When making decisions about the right digital audio player(s) to choose, here are some good questions to ask:
What kind of content do we want to put on the player?
Will it be an ‘Audio Bible’ only (where all the content is Scripture), or do I want to put other audio onto it like songs, drama, sermons, etc.?
Would we prefer to have the flexibility of doing the recording ourselves, or would we get better results by inviting a partner organisation to help us?
Doing the recording by ourselves will require technical expertise in certain types of editing software as well as actual recording and production. Using pre-designed and loaded audio players allows many to take advantage of the assembly work already done.
What kind of volume do we need?
Will the audio product be for small groups? Individual use? Or will it be used in communities where a significant group of people will want to gather round to listen and discuss (often the case in oral cultures)? Check the speaker output of your unit to assure you have either the power or the means to connect with auxiliary speakers.
Is it important for it to be pocket-sized (even if this means lower volume)?
Will people want to listen while on the move, on a journey, on the way to work or when walking while at work (e.g. commuters, cattle herders, nomads)? Or might people need to listen discretely for fear of persecution?
Charging: What access do people have to electricity?
Is the ability to charge by solar power important? Would people be happy charging by hand-crank? Are 12V car batteries available? There are some very creative and efficient solar charging systems available which can be utilized, not only for digital player charging, but for other uses in the community as well. It may be worth it to invest in one.
How easily do we need to be able to load the initial audio content?
Once the contents have been loaded onto a player, will we ever need to change it later, i.e. by adding new audio materials? How would we do that for people?
How secure do we need the content to be?
Are we in a context where people have access to computers and might want to replace Scripture content by their own music?
How much will a player cost?
Don’t forget to include shipping costs, import taxes, and any necessary accessories like solar panels, SD cards and mains chargers.
How will the players be distributed?
Will they be sold, loaned or given? How will we encourage their use? What happens if a player needs to be repaired? What happens if the battery dies?
The cell phone has become available in communities around the world, and has thus become an important means of distribution. Below you will find a link to an organization which specializes in using cellphones for distribution of missionary materials.