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Giant Print library

RNIB is dedicated to providing books in a variety of accessible formats. Over time the impact of accessible books and devices in digital formats has continued to change the way many customers read.

A book lays open on a stack of books in a library.

For readers who have a continued need for giant print books, our new Print On Demand service offers those readers a more personalised free book delivery service from RNIB.

Our free Personal Transcription Service incorporates Print On Demand books from the RNIB Bookshare collection. For individual requests, give our team at Ivybridge a call on 01752 690092 or email [email protected]. If you’re based in Wales or require transcription in Welsh, our Cardiff Transcription team can help. Contact them by calling 029 2082 8540 or emailing [email protected]. Please advise us of your preferred font and font size for Giant Print.

David Clarke, RNIB's director of services explained the decisions behind the change: “This move represents a significant upgrade for our library readers. The Giant Print Library stocked only 3,000 children’s books and only offered them in 24pt text.

“Our Giant Print Library has been replaced. Our customer feedback suggests that the majority of readers will favour the convenience of eBooks, supplied through our Bookshare platform, giving our young readers instant access to over 20,000 children’s titles. However, we are aware that some readers will prefer, or require, a paper book. Our free Personal Transcription Service now incorporates Print On Demand books from the Bookshare collection."

For those readers choosing to switch to eBooks, we recognise that not every family has access to a tablet or a Kindle, so we can offer technology grants and supplies. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this transition, please contact our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

How can I continue to read my books?

If you have a smartphone or a tablet and are familiar with the settings, you will be able to use your device as a magnifier to read any print source. If you need help to find out how, our Technology for Life team can give you support. The RNIB Online Shop also has a wide range of regular handheld magnifiers and electronic video magnifiers.

Your local library may also offer large print titles. These may not be as large in font as you require but may be suitable when using a magnifier.

If you have an eReader, such as an Amazon Kindle or Fire tablet, you can still enjoy books with large print. An increasing number of local authority libraries offer the facility to download books onto Kindle. You can then adjust the font size to suit your requirements. With Amazon Prime, members can borrow one book from Kindle Owners' Lending Library each calendar month, downloaded to compatible devices.

There are also other devices that you can use such as a PC, Mac, Kobo eReader, and apps for smartphones and tablets. Many apps will also have text-to-speech alongside the large print size function.

Alternatively, you may like to try our Talking Books, which has over 34,000 titles professionally narrated and in a wide range of genres and styles.

We’re here to support you. Call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 to find out more and explore the different ways you can access our reading services.

Lending for children

Our Giant Print catalogue did not go to waste as we donated books to school libraries and Local Authority sensory support services.

We will also continue to provide braille books and our online school book service, RNIB Bookshare, which has more than half a million digital books and titles available to download for free.

Guide Dogs offer books for various children’s reading ages through Custom Eyes. With this service, font type, size, spacing, line spacing, and paper colour can be specified, and you can even choose from two types of binding. Books are priced at the same as the original print book's recommended retail price (RRP).

Replacing the Giant Print Library - FAQs

Following recent media coverage of our plans to update the Giant Print Library to a new service of digital books and Print On Demand, we have received several questions we answer below.

Will the service be free?

Yes. Our users will not be charged for using it.

Why won’t RNIB commit to lending unlimited books?

Because we are funding this service so that it is entirely free to our readers, we cannot commit to allowing unlimited titles.

Our most active library users borrowed an average of 12 books per year. With that in mind, we have committed to: either matching a library user’s previous borrowing, or one book per month, whichever is highest.

For example, if you have been a member for three months and borrowed six books during that time, we would match that rate at two books per month. If you have been a long-term member, we will match the usage in your most active year.

Our aim is to ensure nobody misses out. No one should be denied a print-on-demand book that they want, or need, to read. We will review the policy if we find that our readers are reaching their limits.

How will the books be bound?

This is based purely on size. Larger books will be spiral-bound, so they can lie flat on a table. We expect – due to their length – most of our children’s books will be staple-bound, just like other classroom books.

How are you creating the books and how will you ensure the best print quality?

We will print directly from our ePub library, allowing us to vary the text and image sizes to deliver clear, crisp, high-contrast text and graphics.

We have invested in this new printing technology to ensure it’s a real improvement for our readers; our Gateshead printing facility is state-of-the-art. The print quality for the words and pictures is stunning compared to other solutions.

Will the books have front covers?

Sadly, no. Not at this stage. Book front covers do not fall within our copyright and hence we are legally not allowed to reproduce them. We are talking with publishers to see if we can change this position.

Is this service only available through schools?

No. The new Online Reading Service, from which Print on Demand will be drawn, will be available directly to families through accounts set up in their child’s name.

RNIB Bookshare continues to be managed through schools, although we have always been happy for schools to allow parents access to the Bookshare service too. You can browse the RNIB Bookshare collection, without membership to find the print-on-demand book of your choice.

Can I still sign-up to the Giant Print Library?

Sorry, no. As part of the transfer, we cannot accept new applications for library membership. In January, current readers will be shown how to transfer to the Online Reading Service. The Online Reading Service is already available for new users and the Print On Demand service launched on 1 February 2021.

How does this new service improve on the current Giant Print library?

Through this service, we can now offer:

  • Giant print books the same week that regular print books are published. Readers will no longer have to wait to read the next book in a series while your friends read ahead.
  • Brand new print books every time, delivered by post.
  • A choice of 20,000 children’s fiction titles, compared with 3,000 in the old library.
  • Sharper, high-contrast modern printing.
  • A choice of large and giant print sizes.