Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pre-Loaded Audiobooks at Library

I'm a big fan of Audiobooks. I don't have as much time to read for fun as I would like, and Audiobooks allow me to multi-task. I especially enjoy these books while walking.

Usually I download books in an MP3 format to my MP3 player, or will play CDs in my car. I have nearly exhausted the CD collection at my local library and the downloadable books from the Mid-Ohio Library Digital Initiative. (BTW: Who thought that the acronym MOLDI was a good idea?)

Now my local library also carries Playaway books -- self-playing digital Audiobooks. According to the Playaway web site, these lightweight players can hold up to 80 hours of music or other digital files.

The player is a little larger than my MP3 player, but it is light and can easily fit in a pocket or be attached to a lanyard. They take a single AAA battery. Of the books I've checked out, only one needed to have the battery replaced before I could enjoy the book. There is a universal headphone jack and you will need to provide your own headphones.

The instructions are pretty easy to follow and I have had no difficulty figuring out how to use the devices. The collection is also growing, so there are several good titles to choose from.

Though I like the convenience of these players, I find the sound quality is not the best. Many narrators sound as if they have a pronounced lisp. Even using the graphic equalizer button, there is a limit to how good the quality can get. The files I download from MOLDI are of a much higher quality.

I found I sometimes cannot get the device loud enough to hear the book over heavy traffic noises, but that might be my headphones.

Some of the titles I've enjoyed include "You: On a Walk," by Mehmet Oz and Michael F. Roizen; Stephen King's "The Gingerbread Girl"; and a collection of King's short stories "Just After Sunset."

If you are interested in trying Audiobooks but you aren't sure if you should invest in an MP3 player or don't want to carry a CD-player around, this is a great option. But because of the sound quality, if any of these books are also available in MP3 or on CD, I'll definitely do that first.

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