Rediscovering Podiobooks

I went on a four day trip to a province where there was no wifi, and I did my best to go prepared. Nope, I didn’t ride my motorbike this time. My friends and I rode a bus and then a jeepney for around 14 hours, one way. Hence, I made sure to find a way to arm myself against possible boredom in the vehicles. I did this by downloading audio books from Podiobooks: Free Audio Books in Serialized Form which I was able to play in my android phone (using MortPlayer.)

To be honest, the Podiobooks website was something I forgot about for some time even if I had an account there once. I had to search for it again just a few days ago when I realized that I needed some audio books. (Yes, I knew about Librivox, but I was in the mood for more contemporary books rather than the classics found in their website, which focuses on books found in the public domain.) When my browser brought me to the Podiobooks website, I could hardly recognize it. I even doubted whether that was the website I was looking for. So, I explored around until I found some books that were familiar to me which somehow indicated that I had been to the site before.

In an attempt to verify whether it was really the website I had an account on, I clicked on “Account” and landed on their blog which had a post that said, “What happened to my login?”  The post explained the reason for the new interface and why people (including myself) didn’t need their accounts anymore:

A longer versions is this: We were hacked. Hard. That’s why we were down for 2.5 days. But in reality, we’d been fighting this hack for the better part of a year. No, I’m not kidding.

However, it wasn’t that they were hacked that caught my attention; it’s the way they tried to bounce back:

So please, before you send Evo hate mail, give the new site a shot. It’s designed to be simpler than it was before. Also remember that we’re not finished, and updates are happening multiple times a day.

In my opinion, after I’ve explored the site a bit more, Podiobooks has indeed bounced back and has improved much compared to the last time I saw it. Yes, it’s different, but their new UI is now more intuitive and aesthetic. On top this, I admire the attitude of the people behind the site.

I’m really glad I rediscovered Podiobooks. I finished listening to Christiana Ellis‘ Space Casey, which was very witty and am now in episode 7 of Philippa Ballantine‘s Chasing the Bard. Both have really great sound effects. The voices are also all in character so there’s hardly a dull moment.

photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

I just hope Podiobooks will release more and even better books. Right now, I feel that there could be more choices. Also, the “like” or “thumbs up” I found for their books have only gone up to around 700+ so far (Shadowmagic by John Lenahan). The rest seem to range from 0 to 500. Because of this, it’s still not very easy to tell which books are really good. Many are also still very new. At least all the chapters of the books can be previewed (by listening) online.

Nevertheless, Podiobooks is now on my list of favorite websites (okay, I don’t have a written list yet but it’s in my head). Even if I’m still listening to Chasing the Bard, I already look forward to downloading other books.