alt=A woman listens to headphones that are plugged into a book. A speech bubble coming from the book is full of space landscapes and a UFO.

Free Books and Magazines

I was speaking to someone yesterday about visual impairment. I made the comment “Well, at least we get free books!" We laughed together. I'm not sure if it was the absurdity of the small compensation for the loss of sight or what, but hey, we get free books! How about that?

And right on cue, today my copy of Talking Book Topics arrived in our mailbox. I figured it would be the perfect topic for another page.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

First a review: the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a wonderful source of audiobooks for us visually handicapped types. As long as you have been declared legally blind, you are able to download any of hundreds of thousands of books through the BARD app, available through the App Store and Googleplay.

NLS contact information

The phone number for the National Library Service is 888-657-7323 or 888-NLS-READ. This will connect you to your local participating library and help not only getting started but also with problems you may encounter later...or at least that is what my copy of Talking Books Topics says.

Many new genre additions at the NLS

My recent copy of Talking Books Topics contains a list of the books added to the audio and braille libraries during the first two months of 2021. There are 37 pages of new additions! Those people at NLS have been busy!

Adult mysteries

In this catalog, I would turn to page 10 to see the new additions for adult mysteries and detective stories. Or maybe page 13 for science fiction or page 16 for suspense. I am not into romance novels but if you are, the new entries are on page 11

Adult and children fiction and non-fictin

Adult nonfiction new offerings start on page 18. New offerings for children start on page 28 with both children’s fiction and nonfiction offerings. There is also a small section of new offerings in foreign languages.

Audio magazines galore

All of this takes us to page 39 which has the heading "Audio Magazines." Apparently, there is a way to get free subscriptions to dozens of audio versions of magazines! Cool. Would you like 10 issues of The Atlantic? How about Bon Apetit or Consumer Report? Contact your cooperating library for these or any of several dozen titles.

Call your participating library

Cooperating libraries are all over the country. Cities and phone numbers for cooperating libraries are listed on page 52 of my Talking Books Topics. Philadelphia, where Health Union is located, has a library. The phone number is 800- 222-1754. New York City is 855-697-6975.

Oh, and speaking of Philadelphia's library, according to their website, they are located at 7810 Frankford Avenue, but are, of course, currently closed due to the pandemic. After the pandemic, stop by and take advantage of their “toys”. The Free Library of Philadelphia advertises crazy access technology including magnification systems, text to speech, and screen readers.

So, yeah, it might not make up for losing sight, but an upside to being legally blind is FREE BOOKS! I forgot to mention also musical scores, and a whole lot more. We are talking hundreds of thousands of titles with new titles being constantly added. Just look in Talking Book Topics if you don’t believe me.

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