Cleveland-based digital technology company Findaway has rolled out a new read-along audio format called Wonderbook, which joins its Playaway line of products. Wonderbook features a self-contained Playaway-like audiobook player affixed to the inside of a hardcover book and is designed for circulation in the school and library market.
Targeting an audience of children ages 3–13, the inaugural Wonderbook catalogue debuts with 175 titles from a range of publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster. Award-winning and popular picture books, leveled readers, early chapter books, Spanish, and nonfiction titles are all in the product mix. Plans are to add 500 more titles in the next six months and to continue to add more titles each season, according to Brittany Gonzalez, head of marketing and strategy for Playaway Products Group. Roughly 25% of Wonderbook’s offerings are new audio recordings exclusive to Wonderbook, produced via the company’s in-house audiobook creation platform Findaway Voices. The recordings showcase narration bolstered by favorite read-along elements including page-turn prompts, music, and sound effects.
Wonderbook users can listen to stories independently with headphones or through an external speaker, and can also access a Learning Mode, which provides open-ended, educator-vetted questions designed to encourage conversation and foster the development of comprehension and such skills as vocabulary building and phonics.
Priced starting at $39.99, Wonderbook boasts a 10-hour battery life and can rack up an average of 50 listens before needing a recharge (via a micro USB cord, which is standard for all Android devices).