You may not know this, but eMusic.com is the second largest music downloading service. It’s got 10% of the market (to iTunes’ 71%) and "sells more than twice as many songs as competitors like Napster, Rhapsody, and Walmart.com" according to the New York Times.
Songs are, at most, 33 cents apiece and all are DRM-free. The catalog is made up of mostly independent labels but you’d be surprised at the amount of music the service has that’d make a good addition to your collection. Many moons ago, I used the service and was able to download every NOFX album with the greatest of ease. Now eMusic hopes to extend its model to include audiobooks as well.
In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to download audiobooks from the site for a fraction of what they’d cost on, say, iTunes. The New York Times article cited below says that, for instance, "’The Audacity of Hope,’ read by author Barack Obama, will cost $9.99 on eMusic compared with $18.95 on iTunes. The retail price for a five-CD version of the same book is $29.95."
Again, the catalog will be somewhat limited as some publishers haven’t quite warmed up to the idea of giving people unrestricted access to digital audio files but if you’re looking for something for a long car trip, you might want to see if eMusic’s got it first.
Aside from competing with iTunes, eMusic will also have to go up against Audible.com, a site with its own DRM scheme that currently offers a la carte audiobooks along with plans starting at $15 per month for one book or $22 per month for two. Audible’s files don’t work on every MP3 player, though, so if you’re looking for the most consumer-friendly option, eMusic might be right up your alley.
EMusic, a Song-Download Site, to Offer Audiobooks [New York Times]