Grey Echo Dot on a table with a bottle of water.

People with sight loss can now access thousands of audio books through Alexa.

Blind and partially sighted people can now say “Alexa, open RNIB Talking Books” to get instant access to thousands of RNIB audio books.

Customers of our Talking Books library will now be able to access audio books through an Amazon smart speaker, as well as through RNIB’s usual library services. With the new skill enabled you will be able to search for books by title, author or key word. The books are read by your favourite narrators, and when you stop listening the new skill will remember your place so you can pick right up where you left off.

David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce that Talking Books customers can now access the 34,000 books in the RNIB Library through an Amazon smart speaker. RNIB’s Talking Books library is 86 years old yet continues to adapt to the changing landscape of how our library users want to read their books."

Our Technology for Life team has put together a short film to demonstrate the new RNIB Talking Books skill:

Download the film transcript.

Martin Rhodes from Stoke-on-Trent is an RNIB Talking Books subscriber. He's been trialling the new skill at home: "I’m an all-round reader but particularly into crime novels, and as someone who uses multiple Alexa’s, the skill syncs across all of them fantastically. This is very convenient as it remembers where I left off and saves me the hassle of searching for where I paused reading.”

How to use the RNIB Talking Books skill

Here are some resources to help you get started with a new Amazon Echo device or to make the best use of the new Talking Books skill:

Alexa Accessibility hub

Amazon have a dedicated Alexa accessibility hub on their website that demonstrates how Alexa’s accessibility features are helping people be more connected, more entertained and more independent. There's a section all about vision with information about Alexa features for people with sight loss.

Dennis Stansbury, Alexa UK Country Manager, said: “We love hearing feedback about how customers use Alexa throughout their day. We are delighted that customers can now access thousands of Talking Books by simply asking Alexa, alongside setting reminders, listening to music and creating shopping lists.”