NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan — Scheduling time to catch up on the latest books just became a little easier.

Naval bases throughout Japan are beginning to offer Playaway self-contained digital audio books as part of the Navy’s General Library Program.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi has been offering the new players for about a week, and according to library technician Kelly Moody, the library already has begun receiving positive feedback.

“We currently have about 100 titles including about five from the Navy’s Professional Reading List,” Moody said. “So far, the most popular titles have been ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ and ‘The Da Vinci Code.’”

Each preloaded MP3 player has a battery life of about 12 hours. They cannot be erased or have other items downloaded onto them.

Yokosuka Naval Base expects to begin offering players at its main library and at its Negishi Housing area within a week, officials said. Sasebo Naval Base’s library staffers said they will begin offering the players shortly after the new year.

According to Commander, Navy Installation Command’s Ingrid Mueller of Fleet and Family Readiness Marketing, $139,000 in global war on terrorism funds has been used to purchase 4,400 Playaways for the shore and medical libraries in support of forward-deployed sailors and their families.

“25 shore MWR libraries and three medical libraries have received the Playaways,” Mueller said in an e-mail.

In the past, the players have “proved to be very popular and subsequent shipments were made to shore libraries, submarines and hospital ships," Mueller said. “We are in the process of distributing additional Playaways to the remainder of the fleet. We will continue to monitor field usage before deciding on any future distribution plan.”

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