A mix between ebook and audiobook, PlayAway books are the size of a credit card, and come with a battery and ear buds. No need for a tape or CD player, the command buttons are integrated, from play/stop to voice speed and bookmark. The library is meager so far, but includes bestselling authors such as Dan Brown, John Grisham, and Christopher Paollini. Sounds like an ideal medium, light to carry, easy to listen to. There has to be a catch.

There is. Small print at the bottom:

Playaway prices begin at $34.99

Begin?? Those are horrendous prices, USD, of course. In Canadian dollars, a Playaway would cost over $40. For that price, I can buy nearly seven ebooks from eReader for my Palm Pilot. Angels and Demons, there, costs $5.98, compared to the paperback version at $9.60.

But that got me curious on the price of CD audiobooks. Angels and Demons, for instance, is $32.97US at Barnes & Noble has various versions, in the $20-40 range. So I guess the Playaway books aren’t that expensive in comparison, especially if you want the convenience of portability.

Nonetheless, I’ll continue to patronize my library, which has the audio version of Angels and Demons for absolutely free. Unless I’m late returning it, that is.

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