Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Best Gift for Grandchildren Ever - Recordable Books

A few years ago, I found these cute recordable books at a second hand store. There were three or four of them and they were new. I sold a few of them as we were trying to make some money for the girls service missions

It was when I was selling one of them that I came up with the idea to have different people read each page in the book. At that point, I was sad I sold the books as I would have loved to have one for each of my girls for their children. 

I still had two left so I kept those and for over a year now, I have taken them back and forth to my mothers. I started to have her read one when I ended up taking her to the hospital or when we went up to clean her closet the first time.

I have taken these books to their city at least four times in the past two years. I couldn't seem to find the time to get them in a quite spot to read them. So, in the end, even though we spent time together I had to drive to their home and get them done there. 

My mothers recording was still good on the one book but I had her record the other two at our family thanksgiving dinner.

I would say that there was immediate success. Once my mother had taken her turn. I stacked them by our stuff while we finished cleaning up and my grand niece who is just about three picked one up and when she opened it and heard her great-grandma's voice, she lit up. I guess she is used to her books where she just looks at the pictures. 

I SO wish I had my camera out at that point. It was SO sweet. I finished up some things and came back and my girls were all lined up along the wall and they were reading the books. It was so funny I had to pull the camera out and get a picture.

Not only then did they read them, but once we go home I found them reading them. Since they stayed in the car while I had my dad and his wife and mother read them, they hadn't heard the whole book. It was so cute to come into the front room and see Princess Four reading along with her grandparents. 
I pulled out the video but didn't stop it and went on to explain something but the camera I was using wouldn't focus and if I had editing software that worked, I would have shown you just how cute she was smiling all the way while she read along. I asked her if she was having fun and she told me "YES!" emphatically. 

I made a video of how to record on the books and show how after you have one person read, you have to "lock" the book until you have the next person ready to read. It would be really sad to erase someone's recording just because the page turned or it got bumped during transit. 

You can watch the video of how that is done but basically, you take out the screw and slide the little button to "record" and wait for the beep and then read what the page said and hit "stop." 

I had them give their name after reading the page on some of the pages and wish I had done that on every page so they would know who was speaking. If I ever do more, I will have them read the page and say who they are. 

Also, I took a picture of them reading the books and a snippet of video of some reading and a picture after with them holding the book. 

I am going to print off the pictures and put them in the back of the book. The "Grandpa and Me" book actually has a spot for a picture of the child with grandpa but since I just had him read it to all the grandchildren, I will just put a picture of him holding the book. 

I figure on the other books where more than one person read, I am going to make a postcard with little pictures of them all on it for the back.

Keep your receipts until you have recorded the books. I was frustrated to find that three of the four books had issues of some kind. The Christmas book read the wrong page so I had to put tape over near one of the holes on the page and write, "Put finger here." so they could hear the right page. Weird thing about that was the same Christmas book had issues with two different pages. You would think the same book would have issues with the same page. 

The grandpa book had batteries leak into it and I wonder if that caused the issues with that one. So, I will take the batteries out after Christmas and put them in new each Christmas to keep that from happening again. I plan on just taking all the books out at Christmas as we have books on the coffee table each holiday (you can see that here) so that would be a good time to have them out as that is when the girls and their kids would be coming I am sure. 

Two of the books were from Hallmark. The Hallmark books seem to record better. When you record, make sure there isn't any ambient or background noise going on like ice makers, furnace, water etc. 

I like that you can record over and over until you are content so if you stumble on words, you can begin again. Each one of us reading did that at one point. Yahoo for recording over it! 

There are quite a few books available for recording. You could do a different one for each child. There were about 50 on Amazon.

My step-mother (clarification only as she is a wonderful mom) thought the idea was great and still has small grandchildren so may take the idea and run with it. Once you see their little faces light up when they hear the voice they recognize reading to them, it is precious. 

The books are about $30 but I am sure you can find them cheaper online. has two Christmas one's for $10 and almost $20. Other places online have them for just under ten to about $35. They are becoming more popular and more places are doing it I guess. 

One things I did like about the Publications International Ltd books was that they had sound effects as you turn the pages, it has music and then the recorded voice. A step up from the first hallmark ones. I noticed that the newer Hallmark one's for sale at Walmart have sound buttons off to the side as well as the recorded voice. 

While searching Amazon, they have some great deals on used and new books and some TERRIBLE deals on them as well so search carefully. The Charlie Brown Christmas book I was looking at was near the top and was cheap for used but they gouged on the shipping. Further down the page, they had new offerings with lower shipping so for the same price, I would get a new book. They really have a great selection on Amazon. 

One idea for buying them cheaper, may be that you go through your video collection and sell some of them to Amazon and get some credits. If they need any of the movies or books you have you want to get rid of, they will pay shipping and give you a credit for the item. Just one way to get the books without much expense.

Once I recorded them all. I video taped them reading so I could post the video on youtube. This way, I can share all the grandparents reading to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren anywhere in the world. My parents have about 51grand-children or so and my step-mother has six children with children so when you add them all in, it gets to be a BIG number.  This way, they can all enjoy the Christmas reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Even their grandchildren missionaries serving all over the world can enjoy hearing their grandparents story!  

Now, you can too! 

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