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Audio Books

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Hopkirk | 08:00 Sat 30th May 2015 | Technology
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My elderly stepfather is nearly blind, and listens to audio books on CD over his music system.

It would be great to use modern technology to help him, but could he cope?

Presumably we would have to get a tablet computer. My mother could help select the books, download and start them, though she is not that tech savvy herself.

Once playing would he be able to stop and restart the book, if he can't see?
There is little point in the financial outlay if he can't use it independantly.

Also would a cheap basic tablet do the job as well as an ipad? They have no other use for the tablet.

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Hmm.. My next suggestion then would be to use ITunes to download the audio books (pretty straight forward if your mother could get used to it) then pop the audiobook on a ipod (he can either use headphones or pop into onto a dock to play next to him). I use an apple ipod shuffle as when at the gym, I can feel the button I need to either pause or swap tracks without...
08:27 Sat 30th May 2015
Hi Hopkirk,
How about some of these for ideas? (They are a bit pricey, but endorsed by the RNIB and have special buttons for identification, to pause etc):
http://shop.rnib.org.uk/reading-and-learning/audiobooks/daisy-players.html

They take CDs rather than having to download onto a tablet.
Hope it helps.
Cheers
Peas
Question Author
Yes, I had seen those, but as you say they are not cheap.

Also I was thinking of freeing them from the restriction of CDs.
They have to get these from the limited selection in the library, while there is far more choice for download.
Hmm.. My next suggestion then would be to use ITunes to download the audio books (pretty straight forward if your mother could get used to it) then pop the audiobook on a ipod (he can either use headphones or pop into onto a dock to play next to him).

I use an apple ipod shuffle as when at the gym, I can feel the button I need to either pause or swap tracks without looking, but he'd have to use headphones with this as it won't dock - but it is really easy to plug into a PC or laptop and drag & drop audio files from ITunes onto the Ipod.

I've just spotted this free audiobook download site if it's of any interest:
http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

My dad's sight is gradually getting worse and he loves the audiobooks from the library, but feels the same - the choice is very limited.
Look at Project Gutenberg.

They have a lot of books as free e-books, and if you google project gutenberg audio books

The only thing with these books is that it may not be the same person reading all parts of the book - I've listened to Treasure Island via it and have has male, female, American, Australian etc. voices.
http://www.audible.co.uk

I have used this site. It is linked to my Amazon account and the choice is getting better. The book starts again where you left off when you start listening again.
I know you can get voice controlled phones I am sure you could download an app of some sort to a cheap tablet
Question Author
Thanks Peas.

I think one of the family has an old ipod that could perhaps be used.

I have never used one myself, so I don't know how easy the conrols are to use.

He always use big proper headphones, so I wonder if an ipod would have the power to run them?
Question Author
Thanks Sycamore
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He could perhaps plug the ipod into his music centre.
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Thanks Maydup. It looks good, but has confused me.

How come you borrow and return downloads?
Hopkirk, you can download digital audiobooks from the public library - the range may be limited you can register with your neighbouring councils' libraries, too. I am registered in 5 counties so that extends the range.

As for listening to them, I can't see a tablet being very user friendly. They have almost entirely touch screen so if you can't see where to touch it would be very difficult. They also have much shorter battery lives than ereaders.

Now, my very old Sony eReader has physical buttons and it is easy to feel which way is the right way up. It also has a headphone jack for listening to ebooks. It remembers where you were when you switch it back on and can 'read' ebooks and audio from the library, which not all ereaders can do.

Mine was discontinued years ago but are still available second hand on eBay.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sony-E-Reader-PRS-505-Digital-Reader-Book-Silver-/251942366599?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3aa8ef6d87
Doh. I meant 'has a headphone jack for listening to audio books'....
Another advantage of that device is that it as well as an internal memory it can take memory cards. This means that you (or anyone) could download books at your own convenience on to a card for him.
Hi Hopkirk, I think it migh be a little too much technology for your stepfather. There's two basic tape players from Argos ... yes not very modern technology but very easy to use. One is a portable & one is portable/ plug in. Books on cassette are plentiful on eBay both second hand & new, also charity shops are a great source!
http://www.argos.co.uk/m/static/Product/partNumber/3465381.htm
http://www.argos.co.uk/m/static/Product/partNumber/9091821/searchTerm/philips+cassette+player.htm
Question Author
Thanks all for your input, there is some useful advice there.

The old ipod that a family member has is touch screen only, so is not really suitable.

I have found that on a tablet, the Audible app has this button free mode, which might be useful if my Mum sets it up for him.

http://www.wonderoftech.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Audible-Button_Free.jpg

Another problem is teaching my 85 year old mother how to do the download bit.
I have never done itunes myself, but my son is a whizz at such things.
If the book comes on or can be loaded onto a USB memory stick, as MP3 files, it can be played using the item shown in the link below.

http://www.kingsaudio.co.uk/cat/1441/usb-playback-speakers

Vey simple to use, front large yellow button is on/off & volume, three in a row on top, track back, pause, track forward, other button is reset to go back to start. Your father might be interested in the local newspaper in audio format.

You can find the local Talking Newspaper by this link.

http://www.tnf.org.uk/

His local TN may even record on computer and send out USB sticks with the recording on it. If they do then they will provide a player FOC. The service offered by TNs is normally FOC.
Question Author
Thanks Doc, that looks really interesting.

If it is possible for my mother to transfer audio books to a memory stick then that may well be the way to go.
You can access quite a large library of talking books for just this kind of situation on gutenberg.org. also on amazon sometimes when you buy a book you get the talking book free - hunt around in your account options for the download. Amazon does have an extensive free library maybe this extends to talking books to.
Hopkirk,
This might prove helpful too. Books already in MP3 format.

http://www.calibre.org.uk/page.aspx?sitesectionid=231&sitesectiontitle=USB+Memory+Stick+Service

Question Author
Thanks Doc, that looks really useful.

Thanks also, UKBod, I will follow that up.

I doubt if Amazon have free talking books, since they own Audible which charges a pretty penny for them.

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