Pocket-sized Playaway makes audiobooks accessible

NEWS – I’ve been wanting to read Where the Crawdads Sing for months. But bestsellers like that can be tough to find at the library, and I rarely buy books unless I can find them second hand. Even my usual library trick, to look for the audiobook or large-print version, didn’t seem to work this time. Until a brand new format popped up: Playaway.

Libraries across the country now offer these preloaded, pocket-sized audiobooks. It’s simple, just plug in your headphones (or your speaker or the aux cord in your vehicle), and play your self-contained audiobook.

Each one runs on a single AAA battery, which lasts more than 30 hours. My Playaway for Where the Crawdads Sing came with a fresh battery tucked into the case.

The controls are very simple, so even the least tech-savvy among us can manage them with ease. Power, play/pause, rewind, fast-forward, jump ahead a chapter, go back a chapter. That’s it! And volume control is clearly marked on the side.

I’ve done a lot of traveling lately, and this Playaway has been a great companion, especially when my luggage space was tight and my phone battery died. Even better, it didn’t cost me a dime.

If you don’t find the bright orange boxes in the audiobook section of your local library, Playaway has a form to help you request them.

Learn more about Playaway or purchase one directly.

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6 thoughts on “Pocket-sized Playaway makes audiobooks accessible”




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    1. These are typically aimed at loan’er markets. Libraries, community book rooms, etc. Our old library (I moved recently) had a bunch of these, and they have held up very well over the last 7+ years. Super simple controls make it easier for the elderly and people with reduced senses or function. I agree not sustainable for home markets, but I don’t think that’s the goal.

  2. I love playaways! I’ve used them to work on languages and yes most recently listened to Crawdads since it was the only option that didn’t have 409 library patrons already waiting for a paper copy. I took it with me to the gym, grocery shopping-everywhere. And I like the simplicity of it. No searching for what to listen to or being interrupted by texts or phone calls or worrying about holding my phone. I just hang them around my neck and I’m ready to listen. So thanks for writing about them. And now that my secret is out I’d better reserve my next playaway best seller before the waitlist line gets outrageously long.😄

  3. I agree. Also, with libraries loaning out Audiobooks as well via Phone apps, why would they want to get into the hardware game and deal with people borrowing and returning a physical item? An item IN ADDITION to one most everyone already has. One that takes a separate battery. One that doesn’t connect to BT headsets.

    I don’t get it. Glad folks like them, but it sure doesn’t seem like a sound business in today’s market.

    1. Many elderly (my parents included), find audio book apps too complicated. Super simple design, Start, Stop, Forward, Back gives access to the media to people who are wither unwilling or unable to comprehend more complicated devices.

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