As many of you faithful readers are aware, I use a reading machine supplied by a program through the Library of Congress (LOC). This service has provided me with various reading machines on which I can listen to either tapes or digital recordings also provided by the LOC. For an avid reader such as myself, this is truly a God send since without it I would be stranded; only my left eye "reads" although, for those of you who might find yourselves as a passenger in a car I am driving, I can actually see just fine for all other purposes. It's just reading that's a problem.
This is the first reading machine I received, probably seven years ago. It plays double-sided tapes that I either listen to through earphones or through the machine's own speakers. It is portable; the batteries last about 18 hours. Then it has to be plugged in again and recharged. When it won't hold a charge any longer, back it goes for a replacement. All of the equipment, tapes, postage is free. I lugged it everywhere but thought it was such a great addition to my life.
After a few years of having this type, the LOC service began recording (and re-recording) books in a digital format on small cartridges. I was asked if I wanted to try this new format and, of course, I did. Here is what they sent as the latest iteration for listening to books.
Size-wise, it was like going from a big dictionary to a medium size novel. The cartridges came in the mail, one book to a cartridge. The cartridge is about the size of a credit card; I can also download books onto a flash drive. The machine holds a charge for about 30 hours; then you plug it in, recharge it, and carry on. I download books from the LOC site onto my computer, then dragged them onto a cartridge, which will hold as many as 10 books. Now when I traveled, I could take a month's worth of reading along with me. And if I wanted something else, I could go on to the LOC site and download a new title.
Then the service jumped miles ahead and announced that members could download books onto an iPhone, iPad or iPod. Here's my new reader. It fits in my pocket!
I went to the Apple store in Sacramento on Monday and purchased this little beauty. Let me say first that it hasn't been easy to figure this thing out, but I finally was able to download the right App, get on to the site and download ONE book ~ Diane Johnson's L'Affaire, which I've already read but I was getting so frustrated I just downloaded the first book I found. (For the sake of full disclosure I must add that I had to call Andrew for help!) But practice will make perfect, I hope. After watching the people in the Apple store ~ no one over 25, I'm sure ~ I've decided this tech stuff is for kids with really good eyesight (it's all so tiny even though I bumped up the font size) and tiny little fingers! But I will persevere and, believe me, it's going to be worth it.
Here are all three machines. Which would you choose?