MP3 vs WMA Files for Audiobooks

 

What is the difference between MP3 and WMA files? Is one preferable over the other? Here are some guidelines:


1. WMA is the older audio format, produced by Microsoft, to work with Microsoft's Windows media player. The WMA compression format creates relatively small audio files and require less processing power to execute. WMA includes security measures (DRM, or "digital rights management") that allow the publisher to restrict what you do with the file and has, until recently, been preferred by publishers.  For smaller files and faster downloading use WMA files. You must have a PC to use these but most can now be played on iPods.


2. MP3 is a format that provides CD quality sound but is usually larger in size than the WMA file. Publishers are less likely to approve this format because there is no security available for these files. There are fewer MP3 files available in the collection.  For possibly better sound quality, or if you are downloading to a MAC, use MP3 files.

 

This table shows which formats are compatible with which devices:

Device Compatible File Formats
Mac computer, Mac-formatted iPod MP3
Windows computer, Windows-formatted iPod, most MP3 players

MP3, WMA iPod-compatible-WMAs

Nook, Sony ereader MP3
iPad MP3