This is actually a really cool idea. I enjoy listening to audio books on occasion, when working out in particular. There is nothing like "gettin swoll" while listening to some Faulkner.
Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web
browsing. This week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New
York, became one of the first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod
For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the
portable MP3 devices to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music
Store. They started with six shuffles, and now are up to a total
of 10. Each device holds a single audio book.
Instead of having an entire book take up several CDs, one book fits within
several MP3 files, usually ranging from 150 MB to 350 MB, he said. The library
currently stocks both of the two versions of the iPod shuffle -- six of the 1-GB
model, and four of the 512-MB model.
Weil acknowledged that some older
patrons might have some difficulty adjusting to the new technology, but was
hopeful that they would be able to catch on quickly, as was the case when
libraries began to switch from paper card catalogs to electronic versions.
In addition, the library has the potential to save a great deal of money.
Latini said that most titles on CDs cost the library around $75, whereas in MP3
format, they range from $15 to $25.