[guispeak] Playaway books--from the Chicago Sun Times

  • From: Ann Byrne <annakb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 08:26:43 -0600

        Lifestyles

Playaway books are light, portable

January 17, 2006

BY MIRIAM DI NUNZIO Staff Reporter

Techno-savvy is not a term anyone would probably use to describe me. Sure, I can navigate the Internet. I can download music. Of course I'm still figuring
out what all I can do with a computer that features 2 gazillion GBs of RAM and a 350 bazillion GB hard drive.


I don't own an iPod as I will probably never have the desire to figure out which 10,000 songs I must carry around with me everywhere I go. I do not want
5,000 photographs at my fingertips. I don't want to watch a movie or HDTV on a 1-inch screen.


But I love books -- those "dinosaurs" of the technological age. Recently, while browsing my local Office Max, I came upon tiny, self-contained, self-playing
digital audio books.


Sold under the brand name Playaway, these are not books on CD -- but unabridged, digitalized books that come in their very own player. Smaller than an iPod,
and measuring approximately 3 inches high by 2 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick, the Playaway comes with batteries, ear buds, a lanyard (for
optimum ease of portability) and frankly, they're just plain cute. Each "book" only weighs a few ounces.


No more downloading files, no cassettes, no CDs, no tape players, no CD players, no computers -- just an entire book (featuring the book's original cover
art) at your fingertips. You can fast-forward, rewind, skip to a chapter, bookmark a passage, adjust the volume and speed of the reader's voice, and best
of all -- it automatically remembers where you left off.


Playaway, from Findaway World in Ohio, is the only company offering this technology. Only 33 titles are currently available (www.playawaydigital.com) with
eight more due out in the next two weeks. The price -- from $35 to $55 -- is not cheap, but it is only a few dollars away from the non-discounted price
of a standard audio book. Yes, you can download books from Audible.com or iTunes to your iPod or computer, but the Playaway eliminates the download step
entirely. It fits into your pocket or purse, and is perfect for plane rides, train rides, commutes on the L, doctors' waiting rooms. And should you somehow
misplace a Playaway book, it's a lot cheaper than "misplacing" an iPod, now isn't it?


Playaways are also available at Barnes & Noble and Borders.

mdinunzio@xxxxxxxxxxxx


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