Apple’s new 4th generation Shuffle iPod works surprisingly well for audiobooks. This is Apple’s cheapest iPod and sells for $49. This small 30mm x 30mm device is just over one inch square. It is easy to load and the 2GB memory can easily hold 5 to 10 books depending on the book length. Audio quality is excellent.
The physical controls are back but the voice annunciation has been kept from the last generation and makes a big difference in finding your book. The face controls are start/stop, volume, forward/backward and fast-forward/fast-backward.
On the top are two buttons. A three position on-button with off, shuffle and sequential tracks settings. The other top voice button announces the current selection with one-click, all available books with click-hold and battery status with double-click.
Audiobooks must be loaded with iTunes which of course is free. Audible books load as usual for all Apple devices. Downloads from eMusic, Barnes & Noble and Borders load with one disc per track. You can of course load MP3-CDs or rip audiobook discs to MP3 and load thru iTunes.
The Shuffle is not as good as Apple’s Nano iPod for audiobooks, but you will save $100.