In recent times there has been a lot of discussion about ebooks, platforms, licensing etc. - but what about audiobooks?
There is something nice about listening to someone read a book to you; so long as the reader does not have an annoying voice it is a rather pleasant experience. I have recently come back from a rather long road trip and for me road trips are all about good snack food and really good book/s. Audio books are a pleasure because I am able to take something mundane and boring and make it something interesting and even enjoyable. This got me thinking: what about those people that cannot read books?
In the guardian there was a story of France leading the way on audiobooks for blind or visually impaired people, so kudos to the Association Valentin-Haüy (AVH) for making it happen.
Working in a rather specialised academic library there are very limited academic resources for those with visual impairment or other disability. In France in 2006 a law was passed requiring publishers to make their source available to certified organisations, enabling the latter to transcribe books into sound or braille - or digitally and paper - and to distribute them.
In Australia, Vision Australia has been working tirelessly to improve services for those with vision impairment and have a collection of fiction and non-fiction resources available on their website. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go in terms of academic resources.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the public library that introduced me to the joy of audiobooks. Back in my high school days, when there were no more copies of Harry Potter on the shelf the friendly librarian showed me to their audio collection of Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry (sample here).
Please comment below on your experiences.