Merry Andrew you work a computer well enough to take part on this website so I do not see why you would have a problem with MP3 files or MP3 players for that matter.
MP3 are just computer files that contain audio information and if you do anything with a computer you deal with files of all types.
Place a audio CD in your computer CD drive and run software that will created MP3 files then plug in a mp3 player and run software to move the files to the player.
The results is that you can have your whole music library on a device that will fit into your shirt pocket along with a few audio books and podcasts.
Travel anywhere and you can listen to your music.
You can in fact then send copies off site so a fire etc would not wipe your collection out either. I live in a area that hurricanes are not unknown and after having one home blown apart around my ears I know how things can get wipe out as in most of my books collection at the time.
Hell by mailing three DVDs to a family member a few thousand miles away only a nuclear war is likely to destroy my music collection.