Yesterday was the System Assembly Meeting and one of the library directors mentioned she has purchased four Playaway Audio Books for her library.
Playaway books are audio books that come with everything necessary to listen to the audio book, there are no downloads or MP3 players necessary. The Playaway comes with the necessary player, headset and batteries.
My first thought was why spend funds on Playaways when it is already difficult to find enough funds to keep a library's audio CD book collection updated? Also, as many of our patrons become sophisticated using technology, is this really necessary?
Then, a thought popped into my mind. Playaways are another equalizer between the haves and have nots. While MP3 players, ipods, PDAs, cell phones that will access online books, etc., are great for the listening "reader", many do not own these gadgets. I myself find it difficult to keep up with all of this gee whiz gizmos on my budget.
While formats to access books will remain a changing business, libraries need to be creative in seeking current formats on the ever shrinking acquisition's budgets. Playaways might be one of those creative solutions. I guess time will tell as more and more libraries make these available.
For more information concerning Playaways, go to http://www.playawaydigital.com/index_flash.aspx