23 April 2006

Have you seen this?

A couple of days ago, Daily Gadget mentioned a new product called Playaway. It is a small mp3 player that comes loaded with a single audio book. You can't erase the book or upload the book to your computer; it is a dedicated mp3 player. The device is about the size of an audiocassette and has the image of the book printed on its sliding cover. It also comes with a lanyard, so you look like you have a miniaturized edition of, say, Stephen King's Cell hanging around your neck.

I can't decide whether I think this is wasteful or not. My first reaction was that we would be filling the landfills with these things. Once you read it, what do you do with it? Of course, you could just treat it like you would a regular book -- trade it with your friends or donate it to a library when you are done with it. The bookmarking feature is nice and you wouldn't have to tell anybody what you are listening to because they could see it for themselves.

The price seems a bit steep to me, though. The Stephen King book I mentioned is $49.95 in this format. After doing a little research, I found that this is the standard price for this audiobook (the MSP, as it were). However, you don't have to look too far to find a better price. Audible offers it as a download for $34.97, or $17.48 if you are a new subscriber to their service. Amazon offers it for $31.47 on CD or cassette. You could trade a CD just as easily as you could trade the Playaway and save a few bucks.
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