When sight loss makes reading print difficult, these 5 accessible book formats make it possible for blind, partially sighted and print disabled people to enjoy reading. It’s a matter of preference which one you choose!
Big Print Books
Books in big print are available for children and adults with low vision. Many local libraries include a collection of big print books.
RNIB Giant Print Library offers books in this format with their free Print on Demand Service and their free Personal Transcription Service.
Additionally, there are publishers who offer a selection of accessible books in big print, and other companies and organisations reproduce books using bigger fonts.
Books in Braille are available for children and adults who are blind or live with severe sight loss. RNIB Reading Services can deliver Braille books by mail. Today RNIB Braille Library is committed to improving their Braille book collection, especially producing more Braille literature for children.
E-Braille books are available for download on the RNIB Reading Services website. For students needing access to textbooks, Bookshare UK has books in Braille Ready Format (BRF). These can be read using compatible Braille displays or Braille reading software.
E-books can be enjoyed by blind and partially sighted people alike. On e-book apps like Amazon Kindle and Google Play Books, people with low vision can adjust font type, 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.
RNIB Talking Books are available for blind, visually impaired, and print disabled people. They can be mailed out in Digital Accessible Information System format (DAISY) CDs or USBs, or digitally downloaded from the RNIB Reading Services platform. They are accessible on smartphones, tablets and enabled Alexa devices.
Reading Accessible Books on RealSAM
Thousands of audiobooks are available for people using the RealSAM Pocket or the RealSAM Phone. There are 4 different book sources to choose from including CalibreAudio, 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. To learn more about reading for blind, visually impaired, and print disabled people, check out these related articles:
By Guenivir Kendrick
Royal National Institute of Blind People. (2023). Welcome to RNIB reading services. Home – Reading Services. Retrieved April 18, 2023, from https://readingservices.rnib.org.uk/