Renting audiobooks is a cost-effective way of getting your hands on some very good stuff. How does it work? With the companies listed here, you select a book or two that is sent to you in a self-addressed stamped box. Usually you keep the book for 30 days, after which you put the book back in the box, tape it closed, then drop it in a mailbox.
Blackstone Audio has been building a fantastic science fiction and fantasy collection. Their narrators are generally good. Some of their latest include Spider Robinson’s Callahan books and Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy. They also carry titles by Catherine Asaro, Charles Sheffield, Robert Silverberg, and Lois McMaster Bujold. They also produce MP3-CD versions of much of their catalog, which makes purchasing the titles outright very attractive.
Recorded Books, Inc.
Recorded Books has the biggest collection of high quality science fiction and fantasy titles out there. Their narrators are just excellent, and include Frank Muller, George Guidall, Rob Inglis, and Richard Ferrone, among many others. To name a few titles: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, several Robert A. Heinlein titles, Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series, and Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis are also here. Their rental plan now includes a Netflix-style option – for $30/month you can have as many titles as you can hear.
Simply Audiobooks has taken the Netflix model and applied it to audiobooks. Unlike the two options above, who with just a few exceptions rent only their own titles, Simply Audiobooks has a very nice Science Fiction and Fantasy selection from publishers across the spectrum. They currently charge $19.95 per month for unlimited rentals, and they invite you to try it out FREE.
And last, don’t forget to check out your local library. Many libraries are building fine audiobook collections in response to patron requests.
NOTE: Books on Tape no longer rents audiobooks.