphics collective I could worm my way into! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-04 05:12 pm (UTC)
fish_echo: Parker from Leverage with text 'i love parker' (Fandom-Leverage-Heart Parker)
From: [personal profile] fish_echo
:-)

(Is this step one of the secret society handshake!)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-04 07:56 pm (UTC)
fish_echo: Inara crying (Fandom-Firefly-Inara crying)
From: [personal profile] fish_echo
*sobs*

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