When sight loss makes reading print difficult, books in these 5 accessible formats make it possible for blind, visually impaired and print disabled people to enjoy reading. It’s a matter of preference!
Large Print Books
Large print books are available for children and adults with low vision. Many local libraries include a collection of large print books. The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) does not produce large print books, but they have compiled a list of organizations, publishers, and companies producing different types of large print materials.
Books in Braille are available for children and adults who are blind or live with severe sight loss. NLS can mail out Braille books on demand or on a regular schedule. The NLS Braille books collection includes picture books for children with both Braille and print so that it can be read by either children or adults living sight loss.
E-Braille books are available for download from NLS through the Braile and Audio Reading Download website (NLS BARD). Students can use Bookshare to access textbooks in Braille Ready Format (BRF). E-Braille books can be read using compatible Braille displays or a Braille reader software.
E-books can be enjoyed by blind and partially sighted people alike. On e-book apps like Amazon Kindle, people with low vision can adjust font types, font size, colors, contrast, and line and word spacing for easy reading. Some apps have their own e-book voice readers to read the text. E-books in other formats can also be read using screen reader software.
Audiobooks can be enjoyed by everyone! Many people with no sight impairment enjoy audiobooks just as much as some people living with sight loss listen to them as their primary means of reading books.
Today, countless audiobooks are available for purchase from audiobook apps like Audible and Spotify.
Many books in public domain, i.e., books no longer restricted by copyrights, can be found as audiobooks on YouTube.
Talking Books can be delivered by NLS in USB cartridges that can be played on NLS book players. They are also available as digital downloads on NLS BARD. Using BARD Express these audiobooks can be transferred onto flash drives played on the NLS book player or other compatible commercial book players. Using BARD Mobile, they are accessible on IOS or Android tablets and smartphones.
Thousands of audiobooks are available for people using the RealSAM Pocket or the RealSAM Phone. In the US, there are 3 different book sources to choose from including LibriVox Audiobooks, Torch Trust Library and Project Gutenberg. With the RealSAM Pocket and the RealSAM Phone, simply ‘tap to talk’ and say, ‘list books’ to start streaming audiobooks for free.
Don’t let your sight loss or disability get in the way of reading books. To learn more about reading for blind, visually impaired, and print disabled people, check out these related resources:
- The National Library for the Blind and print Disabled, Library of Congress
- Books for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Print Disabled from the NLS BARD
- Reading Books on the RealSAM Pocket and the RealSAM Phone
By Guenivir Kendrick
Bard Access – National Library Service for the Blind and print disabled (NLS): Library of Congress. National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) | Library of Congress. (2023, April 3). Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/bard-access/#:~:text=BARD%20is%20a%20partnership%20between,BARD%20Mobile%20and%20BARD%20Express.
Overview – National Library Service for the Blind and print disabled (NLS): Library of Congress. National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) | Library of Congress. (2023, March 28). Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.loc.gov/nls/about/overview/#:~:text=Established%20by%20an%20Act%20of,to%20provide%20refreshable%20braille%20displays