Have you seen Playaways? I think they are SO so nifty. It’s basically like a little MP3 player that comes all loaded with an audiobook.

They are pretty pricey (between $30 and $80 each, generally, depending on copyright and length and probably other factors I know nothing about), so they are not really meant for the casual consumer (unless you are very rich and also very happy to throw money around), but they’ve started to get very popular as an addition to library collections.

The Austin Public Library has just started offering them and I am ridiculously thrilled.

You have to supply your own AAA battery and headphones (which, I am completely for because I certainly have no interest in sharing earbuds with some sweaty gross teenager or sweaty gross old man (I am nothing, if not an equal opportunity ear sweat hater)).

You may know that I listen to a LOT of audiobooks, what with the driving to and from school and work and the elementary school library, not to mention the grocery store and Old Navy’s clearance racks. I also have a desk job, cook a lot, vacuum, fold laundry, and walk around campus, all of which allow me plenty of time to listen to various things.

Currently, I check out audiobooks from my library, which has a terrific collection, load them on to my computer, and then upload them to my iPod (and yes, I do delete them when I’m done (I get asked this all the time) because my poor tired old iBook G4 has no where near the space to hold the scores of audiobooks I’ve churned through in the past three years)).

Anyway, do you not think these are the coolest things ever? You must, I think, because they are so nifty. I hope, for you, that your library has them.

(P.S. I just went and looked more at the website and it turns out they do market to consumers too. I am kind of in shock that someone would pay $79 for a copy of The Hunger Games. I love that book as much as the next person, but really? SEVENTY NINE DOLLARS?! Do not even ask how much Jane Eyre costs ($84)).

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  1. I actually don’t think it’s that outrageous of a cost simply considering that books on tape or books on CD are around $30-40. However, I wouldn’t buy those either! I’m with you on using the libraries sources! Don’t you love how listening makes simple chores fun! I find myself saying, “hmm, what else can I do” because I want to listen a little bit more!

  2. Wow, what will they think of next? These are pretty cool 🙂

    Favorite line of the post:
    “(I am nothing, if not an equal opportunity ear sweat hater)).”

  3. I LOVE this idea. Love it. It’s way too expensive but hopefully someday it’ll be more affordable. I can think of so many possibilities for technology like this.

  4. I bought Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Sea of Trolls for my classroom which pretty much wiped out any discretionary money I may have had. They’re not wildly popular, but I think I bought books a little stretchy for my kids.

  5. Oh – this is a wonderful idea. I doubt our library will get them anytime soon. And with those costs, I doubt I will, either. *sniff* Someday!

  6. wow, that’s awesome. I certainly wouldn’t pay $80 for even most the beautiful book (unless it were, you know, the scriptures), but I hope our library in CA has these!

    I hate hate hate hate hate ear sweat.

  7. Oh my goodness, they are SO CUTE. That is the only reason i would buy one, and yet it is a big temptation. I am crossing my fingers for one of the libraries in the area to start carrying them! I don’t listen to audiobooks very often, but I TOTALLY WILL if I can get those. 🙂

  8. wow…I have never heard of these before. Cool! I started reading hunger games but couldn’t finish it—not because it wasn’t good, I just was too busy. stinks. I’ll try again someday when I’m not a work-a-holic.

  9. Coming from a family of librarians, i can tell you that these are NOT anything you want your library buying. They cost a LOT, wasting valuable library dollars, and often don’t work properly. The only reason they exist, is because it guarantees copyright protection. But the cost of it is passed along to the non-copyright-infringing public.

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