Long Island library does the shuffle ...

Jeanie Straub writes "Wired News reports that South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, has become one of the first public libraries to offer iPod shuffles. 'It's changed the books on tape from a car-only experience to a bring-it-with-you experience,' one library user commented. How can anyone argue that libraries are irrelevant?"

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iPods for libraries

Although they're to be congratulated, I'm not sure the use of iPods for audiobooks by libraries will be a good model:
--library staff have to download titles for patrons
--library has to buy and maintain the iPods
--headphone sharing?
--collect and return deposits?

On the plus side, iTunes has a very good audiobook catalog. But giving patrons the ability to select and download titles on the own, from home, to their own devices, just seems so much better a model of service.

iPod owners are out of luck (unless they know an easy, but time-consuming hack) when it comes to downloading audiobooks from any service other than iTunes, and certainly not any library-licensed service like NetLibrary or Overdrive. All those services only offer DRM-encrypted WMA files. Why? Probably because Apple doesn't want to share it's own DRM-encrypted AAC files with any downloading service except iTunes.

What a shame, given iPod's market share.

Umm...

I wonder if we should have a mechanism to check for redundant posts?

Re:iPods for libraries

A library in our area offers something similar. They don't use iPods but they do download to patrons' personal iPods. Supposedly the books can't be transferred off the iPod to a home computer so the only alternatives are to delete after listening or leave it permanently there. So its considered a safe bet they'll delete it.

Actually I think its the people who use WMA files that are off track. iPods play mpegs along with the AAC which shows a little more flexibility. I don't think the WMA players play mpegs.

I also think digital audiobooks are going to be a huge market. As I understand it Books on CD have one major fault that dooms it: you can't just stop and restart mid-sentence.

Re:Umm...

You mean other than the one that's built in that I never use? I really should check more often. I bet alot of people miss alot of stories the first time, so a dupe isn't the worst thing in the world.Yeah, wait, that's my excuse, I'm repeating the important stories for those who may have missed it the first time! I'm not stupid, I'm nice!

David Pogue at the NYTimes comments

Pogue likes the idea of audiobooks on ipods for several reasons.

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