Methods For Accessing Books

audio version (opens in a new tab)

In this digital age, access to information is vital because it connects people to the world. While information from web sites is expansive and practically infinite, I consider books to be equally important. Books can entertain, of course, through genres such as science-fiction and fantasy. However, books can also provide information through advice and education. In this article, I will discuss ways to read audiobooks, Kindle books and some other formats.

 

As a blind person my primary source for books, whether to educate myself or for pleasure-reading, is audio. One of the best sources for audiobooks is

Audible.

I value Audible because of the wide and ever-growing collection of audio material. Paying my Audible membership every month is worthwhile because I can acquire practically any Audible book title at no additional cost using my monthly Audible credit. Membership as an Audible listener also means that if I have used my Audible credit already, I can purchase a title at a member cost lower than regular price. For people who do not want to pay for an audio title, I recommend

LibriVox.

All LibriVox titles are available for free download because the titles are no longer under copyright. These audio titles are read by volunteer readers, so be aware that some of the narrations may not be of professional quality. Now, I turn to Kindle books.

 

There are multiple ways to read Kindle books. For those who may not be aware, Kindle books are available through Amazon’s

Kindle Store.

I myself tend to read Kindle books using Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa because I consider her voice pleasant to listen to for long periods. I do so through the command “Alexa, read my Kindle book (book name)”. I sometimes read Kindle titles using Amazon’s computer solution for Windows 10 called

Kindle For PC.

With the software, I can hear Kindle titles read on my computer by my screen reader. Users without a screen reader who would like to hear a Kindle title via computer can use the “start text-to-speech” option under the Tools menu of Kindle For PC. Kindle For PC might be particularly beneficial for people who do not have Alexa or individuals who find it difficult or impossible to hear a computer voice talk. A final option is physical devices known as

Kindle E-Readers.

Although the first two Kindle reading solutions referenced above are what work for me, I recognize that an e-reader may be preferable for some people. Finally, I will discuss some other book formats.

 

Some books available for download on the Internet are in other electronic formats such as portable document format (PDF). Although PDF format can sometimes pose accessibility difficulties for screen reader users, some PDF books are in fact accessible. Although access to electronic books is fantastic, I also value braille books because I can read them with my fingers. Most of the braille books I have received in recent years come from the non-profit organization

Seedlings Braille Books for Children.

I recommend Seedlings because some of their braille books are relevant for and enjoyable by people of all ages. Last but certainly not least, people who need or desire physical print books can visit their local library when it is safe to do so from a health perspective. No matter what format you choose, I encourage readers to read books because they stimulate the mind. Additionally, you might learn something!

 

Question for readers: What methods do you use to read books? I will return next week with another article.

 

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