My Mp3 player jump drive goes with me everywhere. I bought it after attending a day workshop on print disability tools and converting text to audio Mp3 files. I found that I preferred it over my iPod (which I love too). The iPod has to work through iTunes which is proprietary so everything has to be loaded into it and then the player has to be synced to it to add new material. I wanted to be able to add files "on the fly" and skip that extra step.
With a jump drive player, you have a built in USB so you can plug it in, open it as an external memory device from "My Computer" in Windows and then open the music folder and literally drag your files in to store or out to throw away.
I go on websites that have archives of interviews for talk and radio shows that comment on the news, etc. I download new files almost everyday, listen and then dump when done and drag on new files. There is no putting it into a player software first - very easy. There are quite a few varieties of these jump drive USB players - I just found this one to be easily available and priced very reasonable.
If you are looking for a cheap and effective tool for your family member with print disability, processing or LD issues, think about this as a way to support literacy and learning by listening as well as seeing. Following the text while listening is very supportive and is used by such companies as Read Naturally. I have used the Premiere Literacy tools to convert pdf files into mp3 audio files as well and then put them on my player.
Where Do I Get the Free Books?
Gutenberg.org is one of many sites with public domain literature to download for free. Many of the titles have an audio file option to hear the book being read. Another is Free Classic Audio Books. The service, LibriVox uses volunteers who read, record and send in files of books so you get a large library of public domain texts by real voice readers - free.
The Pearl Mp3 has a built in radio and also a voice memo feature that allows a student to record directions from a teacher or voice notes from a class and download them as Mp3 files to a computer for future reference or playback on the player.
I have been showing folks how to use a free blog with the free odiogo service to convert a blog post to Mp3 like I do here on my blog. You can cut and paste or write anything, download it and play it on an Mp3 player. You can find my tutorials and notes on how to do this on my website, nolimits2learning.com under the resources section and the training section.
There is a new Pearl Mp3 version 2 out now with 2 GB and an optional mini sandisk slot to expand memory. It is still under $30 from Amazon on a special right now. I don't have this new version but it looks like they have just expanded and improved on the old one. I can't think of a bigger bang for your buck in a piece of technology that will support learning and be fun at the same time!
All the best to you!