The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and HarperCollins have announced a new three year partnership to grow Talking Books' library by 15% to 28,500 titles.
As part of the partnership, intended to accelerate accessibility for RNIB's blind and partially sighted members, the Talking Books library will receive every audio recording of HarperCollins’ new titles free of charge. The publishers will also make available in audio format their entire backlist of more than 2,000 titles.
The initiative opens up HarperCollins entire stable of trade titles, which includes authors such as George RR Martin, David Walliams, Max Hastings, Michael Morpurgo, Bernard Cornwell, Wilbur Smith and Hilary Mantel.
Steve Tyler, head of solutions, strategy and planning at RNIB, said: “At RNIB we feel passionately that reading can change the lives of blind and partially sighted people, and we work hard to find new ways of making all books available in all accessible formats at the same time as mainstream publication.
“We are delighted that HarperCollins has chosen to support RNIB Talking Books and help improve accessibility through our library, we hope that other publishers will follow their lead.”
Charlie Redmayne, c.e.o. HarperCollins UK, said: “At HarperCollins we believe that our content should be available to everyone simultaneously in all formats, whoever they are and however they read. We are delighted that our ongoing partnership with RNIB will grow the numbers of books in the Talking Books library by 15%, improve reading choices and enhance the overall accessibility agenda.”
Talking Books has 38,000 members, with more than 8,000 joining since November 2015 when the service went completely free for all blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
RNIB has added 25% more books in the last two years, with over 25,000 talking books now on offer through the RNIB Library.
Around 90% of the Talking Books catalogue is available on Overdrive, a digital download service, which also has hundreds of bonus magazines and podcasts not accessed through DaisyCD (one book per CD) or USB (three books per USB). The RNIB Library also offers a range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children in braille and giant print.