This is neat. I met Playaway at the Digital Experience event tonight at CES. They basically make flash-based digital audio players with audiobooks preloaded on them. There are over 300 available at the moment, costing between $29.99 and $54.99 each (the book publishers set the price for each title, apparently).
Examples on show included John Grisham’s ‘The Innocent Man’, Jane Austen’s ‘Pride And Prejudice’, and E.B. White’s ‘Charlotte’s Web’. But here’s the cool thing. Once you’ve finished listening to each audiobook, you can send the player back to Playaway, who load another one on (at a discount) and send it back to you.
At the moment, the service is only available in the US, but apparently it’s coming to the UK in the next few months. I’ve got my John Grisham on order to see how it all works – stay tuned for a review.