Those of you who liked the idea of cyclic RSS feeds might be interested in Podiobooks, which offers free episode-based podcast feeds of audio books. Currently over 75 free titles are available at the site ( http://www.podiobooks.com/index.php ).
There are 80 titles here, which are spread out over 1700 episodes. Everything’s free, though the authors will happily accept donations. Though there are some public domain titles here, there are also many original works. Note that while some of these books are finished, some of them are still in progress, with new chapters, or episodes, are released periodically.
A drop-down menu allows you to browse by genre, from business to historical fiction to science fiction and young adult. I took a look at a fantasy called In the Service of Samurai. An audiobook’s page has information about the book, a link to buy from Amazon, a place you can donate, and of course information about the book as was as a list of available episodes (this book is one of the ones in progress, with 31 chapters available.) Reviews of various aspects of the book (audio quality, narration quality, writing quality, etc.) are also available.
There’s a button you can click to hear the first chapter. The ones I listened to were not sparkling perfect as far as audio quality is concerned, but they weren’t bad, certainly listenable. (And besides, they ARE free.)
If you want to listen to the entire book, or as much as is available, you’ll have to register (which is free.) Once you’ve registered you can set up a schedule to receive podcasts of chapters from the beginning of a book, whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly.
There’s an interesting mix of original content here, though I’d be reluctant to get all into a book that wasn’t finished yet — I can imagine waiting breathlessly for the next chapter only to find out it wouldn’t be available for several weeks. At first blush 80 doesn’t seem like many, but seriously, how long would it take you to read 80 books? If you’re interested in getting more information about Podiobooks, the site has both a FAQ and submission guidelines.