Newton Library expands audiobook collection

COVINGTON - The Newton County Library has recognized a new customer base with its recent collection.

Starting in October, the library began to purchase new formats for audio books after receiving a $500 donation from BB&T bank.

Now, library customers can listen to audiobooks on PLAYAWAYs and MP3s if they don't want to use a cassette or CD.

"(An audiobook) is a full-length feature book that is read to you over a cassette recorder, in your vehicle, in a CD-ROM player, on your computer or on your favorite MP3 player," according to a statement released from the library.

Library Director Greg Heid said a PLAYAWAY is an MP3 player that has an audio book permanently recorded on it.

"All people have to do is come in, check it out and put on their favorite headphones; also, some cars have plug ins," he said. "This is great for people who do not have MP3 players."

The PLAYAWAYs also can be plugged into small speakers or a home stereo.

For audiobook listeners who already own an MP3 player, they can check out the MP3 audio book discs and transfer them to their own MP3 player.

"When we bought these, we bought the rights to them, so anybody can take them and put them on their MP3 players or computers," Heid said.

He said other audiobook discs can come on eight to 12 discs per selection, but with MP3 discs, each selection can be found on one disc.

"It saves them a lot of time, going from twelve down to one," Heid said, adding that visitors also can use library computers to transfer the audiobooks to their MP3 players.

The library still offers audiobooks on cassette tapes and CDs but wanted to offer a different format for customers who want to listen to books on their MP3 players or computers.

"This is just another format; we still find a lot of library users here who want to listen to books on audiocassettes or CDs," he said. "Right now, we're not thinking about (getting rid of audiobooks on cassettes or CDs)."

He said so far, customers have checked out the new formats in more quantities than the library originally thought.

"We thought it would take a half a year to a year to catch on, but people already are using it," Heid said. "We've had a nice, steady use of it."

Right now, visitors can choose from about 150 MP3 CDs and about 60 PLAYAWAYs - most of the selections being newly released fictional works, but some inspirational and non-fiction. Heid said the library will expand its collection in the future as funds are available.

"We don't have an exact number of how many we want, but we will continue to supplement the collection as new titles come out," he said.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.