Library offers new way of putting books within your grasp |

Library offers new way of putting books within your grasp

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the Carson City Library One of the Playaway digital devices available at the Carson City Library. The devices allow users to place digital bookmarks and have new and classic titles available.

People who enjoy audiobooks might want to check out a new form of the product now available at the Carson City Library.

Called Playaway, they are small, all-in-one digital audiobooks that received a lot of attention last year when introduced. These devices are smaller than a deck of cards, making them easier to carry around than other spoken-book forms available at the library, such as CDs and cassette tapes.

“More than two dozen of them have been checked out,” said Elaine Werlinger, audio/video coordinator for the library.

Only available for about two weeks, “they’ve already gotten kudos,” she said.

Classic and modern titles such as “The Canterbury Tales,” “The Kite Runner,” even the how-to book “the Cashflow Quadrant” are available but some selections are more suited to the tastes of young adults.

Many of the 30 or so texts are unabridged versions, Werlinger said.

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Playaways are designed to accommodate universal earphones.

The group Friends of the Library will sell earbuds to use with the machines for $1 each and are available at the library’s information desk.

Cost for the Playaway range from $39-$69 retail, a price “comparable to a great audio set, but with a longer life than the other media,” Werlinger said.

This is because CDs can skip and tapes can stretch out, but the digital recordings within these small cases appear to be much more durable.

The digital aspect also allows users options not available on other media, such as the ability to control the speed of the narrator’s voice or place temporary digital bookmarks on the recording.

The devices do require battery changes about once every 10 hours, meaning batteries will need to be replaced each time one is returned but those costs aren’t expected to be significant.

Playaways have been an immediate hit with younger library patrons. Older people, however, sometimes require some persuasion to try this new type of audiobook. The enhanced sound quality is what wins these people over, Werlinger said.

“Once people discover it, we won’t have enough,” she added.

The library is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, and Monday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and located at the corner of Roop and Washington streets.

For more information

Call the Carson City Library at

887-2244 or visit

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.