We currently use coomber tape players for let the children listen to audio books, but these are now all begining to die.
The teacher has come to us and, rightly so wants to replace these with audio files on the school network, so children can then listen to these from their computers or netbooks. Sounds like a good solution to me, until we try to purchase audio books for use on the network. If we download them from Itunes, we are limited to 5 computers which can be authorise to use them. We can't rip them off cd to mp3's and then share them, because its illegal.
We have found one company which make mp3 player headphones designed for schools, and the accompanying software includes a site licence for any audio books purchased with it, however their range of titles is too limited for what we want.
At the moment it looks like we will have to buy them on cd, and keep backups of them, just lending the cd's out like we do with tapes at the moment, would just be really nice to have a more high-tech and easy way of doing it.
The concept of a site-licence for a book hasn't really happened yet.
What do other schools do for distributing audio books?
What system have you looked at, is it Storyphones? I'd be interested to know because we are looking for something similar. Also have you considered using tablets running Android? I'm codering this as an option for downloading books and using in conjunction with wireless headphones. Android seems to be more integrated with network systems.
Audible's .aa file format encapsulates sound encoded in either MP3 or the ACELP speech codec, but includes unauthorized playback prevention by means of an Audible user name and password, which can be used on up to three computers at a time. Licenses are available for schools and libraries.
Audible's content can only be played on selected mobile devices. This is enforced by an "approved" list of player products, when you "add a device" to the Audible manager
DRM free in the future.
There were hopes that Amazon, after its purchase of Audible, would remove the DRM from its audiobook selection, in keeping with the current trend in the industry. Nevertheless, Audible's products continue to have DRM, in keeping with Amazon's policy of DRM-protecting its Kindle e-books, which have DRM that allows for a finite, yet undisclosed number of downloads at the discretion of the publisher.
In the future, Audible plans to offer DRM-free titles for content owners who wish to do so. Currently, there is no set date for this
Audible is good, and they do offer site licenses. You can download the books to devices (Kindle works well, other audio devices are available).
Depending on whether they're just after general books, or want specific ones, it may also be worth looking at something like Podiobooks.com. Most of the books there are available free and there's various people working on readings of many of the public domain classics.