The AnyBook Reader is a pen-like electronic device that lets you record any book from you current collection, in your own voice and then your children can have the book recited back to them. It is easy to use, and the playback is triggered when the optical pen is held over a reusable sticker you place on the page. Each sticker is uniquely coded and will only playback the recorded segment of the book you have added.
From start to finish this product was great. Light weight, and user friendly. It took some time to record my first book, but by the second book I was a pro. The amount of time will depend on the length of the book, but in general I found it took no longer to record any book my children wanted than it took me to log on my computer and download a pre-purchased, choice limited story from other companies. The second book also became a family activity as each child participated in adding roars, or fun sounds.
After recording two books, I put the AnyBook reader to some real tests! First my seven year old son got to sticker and record a story he wrote last year in school. Then I handed over to my six year old a set of stickers and he happily applied one sticker by each word we had been practicing for speech therapy. I later recorded the proper way to pronounce each word, now his speech practice can become an independent activity if I am busy. Last but not least, my three year old got his hands on it, and he enjoyed two stories while sitting at the kitchen table watching Mom cook dinner. (For more novel uses of this product check out the AnyBookclub.)
Overall this product is a great addition to our already high tech lives. I liked it, the kids loved it, and when Dad is working late, they can still hear a story or two in his voice.
It is competitively priced and available online. The AnyBook Reader is sold through Franklin, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble both online and in stores (230 Main St., White Plains, NY 10601, 914-397-2420; or at 431 Tarrytown Rd, Greenburgh, NY 10607, 914-946-3337).
It is priced at $39.99 (15-hour version) and $59.99 (60-hour version).
I do have a wish list for future versions of this product, but none of them prevent me from recommending it:
A dedicated record button
A headphone jack
The default volume to be set lower
Better clarity during playback
A carrying case