RNIB launches Overdrive, a digital audio library for people with sight loss

RNIB LogoExciting new service allows users to download books, magazines and podcasts directly onto computers, smartphones and tablets

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched RNIB Overdrive, a simple and portable digital audio library service which will open up a greater range of titles to blind and partially sighted book lovers.

RNIB Overdrive is the charity’s second listening library, complimenting RNIB’s long-established flagship service Talking Books. For the first time people will now have greater independence in choosing which titles to read from RNIB’s growing collection of more than 23,000 high-quality, unabridged audiobooks, and more choice in listening on their computer, smartphone or tablet.

Users can borrow up to six books at one time, search by title, author and genre, sample titles, and manage their own bookshelf and returns with no limit on the amount of books that can be borrowed each year.

Clive Gardiner, Head of Reading Services at RNIB, said: “We are delighted to launch RNIB Overdrive in response to the many requests from passionate book readers with sight loss for a simple-to-use digital download platform that works on multiple devices.

“By now offering two Listening Libraries, RNIB Talking Books and RNIB Overdrive, readers can choose whichever format suits them best to enjoy our award-winning professional audio quality and unrivalled collection.”

In a 3-month trial of RNIB Overdrive earlier this year, RNIB found that 147 out of 150 blind and partially sighted testers of varying ages and with different levels of digital confidence were able to choose, download and return titles of their choice when given the right support.  It also showed that 70 per cent of trialists would recommend the service to a friend.

Brian who trialled the service said: “It was lovely to be able to listen to books on my iPhone and iPad. It was easy to use the app and it was nice to listen to books on the go while I was in the garden, or on a long journey. It means you don’t have to carry another player with you.”

People with sight loss who are interested in joining can email Overdrive@rnib.org.uk or phone RNIB’s helpline on 0303 123 9999.

RNIB is urging people to wear dots in October, to raise money for the charity’s annual fundraising appeal around reading, RNIB Read. The money raised will help RNIB make more books accessible for people with sight loss, providing them with vital reading services in formats such as braille, audio or large print. To get involved visit www.readforrnib.org.uk or telephone 0845 345 0054.

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