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People with sight loss can now access thousands of audiobooks through Alexa

Blind and partially sighted people can now ask Alexa to access thousands of RNIB audiobooks.

Customers of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) Talking Books library will now be able to access their audiobooks through Alexa, as well as through the RNIB’s usual library service.

All you need to say is “Alexa, open RNIB Talking Books” to access all your audiobooks.

The Talking Books service sent out 1.33 million books last year and was described as being a “lifeline” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Users can now access the 34,000 books in the RNIB library, with the benefit of allowing users to stop and start a book whenever they want, rather than having to wait for one to arrive in the post.

RNIB’s Talking Books library is 86 years old and says it prides itself in changing to the current landscape and having resources that can be accessed however users want to read their books.

“Voice-activated technology is bringing us closer to a world where blind and partially sighted people can consume books on a level playing field with sighted people,” David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, claimed in a press release.

Users will be able to search for a book via the title, author or keyword, meaning it should be an easy process for people to find the book they’re looking for.

Alexa is a digital assistant created by Amazon that’s available on numerous devices including the firm’s own-brand Fire tablets and streaming sticks/boxes and Echo smart speakers. It’s also available on many of the best smart speakers and best smartphones we currently recommend.

Other than Alexa, users can also listen to audiobooks using RNIB’s traditional USB or CD format, while also having access to the RNIB advice and support services, including Tech for Life.

Talking Books has been around since 1935, with the initial aim to help soldiers blinded by the First World War that were struggling to learn braille. The first Talking Book created was Harper Collins’ The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

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