Audio on Cassettes: Another one bites the dust

Recorded Books no longer rents audiobooks on cassette – but they will continue to produce titles in that format for sale. I know, some of you youngsters might be wondering just what the heck a cassette IS – here’s a quick look at this somewhat archaic bit of audio technology. Others of you might be saying – What?? People still RENT physical versions of audiobooks in this high-tech world of instant downloads?? But the recent announcement from Recorded Books is a good reminder that plenty of patrons out there still prefer the old-school tape format (nothing better for saving your place!). And lots of people live in situations and locations that make acquiring CD players – let alone broadband access –  impossible. The list of cassette providers continues to shrink – and Recorded Books offers this thought-provoking explanation why:

The materials necessary to produce this product are becoming less and less available, thus hampering our ability to service our cassette customers. If we continue to provide every title in cassette format, we will quickly run out of the materials and will have to end this product format in its entirety.



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.

3 Comments on "Audio on Cassettes: Another one bites the dust"

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  1.' Kevin says:

    I did not think that audio cassettes were available these days to non specific type collectors. I know that once in a blue moon you will get in a car and see one and be a bit amazed. The book on tape catergory still exists in my library; however, they are cd’s.

  2.' Artemisia says:

    I feel that Recorded Books has left me on a desert island. I have a mother age 90, legally blind, with moderate dementia. Her book tapes are precious to her; it’s the only entertainment she enjoys now. The cassettes are much easier for her to handle, the controls are simple. Now what do I do? And I noticed that many of the books she enjoys are not available on cd yet..or ever? — I’d like to say that in the many years we have been customers I have noticed a decline in service and the quality of offerings. When Netflix announced their pricing change, one poster was amazed that people still used physical discs instead of streaming downloads. Sorry about that. Some of us just prefer things that are simple.

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