Just over three years ago, I wrote a library detective column reflecting on my love of audiobooks. In the intervening years my love has not waned, but grown exponentially. I noted then that audiobooks make chores more tolerable, car trips speed by, exercise more entertaining, can soothe the insomniac, and provide additional amusement while engaging in arts and crafts. All this remains true and audiobooks are more portable than ever.
It is this portability that led me to revisit this area of our collection. After coming back from vacation, a coworker commented on how much she had enjoyed using a Playaway while doing house and yard work. Not only did it keep her amused, but it also meant her family let her work in peace! I offer then for your pleasure, our Playaways and Overdrive downloadable audiobooks.
Playaways are a new format of audiobooks. There are no more discs that can be scratched and you don’t have to get the next disc, as the previous one finishes. You don’t even need an MP3 player to access these fabulous books, it’s all in the package. In essence, the Playaway resembles an MP3 player, each one is preloaded with a book and all you need is a AAA battery and headphones (available for a small fee at the Circulation Desk). I have tucked one in my pocket and happily listened while cleaning the house, weeding the garden, and knitting through my lunch hour. The great thing about these devices is it really is as simple as putting in the battery, turning them on, and pressing play. You can pause the story and turn off the device when you’re not using it without losing your place.
Overdrive requires a little more out of the user, but has many titles available from the comfort of your home. All that is required is your library card number and PIN. If a title you desire is not available you can put a hold on it and be notified when it becomes available. Checkout periods of one or two weeks are available, after which time the Digital Rights Management software removes the book from your computer. In order to borrow audiobooks from Overdrive the Overdrive Media Console software must be downloaded on to your computer. This software will allow you to access the books and place them on to your device. You can listen to books through your computer or download them to an MP3 player. More information about downloading from Overdrive can be found on our website under the Virtual Collection.
Both Playaway and Overdrive provide not only adult fiction, but also books for children, young adults, and non-fiction. To get you started on these fabulous audiobook options I’ve prepared a short list of some of the many titles available.
Selected Playaway Titles:
Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Blue-eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker
Deliver us from Evil by David Baldacci
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
Meditations to Relieve Stress by Belleruth Naparstek
On Board the Titanic by Shelley Tanaka
Thumbelina and other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
Selected Overdrive Titles:
Fortress of Solitude by Jonathon Lethem
Sharpe’s Regiment: Richard Sharpe and the Invasion of France, June to November 1813 by Bernard Cornwell
Fangland by John Marks
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Whale Island by Cathy Lamb
Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry by Neil Gaiman
Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
Poe’s Heart and the Mountain Climber by Richard Restak