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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Recorded Books  
  Electronically recorded books.  

The general recognized the small black-ivroid boxes that lined the shelves to be books. Their titles were unfamiliar. He guessed that the large structure at one end of the room was the receiver that transmuted the books into sight and sound on demand. He had never seen one in operation but he had heard of them.

Once he had been told that long before, during the Golden Ages when the Empire had been co-extensive with the entire galaxy, nine houses out of every ten had such receivers - and such rows of books.

From Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1952
Additional resources -

Various kinds of recordings were used to capture stories read aloud in the early 1900's. In 1931, Congress established the Talking Book program, which was intended to provide reading material for visually impaired adults who couldn’t read print. This program was called "Books for the Adult Blind Project." The American Foundation for the Blind developed the first Talking Books in 1932. The resulting records could be played in normal phonographs.

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