Saturday, April 22, 2006

A New "Book" on the Block

The NYTimes (April 20, 2006)

About the size of a pack of cigarettes, the next generation audio book is a single-story, unabridged version of play-on-the-go MP3 convenience that runs on a triple-A battery and keeps for library building and as many follow-up plays as you like.

The name of this nifty new product is "Playaway," and it can be purchased at bookstores, office supply stores, and direct from the company online. Smaller than an iPod, Playaway measures approximately 3 inches by 2 inches wide and is about a quarter inch thick. The device comes with batteries, ear buds, a lanyard (for optimum ease of portability) and frankly, they're just plain cute.

A small screen shows the elapsed time, and the device has buttons for fast-forwarding, rewinding, adding bookmarks and skipping chapters. There's even a Voice Speed button, which compresses the audio slightly, reducing the total playing time without sacrificing audio quality. The devices are available at bookshops, retail stores and online for $35 to $50.

Currently there are about forty titles to choose from. You can check out the listing here.

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