Need help

I am technology stupid. I purchased the Sansa clip and would like to know where to get books and music. When I look on the net I get confused. Any input would be appreciated.

All over the place, and at different pricepoints–even free!

–  If you own a CD, you can use software to “rip” it (that is, convert it) to an electronic computer form that can be played on the Clip:  MP3, WMA, or ogg vorbis file formats, among others.  (MP3 has become something of the universal default form.)  Software “rippers” are available for free on the web; I use CDex, which is good but has a small learning curve (read the Help files).  Windows Media Player from Microsoft (and that comes with Windows, or can be obtained on the web for free) also will rip CDs; and you can buy rippers as well.  And this way, the music is free (as you already own it and simply are converting it).

–  Your local library may have music or books available for download (for free).

–  You can purchase music and audiobooks already in computer file form, from lots of sources:  Amazon, Apple (iTunes), Buy.com, etc.  You also can join Internet clubs in which you get a certain number of downloads for a monthly fee, e.g. eMusic.com and Audible.com (the latter for audiobooks) (eMusic has nice “free” intro. packages (do an Internet search), in which you get free music upfront and can quit the service before having to pay, if it doesn’t meet your needs).

–  You can sign up for a music subscription with Rhapsody, in which you pay a monthly fee and then can select ANY music Rhapsody has, in any amount; however, if you drop your subscription, you can’t play the music anymore.

–  And a lot of music and spoken language files are available for free on the web (legally, too).  For example, many performers will have free music at their websites, to interest you in buying other music.  Keep an eye open for Internet “best of” lists, which often will list music and book sources.  Amazon.com also gives away free music weekly.

I’m sure that others will list their favorites here (me, I tend to buy CDs and then rip them).  I hope this is a good start!

Oops, almost forgot:  you also can download, generally for free, “podcasts”–basically, the computer equivalent of radio shows (and some are exactly that; others are homespun shows).  Many come out periodically, such as daily or weekly, and they can be of varying lengths (hourlong podcasts are common).  The selection and variety is huge–you could spend your life on them.  A source to check out for listings:  podcastalley.com.  And your favorite website may offer podcasts as well–for example, the U.S.’ National Public Radio online offers podcast versions of many of its shows, so that you can listen when you want to.  A great thing with podcasts is that you can “subscribe” to them, so that your computer automatically goes out periodically via the Internet with a simple program called a “podcast aggregator” and retrieves podcasts when they become available, daily, weekly, etc.  And then when you return to your computer, the podcasts are sitting on your computer waiting for you, to transfer to your Clip and listen to.  Just great for the car and commutes, and trips.  I use a simple program called Juice (free) to retrieve my podcasts (http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/); iTunes will do it as well.

By the way, you are NOT stupid. This is a huge new world and if you are not used to it, it takes time. Just take it little by little.

(And an eMusic.com source:  http://www.emusic.com/rca.  Gets you 50 free songs (that’s more than 2 CDs) and 1 free audiobook, with a 2-week or month-long trial of the service; if you quit the service before the time is up (easy to do), you pay nothing and keep your free downloads.  Note that you need a credit card for this; if you don’t quit the service, you get charged monthly.)