Audio Books

There are many new options for “reading books”. I’ve been a member of audible.com for the past 17 years. Audible.com is a subscription service which provides downloadable audio books. These downloaded files can be played on a computer or an mp3 player and specialized devices like Plextalk Pocket and Victor Reader Stream. The books are about $15 each. Now, however, the public library in my area, Nashville, TN, has thousands of free, downloadable audiobooks, as well as movies and music. All of these files are borrowed. There is nothing to pickup or return to the library, and there are no late fees.

Most of the audiobooks come from a service called Overdrive. There is a second and third digital service that Nashville Public Library subscribes to; OneClick Digital and Hoopla Digital. I've found it best to browse for a book on the library website, and add it to my account, or in some cases, put a hold on the book. When the book is available, go to your Overdrive app and download the file to your phone or tablet. After three weeks, or if you finish the book sooner, you can "return" the book to make it available to the next listener. The Overdrive and Hoopla Digital apps are accessible with Voiceover, but OneClick Digital is not fully accessible.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides free downloadable books and digital book players for people who qualify as “print disabled”. NLS books are also provided on cartridges which are sent through the mail. RFB&D (Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic) now called Learning Ally also has downloadable files, which can be read on a computer or transferred to a portable player. The most accessible way to read audio books is with the various software DAISY book readers for iPad and iPhone. Read about them on the itunes store.

Check with the public library in your area probably to see if they have digital, downloadable audiobooks. If they don't, you can join a larger library, like the New York City Public Library, for a fee of $25-50 dollars.