Back in the day I can remember TalkingBooks coming in largeish black boxes with buckles and straps. Inside were large blue books and upon opening the book you found several sleeves holding large black record disks.
To play these I had a brown record player with a built in speaker in the lid. The lid could detach or could snap on and you coul d take the recordplayer along with you, given that the place you were headed had electric power.
I used to sit for hours and hours on end listening to these records. I can remember falling asleep to them, then when the side of the record was over I'd be woken up by a loud gravely sound. This was the player arm of the player going round and round and round accross the braille lable that was on the first side of every record. I'd have to get my mom, often times out of bed to fix it. The last record I remember getting was "NightMares and Dream Scapes" by Stephen King. This book was on flexible record disk and didn't play very well on my then older than dirt record player.
Some of the books I remember listening to are Pinoacho, the call of the wild, all the wizard of oz books, Tom Soyar and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Oh how I wanted suc h a car! Along with these one books about a cat who went into space... I wish I could remember what they were called. And The Pippi Long Stocking Book Oh and Black Beauty which I listened to so much my mother was totally sick to death of it.
For the past 25 or so years the TalkingBook program have used tapes and a big giant clunkey talkingbook player (tape player). Tapes had the advantage over records in that they didn't get scratched up and they played longer per side. A record I think had maybe 45 minutes to maybe an hour. The tapes have about 85 minutes per side. 1 4 track tape has about six hours of play time... So you got longer play times and you could get more book on less physical media. The tape containers AKA little green boxes of joy, took up less room than all the records and so it has been for almost as long as I can remember.
Tapes have several drawbacks.
They are not toddler or kitten proof. If you leave a tape out and have a toddler and or kitten, the next time you see your tape it will have all it's innerds pulled out into a shiny slithery brown rats nest of tape. Pitty if it is the first or last or only tape to a book.
Also the toddler and or kitten aren't the only threts to the ongoing workings of a given tape. Sometimes for some reason your tape player will just pick a tape and eat it. The tape ribben will become hopelessly emeshed in the player and you quite honestly have to cut your losses.
The tape will be so old and clapped out that just at the most interesting bit, or half way through the first side a ear splitting squigy little screetch will take up rendering the tape useless! Completely useless.
Or the stupid things's sound is so bad you can't hear it.
Well take heart! There is hope!
For the past several years the NLS has been moving ever so slowly twords "The Next Big Thing"!
Skipping totally over CDs which other TalkingBook like services world wide have been using, the NLS is going digital!
First there was the RD (recorded disk) and then the FD (flexible disk( and the TB (TalkingBook format unknown)
and then RC (Recorded Cassette) Now just in time for the second decade of the 21st centuary, several years behind Audible and Overdrive we have...
Drumb roll please...
DTB! or just DB for *fan fair here* Digital talking Book!
Which is a talkingbook who is digitally recorded.
These books will be on little cartrages, glorified memory cards and plug in, I'm thinking like the old school Nintendo/Sega/Vic 20 cartrages plugged into their respective players... A whole book can fit onto one cartrage for most titles. The annoying falts of the tapes are gone. Even the digital talkingbooks players are solid state. NO MOVING PARTS INSIDE! Which is grand because no moving parts means less stuff to conk out.
If you have an exturnal hd you can download and play the books directly from the internet thus giving you straight away access to a book. Cutting out the postman!!!
I am very pleased about this.
I learned yesterday that they will start handing out the players within one to three months, laborday has been touted as a possible starting date. I am excited... All the digital yummyness of "Audible" without the price. All the instent gradification of overdrive books without the frustration of A. being wait listed for a book and B. finding the book you want only to find it doesn't work on Mac for some stupid DRM reason... For more information and pictures. Visit the links provided in the end of this post.
I've waited for years to get my grubby little mits on these tap er digital books... and it is almost here! Yaahoooo!