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These books will leave you spellbound

HARRY Potter publishers Bloomsbury have donated their entire audio book collection to the free Talking Books Library run by blind people’s charity RNIB.

The worldwide publishing house’s collection includes around 600 titles and every future Bloomsbury audio book will also be added to the Royal National Institute of Blind people’s Library.

RNIB launched its online library two years ago, offering people with sight loss instant access to free books in formats they can read – including audio. It now has close to 40,000 Talking Books in its collection.

Sam Halstead, director of audio at Bloomsbury said, “We have long admired the brilliant work of the Talking Books Library and it is great to know all of Bloomsbury’s wonderful audio authors and, moving forward, every audio book we publish, will be available to the library’s users.

“We publish audio books of excellence and originality and want to bring these works to as many people as possible.”

RNIB reading services manager James Bartlett added: “Talking Books are important so that the estimated two million people with sight loss in the UK can enjoy books just like any other person.”

  • To become an RNIB Online Library member, visit the RNIB website or call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999.

MEANWHILE, a best-selling title by fantasy writer Ben Aaronovitch has been chosen by members of the Listening Books charity as their book of the year.

Listening Books provides audio books to people who have an illness, disability, learning difficulty or mental health condition which makes reading print difficult or impossible.

Stephen Fry, the charity’s patron, presented the 2022 Members Choice Award to Aaronovitch, pictured right, for his urban fantasy Rivers of London: Amongst Our Weapons.

The audio version is read by actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, whose film roles have included Mary Poppins Returns and Paddington 2.

Aaronovitch said: “I listen to books all the time and I think it is a wonderful way to hear a story. After all, when you write you are hearing it in your head, and so having it spoken out loud is practically an extension of what you are doing!”

Listening Books currently serves a community of over 115,000 adults and children. Membership to Listening Books is free to those who would find cost a barrier to joining.

 

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