Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reading and Technology: PlayAway Audio Books

So our first trip out to our library of the new year we see a bunch of new arrivals that came via a grant. At first I thought it was a bunch of new audio books which was exciting enough but soon I realized just how cool the gadget world can be when it comes to making books more available to people.

They're called Playaways. Basically you've got a little gizmo smaller but thicker than a regular I-Pod. You put in a battery and plug it into headphones or speakers or a car-jack and use the controls on the back to start listening and the entire book comes along with you.

Considering that I've been reading Lece Eldest by Christopher Paolini I was excited to try this easy version that she could listen to on her own. Actually the only problem was trying to get her to unplug!

The gadget was great! The only thing I would change for sure about the player would be to have some kind of clip so you could secure it on a pocket or belt or something as you go. Other than that I'm not sure yet how fast it would go through batteries but if the library invests in a batch of rechargeable batteries it probably shouldn't be a major issue. I think that the Playaway audio books will be a nice addition to libraries and schools although probably not the most practical for individuals and homes as it looks like they run about $40-$100 per book.

That said, although the company is based in Ohio it says that the players are actually made in China. For a variety of reasons I personally hope that the company will decide to produce them in the United States instead and plan on writing to them about it. 

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