It’s all fairly easy, once you get the process down.
1. Audiobook CDs generally are in an audio format. To play the audiobook files on a digital audio player (DAP), you need to “rip” them into a computer format the DAP recognizes, such as the MP3 format. There are many free computer software “rippers” out there; I use one called CDex (Internet freeware), but it takes a bit longer to learn initially (read the included Help files). Windows Media Player and iTunes also will rip CDs. In the end, the rippers convert the audio CD files into computer files that you can play on your DAP. It is a very automatic process, omce you get going.
Whatever you use, take time, initially, to learn its settings and how it works. Really! You will have many options, including the “rip rate”–how much compression is made in the resulting files. The more the compression, the less the space the files take, but the lower the audio quality. Having said that, this is less important with spoken word files than with music.
When you rip the files, your ripper likely will have the option to fill in “ID3 tags” for the files, using free Internet databases. Tags are information that identify the files, under categories such as artist, title, album, genre and year. Many modern players, including the Clip, use the tags (which are embedded into the computer files) for navigation, display and organization purposes. You also can edit this information and fill the information in manually–Windows lets you do this by right-clicking on the files and going under Properties, or you can use a free tag editor such as MP3Tag (easier for more than quick editing). As a general matter, make sure this process is done–the Clip generally needs the tag information.
(Having said that, the Clip+, instead of using the tags, also can navigate and display file information by folder view, like on your computer; helpful if you don’t put in the tag information. Also, and not to complicate matters, for files put into the Clip’s Audiobooks and Podcasts folders, the Clip will use the file and folder names for organization and display purposes even under ID3 view, if the ID3 tags are not filled in–a benefit for using those folders.)
Once you have ripped the CDs and filled in the tags, you simply transfer a copy of the files to your Clip (always best to keep a copy elsewhere, as a backup). I find it best to use the Clip’s Music, Audiobooks and Podcasts folders, to transfer the files to, keeping the files in a folder with the book’s or album’s title–this helps for organization and offers further Clip bookmarking benefits for podcasts and audiobooks.
2. Audiobooks are available all over. Internet websites; Internet stores (including Amazon.com); Internet subscription services; bookstores; libraries; etc. If the audiobooks are not yet in MP3 or other Clip-compatible form (such as with audiobook CDs), you follow the above. Otherwise, you simply download to your computer following the website instructions, and then copy them over to your Clip. (You can download them directly to your Clip connected to your computer, but, again, it is safest to have a second copy around, in case something happens to the copy on the Clip.) If you have a Clip+, you can transfer the files to the player’s internal memory or to a memory card inserted into the Clip+'s microSD card slot; you also can take the card out of the player, put it into your computer, transfer the files to the card, and then put the card back into the player.
Audible is an audiobook subscription service: pay a monthly fee and get a certain number of audiobooks per month. Similar: emusic.com.
There are also audiobooks websites around, where you can get free audiobooks. E.g., podiobooks.com. Likewise, a multitude of free podcasts (the equivalent of radio programs)–see podcastalley.com for a huge selection.
It takes a certain amount of time to get your system down–be patient. But it then becomes fairly automatic. Enjoy!