For the podcast assignment I went to the New Yorker fiction site and chose to listen to Karen Russell read Carson McCullers' short story "The Jockey" which was published in the magazine in 1941. After the first couple of sentences I realized I had read this story before but kept listening anyways. The story is about a jockey confronting three men- a trainer, a bookie and a rich man- at their dinner table, and their dismissal of him.
I enjoyed listening to Karen Russell discuss the story and McCullers with the fiction editor Deborah Treisman before and after the reading (it was interesting to learn that McCullers divorced her husband after he forged his signature on the back of the cheque she received from the New Yorker for this story!) but I would prefer to read the story in book form. I found if there was a really good passage or description I wanted to read the actual words and go over it again in my mind and as I was doing that the story just keeps going. I guess you could pause and go back but then you lose the flow. So yes, I would prefer to read it. But having said that, I did see some other writers whose work I enjoy in the list of fiction podcasts and will probably go back one day and listen to a couple. Podcasts could be an interesting addition to the library website.
Anyhow, just to end with a San Francisco slant, if its a rainy afternoon and you want to spend awhile with a book (or your ipod and podcasts) and a coffee, try Coffee To The People on Masonic Avenue. They have a selection of books to read if you don't bring your own!