Audio books, or talking books, can be sourced from a range of providers including low vision agencies, council libraries and audio book websites. The content can be played on a range of devices including standard CD players, MP3 devices and tablet computers. Some newspapers are also available in audio format.
Navigator audio book
The Navigator is a ‘low tech’ portable audio book device. Digital files of books or newspapers are loaded on to the Navigator from a computer. It can hold an average of five books in its memory (approximately thirty hours of listening).
The Navigator is available from Macular Disease Foundation Australia and also in selected libraries around Australia and some low vision organisations.
Macular Disease Foundation Australia’s Navigator Home Access Program allows users to access audio books and newspapers from a website and download them onto the Navigator audio book unit. The download process requires some computer experience so some people with low vision may require assistance from family or friends. Once loaded, the Navigator is very easy to use and, as it is light and portable, it can be used at home or out and about. This is a free program provided by Macular Disease Foundation Australia. Call the Foundation on 1800 111 709 for more information or apply here.
The Digital Accessible Information System, or DAISY, allows the reader to play DAISY books on a computer or a digital playback device called a DAISY player. There are a range of DAISY players available depending on individual needs. Devices are available through low vision organisations that also have library services to support the delivery of books to the DAISY players.
Tablet computers are wireless, portable computers with a touch screen. Tablets are typically smaller than a notebook computer but larger than a smart phone. Like an eBook reader, they can hold hundreds of books which can be read either with enlarged text on the screen or in audio format. There are many brands of tablet computers available including Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
An eBook reader is a portable electronic device designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books, newspapers and other publications. The pages of an eBook appear in print on a screen with push buttons or touch screen gestures used to turn the pages or place bookmarks. eBook readers can store many hundreds of books and new content can be purchased via the internet. There are many brands of eBook readers available including Kindle (from Amazon) and Reader (from Sony).
Document readers can be very useful for people with low vision. Document readers interpret printed information and convert it to speech using a synthesised voice (that can be adjusted for different accents). Some are motion activated and know when you have turned a page. Some can be connected to a computer and the reading materials converted to large print, audio or computer files.