Note:  This is an edited text chat transcript from Session One of the Day of the Digital Audio Book, an online conference held on February 16, 2006.



Welcome Tech Support to LibraryU, free web-based training for Illinois librarians and their patrons, supported cooperatively by the Illinois Library Systems and the Illinois State Library with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.



Where did you hear about this LibraryU Live Event?


[Beth Van Opdorp] metropolitan library system


[LFox] I heard through a friend who sent me the link.


[vicky] I heard from the LibraryU listserv, and also through our library system listserv


[Pat Price] From OPAL website


[Mike Belsito] I heard about the program direct from you, Lori-- thanks!


[Curtis Rogers - SC State Lib.] OPAL's yahoo announce list


[roberta] I heard it from the director of our cooperative Dan Siebersma..Lakeland Library Cooperative West Michigan


[Cyndi Bowman] From Rolling Prairie Library System Cyndi


[vicki] ISL List


[Ben Watson] I heard about this from the news letter from Top Dots Enterprises.


[Susan McNeil-Marshall] MLS email alert


[Lori Bell] Ben, what is Top Dots enterprises?


[Frances] Frances Harris from Uni High in Urbana


[Amy] I heard about the program from a CLEO announcement sent from Alliance Library System


[Lori Bell] If anyone would like to be invited to the OPAL yahoo list to hear about other programs, put your email address in the text chat and we will send you an invitation so you will hear about upcoming programs



[Tom Peters]


[Tom Peters]


[Mike Belsito]


[Tom Peters]


[Lori Bell] Welcome Mike Belsito who is here from Playaway!


[Mike Belsito] Thanks Lori!  :-) 


[Tom Peters]


[Lisa from LibraryU] If you click on any of these vendor links, it will open a new browser window for you. You can just close it to see the conference screen again


[Tom Peters]


[Tom Peters]


[Lisa from LibraryU] If you have questions, please feel free to type them into the Text Chat box and I'll gather them for the Q & A time


[jim roeckeman] cab we print out the screen pages?


[Tech Support] Yes, simply right click on the screen and select Print.


[Marci Cohen] iPods will play standard MP3s, though.


[Gene Harrison] But Apple Itunes proprietary file format won't play on other MP3 players correct?


[Lori Bell] Gene, that is right


[Gene Harrison] :-(


[Lori Bell] iPod currently has the largest market share of MP3 players


[Tom Peters]


[Susan] They are easily converted via freeware.


[Mike Belsito] 2/3 of all audio players are iPods in fact


[Cindy Meadows] how much of today's discussion will be on DAISY?


[Lori Bell] Cindy, we will not be talking much about DAISY


[Gene Harrison] winamp


[Tom Peters]


[Gene Harrison] Susan legally though?


[Susan] I image that depends on the file and file owner. 


[Tom Peters]


[Lori Bell] cell phones too


[Vickie] My biggest grumble about the iPod is that you can't delete on the device itself.  That's a pain if you want to listen then remove podcasts, etc.


[Lori Bell] goes through some players and helps you select based on cost, capabilities, etc.


[Gene Harrison] Thanks Lori.


[Curtis Rogers - SC State Lib.]


[Tom Peters]


[Mary Wepking] How far are we away from downloadable digital VIDEO to supplement or replace DVD & VHS formats in libraries? 


[vicky] How do these companies protect copyright?


[Heather Shlah] My comment relates to MP3's.  Our library has made the decision to NOT collect in this format.  I am not sure that I am comfortable with the reasons for this decision, and I welcome your comments.  A central reason for this decision was that MP3's could not be played on CD players and this was causing confusion for patrons. 


[sue] Patrons must be authenticated as true library patrons to access the materials


[Vickie] Has there been any exploration of synchronizing audio with text on portable devices fo improve literacy?


[Lori Bell] just came out with a media player


[Lori Bell] Apple has media players


[Lori Bell] Heather, I think right now it is difficult to make decisions on what kinds of formats to purchase in  - there are so many choices - there is no one choice that accomodates everyone - and it gets expensive to provide titles in more than one format


[Cathy Stepanek] Any hope that there will be a move toward uniformity in audio formats so Apple ipods can play WMA files


[Lisa Powell Williams] I'd like to 2nd Cathy's questions--a big one for us, too.


[Lori Bell] Apple just announced they are moving to an Intel operating system


[Lori Bell] so maybe, there is hope


[Heather Shlah] We found that we had to supply MP3 players and check them out to patrons - it has been a problem


[Karen Cynova] Which format is most popular by eBook providers, i.e. this format currently has the largest number of books available to the public? Is a different format more popular for children's & YA books?


[Charlee Glinka] microsoft announced they were discontinuing support for Windows Media Player for Apple devices, BUT are supposedly working with a 3rd party to develop software to allow Apple products to play WMA.


[vicky] Maybe someone will invent a device that will convert one form of audio book to another, and also have capabilities of incorporating video like the tumblebooks


[Lisa from LibraryU] For everyone who has questions that can't be answered today, we have a Q & A session scheduled in this same room on Februrary 28 from 1:00 p.m. CST - 2:30.


[Lori Bell] some of these questions will be answered in the upcoming sessions too


[MaryBeth McWilliams] I have YA students that won't even take a tape.  It's too old fashion  .  YA wants the latest and greatest but which format?


[Tom Peters]


[Cathy Stepanek] Thanks, Charlee, for that update.  Will follow developments


[Mike Belsito] Also, while Lori will delve into Playaway audio books later, please feel free to email me at for in-depth information on Library Programs


[Gene Harrison] Definitely agree with that.


[Sharon Zuiderveld] I agree with Lori. Our patrons do not want abridged either.


[Joanne] It's ironic that the visually impaired have helped with designing features, but we still find the devices inaccessible.(Not catering to poor fine motoer skills or poor vision).


[Vickie] I wonder if part of the disdain for abridged books stems back to the old Readers Digest Condensed Books!


[Tom Peters]


[Frances] Is NetLibrary the same company as NetFlix?


[Lori Bell] Frances, these are totally different companies


[Tech Support] People have asked for the slides for today's session. All will be available, plus additional content through LibraryU -  These modules will be published in the next couple of weeks.  For today's material, you can access all slides at:


[Lori Bell] netLibrary has both text ebooks and digital audio books and works with libraries


[Tom Peters]


[Heather Shlah] self help is often more tolerable in abridged format.  Covey's 7 habits is pretty tough going in unabridged format


[Tom Peters]


[Lori Bell] We will be talking more about Playaway in detail in upcoming sessions


[Lori Bell] Our readers love this because they can enjoy digital audio without having to have a computer or download a book


[Lisa from LibraryU] Stick around and we'll be giving one away at the end of this session


[Steve Sposato] Re: Heather's point, I'd love to know what other genres are acceptable to users in Abridged form.


[Mike Belsito] I'm also here to answer any questions as well-- and good luck to all who may receive a Playaway title for free today!


[Charlee Glinka] Bill Clinton's My Life was abridged.


[Lori Bell] Australia is doing this now


[MaryBeth McWilliams] doesn't the bookstore Borders sell these preloaded devices?


[Mike Belsito] They sure do-- at over 300 locations nationwide


[Luca] Barnes & Noble sells them as well.


[Vickie] I won one already - neat device!  It's about the size of an iPod.    I'm planning to take it on a train with me.  Much less hassle than lugging a larger player and media.


[Mike Belsito] as well as East Coast Barnes & Noble locations, Wal-Mart, and Simply Books (Airports)


[Towanda] What happens when the person's finished the book?  Is the device throw-away?


[Mike Belsito] and Office Max :)


[Mike Belsito] no...


[Lori Bell] Towanda, no you recirculate it


[MaryBeth McWilliams] I could see buying one at the airport.


[Lori Bell] When they are finished, they bring the book back to the library and it is available for someone else


[Mike Belsito] It is the same as if they enjoyed it on CD...


[Vickie] You can pass the device on to a friend - just takes a standard battery...


[Mike Belsito] exactly :-)


[Luca] Right.  Give it to a friend.


[Towanda] What if they buy it at a bookstore?


[Lori Bell] Great for libraries - they don't have to provide a player or worry about what player the patron has because it is all in one


[Lori Bell] Donate to the library :)


[vicky] you know how cracker barrel has audio books, maybe airports could do the same way.


[sue] How many titles are available on Playaway?


[Mike Belsito] Towanda, it would be the same as if they bought the CD audio book at the bookstore-- they may donate it to a library, share it with a friend, or shelve it


[Lori Bell] Mike, how many titles now?


[Lori Bell] That is the only problem - we want more content from Playaway


[Charr] We find that most nonfiction is not listening-friendly in unabridged form.  Our users definitely prefer fiction of almost any type in audio format.


[Mike Belsito] We now have 32 titles available to libraries-- and Findaway team members are in NYC right now meeting with publishers to expand our library dramatically soon


[Cathy Stepanek] I've used them to help readers advisory services when I want to get a feel for a book beyond reviews but don't have time for the whole book. 


[Vickie] Another nice thing about Playaway is that it takes standard earplugs.  Patron can use their own...


[Mike Belsito] Great point, Vickie


[Vickie] Mike,  I liked the idea of having language courses on Playaway.  Would love to see more!


[Lisa Powell Williams] i'm here


[Gene Harrison] Congratulations!


[Mike Belsito] Congratulations Lisa! 


[Charm Ruhnke] Hooray for Lisa at Moline


[Lisa from LibraryU] Email me at


[Lisa Powell Williams] Sounds great.  A good way to try something new.


[Lori Bell] Congratulations


[Mike Belsito] Vickie, thanks!  We are looking to expand that section of our titles


[Pam Kramer] Congrats Lisa!


[Charlee Glinka] what do playaways cost?


[Mike Belsito] Again, please feel free to email me at for extensive info-- pricing, title lists...everything will be included


[Mike Belsito] Charlee, there is a range-- again, I'd love to email you in depth info....


[Gene Harrison] Are the Playaways able to be reloaded?


[Lisa from LibraryU] Gene, if you want to email Mike Belsito, he can answer your questions. His email address was further up in the text chat. I don't think they're reloadable though.


[Gene Harrison] ok