Best desktop audiobook player

I really enjoy reading, but unfortunately as you get older, you have less and less time for books.

And interesting books keep and keep coming out, so you end up with a pile of books you want to read but probably will never have a chance to read all them before you die. To at least start addressing this problem somehow, I decided to go try audiobooks. It’s a deception that listening an audiobook consumes less time than actually reading the text. If fact, it’s the other way around. For instance, Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s watered down biography I’m desperate to read now – has 851 pages. And the total running time of the unabridged full audiobook is almost 24 hours. I don’t know about you, but I can read 850 stand at pages in a significantly less time. But that requires me to sit down and read. On the other hand, an audio book allows you to utilize otherwise dead time for reading. Obviously you can’t read a book while driving, or changing stations in the subway, or wandering around shopping mall, or just walking around, let alone doing household chores like dish-washing and dusting. That brings us to the conclusion that even though an audiobook takes longer to digest than text, you may listen to audio books more frequently and making more of time spent on other activities. Also you can always increase playback speed to save time. As I proved in my other post about saving time while watching movies, increasing the speed on a half still leaves the dialogs comprehensive enough. This is also true about audiobooks, however speeding up playback requires more focus while listening. It also means that the Schwarzenegger bio will take one third less of your time – only 16 hours compared to the original 24. So lets try playing some audiobooks, especially today when audio versions are released on the same day with printed and e-books. And if there is an abundance of dedicated audiobook players for mobile platforms, I couldn’t find any for desktops. Lets try using the players I already have installed. I use Foobar2000 to play mp3 and other audio files. Alas, it doesn’t remember last position. That means, each time you open the audiobook, you will have to manually scroll the position slider to where you left off, which is very tedious given the overall running time measured in hours. There was a plugin adding bookmark functionality to Foobar, but it just hangs the recent build of the app. The next candidate is VLC Player, which I use to watch movies and other video files. It doesn’t remember last played position either. It has some bookmark mechanism, but in my case, they are all gone after restarting the app. There is also a lua-based plugin to make it remember positions, but you have to reactivate it on each restart and it doesn’t seem to work too well. Anyway, pressing dozens of buttons to get a simple task done is not the way I want to roll. Finally for audiobooks, I decided to use a separate app – SMPlayer. It can remember position, where you stopped playback last time. It also keeps history of recently opened files, so you just select your audiobook file and the playback starts automatically from where you stopped last time. Well, probably it would be great if it just started playback on application start, but well, that’s probably too much to be desired. You can also easily adjust playback speed, so if the announcer is so slow as if he wants to go number two really bad, you can always easily speed him up. So SMPlayer is the best desktop audiobook player I could find, and it is also completely free.

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