Talking Books, a service which provides 4,000 audio books daily to people with sight loss, is now free for all blind and partially-sighted people. Sight-loss charity, the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), is offering the ongoing saver to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Talking Books.
Talking Books was launched to help soldiers blinded in the First World War
The Talking Books service was launched in 1935 to help soldiers who had been blinded in the First World War and were struggling to learn braille. The National Institute for the Blind (now RNIB) and St Dunstan’s (now Blind Veterans UK) joined forces to create the Sound Recording Committee which originally recorded Talking Books onto records to be played on gramophones.
Today 30,000 blind and partially-sighted adults and children use Talking Books and the RNIB library is the largest of its kind in Europe. Readers can access the audio books on CD or USB or as a digital download, so that they can listen to them how they choose, whether at home or 'on-the-go.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, HarperCollins which counts Hilary Mantel, Bernard Cornwell and David Walliams among its authors, has become the first publisher to commit to delivering every new title to the RNIB library on the date of general publication, providing immediate access to current bestsellers.
Anyone who is registered as blind or partially sighted can borrow up to six Talking Books at any time, free-of-charge. Previously, customers paid a £50 annual subscription. With more than 360,000 people registered blind or partially sighted in the UK, RNIB hopes thousands more will sign up to the service.
The RNIB Library also offers a range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children in braille and giant print. To find out more about the RNIB Library or to sign up for Talking Books call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or click here.
- Find out more about Guide Dogs here. Plus affordable computers for people living with sight loss here.