Do you have the living dead on your library shelves?

Sony put a stake through the heart of the Walkman this week, putting another nail in the coffin of the cassette. I must admit that I still have a few good old books on cassette on my middle school library shelves – but I also have cheap personal cassette players for check out. 21st century kids consider CD players as archaic technology, and must be carefully instructed in the workings of the almost steampunk-worthy cassette: “You have to flip it over?”

Sony has announced April 2011 as the date of the last  shipment of the cassette Walkmans. The tape has been moved from life-support to hospice care, with only a handful still manufactured by audiobook producers. It was over two years ago when Hachette Audio celebrated the tape’s demise with a light-hearted wake for the cassette. Perhaps it’s time for the rest of us move those last remaining “books on tape” to the discard pile in the great beyond.

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Posted in: Audiobooks
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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

2 Comments on "Do you have the living dead on your library shelves?"

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  1. Three questions …

    Which format do you personally use the most when listening to audiobooks (e.g. cassette, CD, mp3)?

    Which do you prefer?

    What device would you recommend to a young librarian ready to make the leap to downloadable audiobooks? (And whose cassette player is broken in her car?)

    This is also a question I get from my patrons while serving in a public library.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Personally, I still listen to CDs in my car the most – it’s just more convenient. But I do also use my cell phone occasionally and my Kindle 3 as players, as well. If I were making the leap to downloadables from my public library or Audible, and didn’t have an MP3 player, I’d buy the Sanza Clip+ You can watch a rave review from cnet here: http://cnettv.cnet.com/apple-ipod-nano-vs-sansa-clip/9742-1_53-50094059.html
      But if you have a smart phone, be sure to check out the iPhone & Android apps Audible & OverDrive Media (probably your public library’s download provider). One less thing to carry!

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