Delivering Talking Books by Telephone

Icon of a telephone handset with a speech bubble

Delivering Talking Books by Telephone

Icon of a telephone handset with a speech bubbleAround the world specialist and mainstream library services are delivering talking books through a variety of ways, from conventional CDs to streaming content via dedicated devices, apps on smart phones, or home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These established services are all working well around the world, however a new service from Delhi in India has adopted a different approach for some very good reasons.

The users of the National Association for the Blind in Delhi (NAB Delhi) are using a new interactive service to access their audiobooks through a conventional telephone call.

NAB Delhi identified that, while the majority of their users didn’t have easy access to the types of devices utilized by users of other library services, most did have easy access to a phone with calls at low and sometimes no extra cost in cases where unlimited calls are already included in their monthly bill.

Users of the system can call a dedicated number and use an interactive voice response system to select and read their preferred DAISY format books, newspapers and magazines, using the telephone keypad to control playback.

The system enables easy access to audio information without the need for IT skills, training in specialist devices, or even an internet connection. The pilot project offering capacity for 100 lines has already seen some positive results and the project is being scaled-up to offer a wider range of services to more users.

Plans include using the system to provide public information including disaster preparedness, as well as expanding the content available to include educational material. The service will also be the only place that people with print disabilities in the region can access newspapers and magazines within hours of publication.

Further information about the project is available on the NAB Delhi website.