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Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the largest UK sight loss charity and Talking Books is one of their most popular services. That’s because reading has an important part to play in so many people’s lives, whatever their age. Being able to escape into a really good story, to lose yourself in someone else’s carefully crafted words – is something really special. Additional to this reading in whatever format suits an individual is essential to learn and to develop.

In 2015, RNIB Talking Books celebrates eight decades of bringing innovation, choice and independence to book lovers. Thanks to their service thousands of people can still enjoy the magic of storytelling. As well as reading for pleasure their Talking Book services also ensure that children and young people with sight loss can access books to aid them in their education. They work tirelessly to ensure that more money is raised to help make more books accessible. Presently only 7% of books are available in an alternative format.

Each Talking Book is brought to life by professional actors or broadcasters in their very own studios. Unlike most Talking Books in shops or libraries, their collection is completely unabridged. There is something for everyone, from best sellers to old favourites.

Every customer who uses the RNIB Talking Book Service has access to as many books that they would like to borrow, there are no limits and they are delivered free of charge to their doors. The CD’s they receive are unique in the way that the data is written on them and designed for people with sight loss. RNIB use a navigation system called DAISY which allows users to ‘book mark’, so the book can be stopped and customers can go back to their favourite place in the story. The navigation system also allows users to skip through a book chapter by chapter, page by page, after all not all books are novels! Some maybe a cookery book or a text book, where a specific part of the book needs to be read for the customer to access the specific information.

Every year RNIB issues over two million Talking Books, as more blind and partially sighted people find a new love for reading, or rediscover an old one. But the only way they can continue to produce their fantastic Talking Books is through the support of people like you.

Mrs Reid is just one of the thousands of blind and partially sighted people able to enjoy books again.

She says, “You have given back to me something I thought I’d lost forever. I am incredibly fortunate to be allowed access to the RNIB Talking Books Library, and I am extremely grateful.”

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