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World Book day: Ways to access books when you’re visually impaired

Photo is taken at an angle, from the top of a page. A white page of Braille text is present, with shadowing indicating the tactility of the page. Two hands are on the bottom of the page, coming in from the right of the image, in the action of reading.

On World Book Day, LOOK’s Project Assistant Sam, blogs about what first got him into reading books and shares some great ways to access books when you’re visually impaired.

Growing up as a visually impaired child, to start with, books didn’t factor in my life, braille was for school and lessons and not for fun. But then, things changed.
I discovered a world of fairy-tales, adventures, traveling, myths and more.
Braille, cassettes, oh, yes, still used those then. Those were my main sources of acquiring books. And since then, my world of books has expanded at an explosive rate.
These are some of the ways you can crack open a book be it digital or physical to plunge into a world of wonder, imagination and adventure.

Accessing World Book Day Titles

If you want to access any of the world book day titles you can easily order them in braille, large print, audio and Digital from the RNIB.

I checked out some of the titles and I’ll admit I wanted to read all of them.
You can also contact Guide Dog’s CustomEyes service for large print books.
But of course, if you do like stories you won’t have to restrict it to just world book day. There is a plethora of ways to access books you like and the authors you love.

RNIB talking book service

When you sign up to this free service, you can get your hands-on thousands of books, fiction and none fiction in audio, digital, braille and large print.
If you are too cool for school and you’d rather use an app, download the overdrive library app.
Using your smartphone, you can borrow some of the latest books read by both volunteers and professional readers.
If the overdrive app is not for you, Easyreader, an app developed by dolphin is another way to access RNIB’s overdrive catalogue for free.

Calibre Audio Library

You can also subscribe to Calibre Audio Library for a one-off fee of either £35 or £20 you can access their titles either via the post, or through their accessible app.

Project Gutenberg

If your tastes range more in the classics, Project Gutenberg offers over 58,000 free eBooks. You can take your pick of among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. With a braille display, or braille note, those books are literally at your fingertips.

LibriVox

LibriVox is another way to access over 50 thousand books in the public domain, read by volunteers. You can either download books on their website or through their app.

Try your local Library

Also, don’t forget to contact your local library and find out about their digital download and audio book service.

Audible

Last but not least, Audible. With hundreds of thousands of audiobooks podcasts and more and with hundreds of books added to the list every month, it’ll take you a very long time to burn through their extensive list. Read by professional narrators you can access their audiobooks through the audible app, download them on your computer, or listen to them online.
Audible is a payed subscription, monthly or yearly, you can pick the one that fits your reading habits best.
They also offer a 30-day free trial just in case you are not sure and if you don’t like your audiobook, you can return it and use your credit to download another.
Some of the audible titles are available for free on the RNIB Overdrive App, for example The Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry, so it’s worth checking before you use your precious credit.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite authors.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Happy reading.
And happy world book day!

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