HarperAudio has signed a deal with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to add 150 of its audio titles to the RNIB Talking Books Service over the next 12 months.
The first batch to be converted will include Wilbur Smith’s Golden Lion, Bernard Cornwell’s Warriors of the Storm and David Walliams’ upcoming new children’s book, which will be available to Talking Books members the same day as they released to the general trade.
HarperCollins’ director of audio Jo Forshaw said: “Over the last couple of years, audio has been instrumental in increasing the audience for books, and we’re keen to go even further to make our content accessible to more potential readers. The print-impaired constituency has long suffered from a very limited supply of content, and this new deal will help break down the barrier to access with simultaneous availability. We’ve been working with the RNIB for a number of years now to increase the number of HarperCollins titles available through their library service, but this new deal is a real breakthrough. It promises to make a real difference to print-impaired readers, allowing them a greater choice of reading material and, crucially, providing a large number of titles simultaneously to the trade release.”
RNIB's head of solutions, strategy and planning Steve Tyler added: "We're delighted that a leading publisher such as HarperCollins is making more of their titles available to our library members. We're particularly excited to see HarperCollins releasing all of their new fiction titles in audio simultaneous to the print edition this year. The simultaneous publication of new titles in accessible formats is something we feel passionately about at RNIB and we look forward to continuing to work together with HarperCollins to give everyone the right to read and bring our readers the latest titles to enjoy at the same time as everyone else."
HarperCollins is also collaborating with the RNIB at the International Agatha Christie Festival – taking place in Torquay in September – with a gala event celebrating 80 years of Talking Books, and the fact that Christie remains one of the most requested authors by visually impaired users of the service. The event takes places on 13th September at 7.30-9.00pm. Tickets can be purchased here.