Digital Audiobook Players

Introduction

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, makes two models of digital talking-book players available to its patrons. Eligible patrons may obtain their free NLS digital talking-book player by contacting their NLS network library. Both players have rechargeable batteries that last up to forty hours, high-quality sound, navigation, and variable speed controls. The two models—standard and advanced—are compatible with digital talking-book standards known as ANSI/NISO Z39.86 and DAISY 2.0.

Many—but not all—commercial digital audiobook players are also authorized to play NLS-produced talking books and magazines. This publication provides basic information about commercial players that can play NLS materials. Please be aware that capabilities and supported formats change frequently. Therefore, we recommend that you verify desired features and prices with the vendor before purchasing. Weights of machines are rounded to the nearest ounce, and measurements are rounded to the nearest inch.

NLS digital talking-book players and content are available only to individuals who qualify for the free NLS service. To learn more about eligibility and how to apply, visit www.loc.gov/nls or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

Disclaimer

With the exception of the two audiobook players described on page [insert page number here], items listed in this reference guide are not part of the NLS program, and their listing does not imply endorsement by NLS. Only the players developed by NLS and those listed on pages [insert page numbers here] are compatible with NLS digital talking books and magazines.

Content

NLS Digital Talking-Book Players

Standard Digital Talking-Book Machine (DS1)

Producer: NLS Price: Free to users of the talking-book service Supports: Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AMR-WB+, DAISY 2.02, MP3, MPEG, RIFF, WAV Media: Flash memory Features: The standard NLS digital talking-book player is equipped with large control buttons, braille letters alongside the controls, a sleep timer, and built-in audio instructions. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 6″ x 9″ x 2″ Weight: 3 lb. Distributor(s): NLS cooperating libraries

Advanced Digital Talking-Book Machine (DA1)

Producer: NLS Price: Free to users of the talking-book service Supports: Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AMR-WB+, DAISY 2.02, MP3, MPEG, RIFF, WAV Media: Flash memory Features: The advanced NLS digital talking-book player is equipped with large control buttons, braille letters alongside the controls, a sleep timer, and built-in audio instructions. Unlike the standard player, the advanced player includes controls for bookmarking and increased navigation. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 6″ x 9″ x 2″ Weight: 3 lb. Distributor(s): NLS cooperating libraries

BARD

BARD, the Braille and Audio and Reading Download, is a password-protected web-based service from NLS that provides access to thousands of braille and audio books, magazines, and music scores. BARD is operated as a partnership between NLS and its network of cooperating libraries in the United States and its territories. NLS maintains the website, uploads titles, and supplies libraries with circulation statistics. Network libraries approve reader applications, respond to reader inquiries, provide technical support, and in some cases upload locally produced titles of regional interest.

Smartphones, Tablets, and Computers

Smartphones and tablets are handheld devices that function as small computers. They allow users to use applications or ″apps″ to perform a variety of functions, such as browse the Internet, check email, and download podcasts. They have built-in accessibility features allowing people who are blind, have low vision, or have other disabilities to interact with them. BARD is available on these devices, through the BARD Mobile app running on the Android (versions 6 and later) and iOS (versions 11 and later) operating systems. In addition, users can access NLS material on Amazon’s Fire tablets 7th generation and above.

The BARD Mobile app can be downloaded through the Google Play store, iOS App Store, and the Amazon Appstore. To download and listen to books and magazines on Android, iOS, and Fire devices, users must register for BARD through the cooperating braille and talking-book library in the state where they live. Once their BARD account is set up, users have the flexibility of listening through their device’s built-in speakers, headphones, or Bluetooth speakers for greater range.

Dolphin, an assistive technology firm in the United Kingdom, offers GuideReader, which plays talking books from BARD Mobile and other accessible book producers. GuideReader is available from Dolphin’s Guide software application. Dolphin’s contact information and website are listed in the directory of this guide.

Commercial Audiobook Players Compatible with NLS Digital Talking Books

Blaze ET

Producer: HIMS Price: $795 Supports: Audible, Bookshare, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: 3GP, AAC, ASF, AVI, BRL, DAISY, DOC, DOCX, EPUB, FB2, FLAC, HTM, HTML, M4A, MP3, MP4, MPG, OGG, PDF, RTF, TXT, WAV, WMA, WMV, XML Media: 12 GB internal memory Features: The Blaze is an audiobook player and OCR scanning device. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Internet radio, and allows users to record notes and play music. It also includes a talking calculator and dictionary. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 5″ x 2″ x 1″ Weight: 5 oz. Distributor(s): Enablemart, HIMS, Magnifying Aids, MaxiAids

Blaze EZ

Producer: HIMS Price: $595 Supports: Audible, Bookshare, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: 3GP, AAC, ASF, AVI, BRL, DAISY, DOC, DOCX, EPUB, FB2, FLAC, HTM, HTML, M4A, MP3, MP4, MPG, OGG, PDF, RTF, TXT, WAV, WMA, WMV, XML Media: 12 GB internal memory Features: The Blaze is an audiobook player and OCR scanning device. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Internet radio, and allows users to record notes and play music. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 5″ x 3″ x 1″ Weight: 5 oz. Distributor(s): Enablemart, HIMS, Magnifying Aids, MaxiAids

Milestone 212 Voice Recorder and MP3 Player

Producer: Bones Price: Price varies depending on distributor. Supports: Audible, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AA, AAC, AAX, DAISY, DOC, EPUB, M4A, M4V, MP3, MP4, WMA, WAV, TXT Media: 32 GB memory card Features: With very few control buttons, the Milestone 212 is designed to be a simple-to-use audiobook player and voice recorder. In addition to playing books and recordings, it has a menu that speaks eight languages in six different voices. Comes with a 32 GB SD-memory card and ear buds. Operation: Rechargeable battery or AC adapter (included) Size: 3″ x 2″ x 1″ Weight: 2 oz. Distributor(s): Active Forever, Enablemart, Independent Living Aids, Innovative Rehabilitation, Technology, LS&S, MaxiAids, Perkins Products

Milestone 312 Voice Recorder and MP3 Player

Producer: Bones Price: $449 Supports: Audible, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AA, AAC, AAX, DAISY, DOC, EPUB, M4A, M4V, MP3, MP4, TXT, WMA, WAV Media: 32 GB memory card Features: With very few control buttons, the Milestone 312 is a simple-to-use audiobook player and voice recorder. It features a bar-code scanner, color identifier, FM radio, and alarm clock. Comes with ear buds, a USB cable, and a 32 GB SD-memory card. Operation: Rechargeable battery or AC adapter (included) Size: 3″ x 2″ x 1″ Weight: 2 oz. Distributor(s): Active Forever, Enablemart, Independent Living Aids, Innovative Rehabilitation Technology, LS&S, MaxiAids, Perkins Products

Plextalk Pocket

Producer: Shinano Kenshi Price: $339 Supports: Audible, Bookshare, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: ADPCM2, AMR-WB+, BRF, BRL, DOC, DOCX, DAISY, HTML, MP3, OGG, PCM, TXT, Vorbis, WAVE, WMA Media: SD-memory card Features: Reads plain text data and MS Word documents, allows bookmarks, supports voice recording through a built-in speaker and microphone, is Wi-Fi capable, has tactile keys and sleep timer, and supports up to a 32 GB SD-memory card. Operation: Rechargeable battery or AC adapter (included) Size: 5″ x 2″ x 6″ Weight: 4 oz. Distributor(s): Access Ingenuity, Active Forever, Adaptive Information Systems Incorporated, A.T. Kratter Co., Boundless Assistive Technology, Cadan Computers, C TECH, E.M.VITU Inc., EnableMart, Ferguson Technologies Inc., Freedom Scientific, Independent Living Aids, Innovative Rehabilitation Technology Inc., Learning Ally, LS&S LLC., MaxiAids, Perkins Products, PLEXTALK, Serotek Corporation, The Sound Professionals Inc., Woodlake Technologies Inc.

Plextalk PTN2

Producer: Shinano Kenshi Price: Price varies depending on distributer. Supports: Audible, Bookshare, Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AMR-WB+, DAISY, DOC, MP3, OGG, TXT, WAVE, WMA Media: CD, USB, SD Features: A CD player for people who are unable to operate a standard CD player because of a disability. It has large, easy-to-distinguish buttons and a plastic covering that can mask the more advanced features of the device, making it simpler to use. Numeric keypad, built-in speakers, sleep timer, and key describer also are included. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 9″ x 7″ x 2″ Weight: 3 lb. Distributor(s): Innovative Rehabilitation Technology Inc., Learning Ally

Victor Reader Stratus

Producer: Humanware Price: $455 Supports: Learning Ally, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: DAISY, MP3, Z39.86 Media: CD, flash Features: CD player includes large buttons in distinguishing colors, sleep timer, bookmarking, built-in user guide, carrying handle, speaker, and headphone jack. Users can download material and transfer it to the device via USB connection. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 9″ x 9″ x 2″ Weight: 2 lb. Distributors: EnableMart, Humanware

Victor Reader Stream

Producer: Humanware Price: $395 Supports: Audible, Bookshare, NFB-NEWSLINE, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: AAC, AMR-WB+, BRF, DAISY, DOCX, EPUB, FLAC, HTML, MP3, MP4, OGG, SPEEX, TXT, WAV, XML Media: SD-memory card Features: A handheld device with built-in Wi-Fi capability. The Victor Reader Stream includes Internet radio, clock, bookmarking, speech synthesizer, microphone, and flexible speed and tone controls. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 5″ x 2″ x 1″ Weight: 4 oz. Distributor(s): EnableMart, Humanware, Independent Living Aids

Victor Reader Trek

Producer: Humanware Price: $699 Supports: Audible, Bookshare, NFB-NEWSLINE, NLS digital talking books Supported file formats: 3GP, BRA, BRF, AMR-WB+, BRF, DAISY, DOCX, EPUB, FLAC, HTML, LKF, M4A, M4V, MP3, MP4-AAC, MP4, MPEG2, MPG, OGG, P.C.M, RTF, SES3, SPEEX, TXT, VORBIS, WAV, XML Media: SD-memory card Features: The Victor Reader Trek has the same functionality as the Victor Reader Stream with the addition of a GPS navigation system. Operation: Rechargeable battery Size: 5″ x 3″ x 1″ Weight: 5 oz. Distributor(s): EnableMart, Humanware, Independent Living Aids

Contact Information for Sources of Audiobook Players

Access Ingenuity 4751 Hoen Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95405 707-579-4380 877-579-4380 toll-free 707-579-4273 fax www.accessingenuity.com External

Active Forever 10799 N. 90th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85260 480-767-6800 or 9299 W. Olive Ave., Ste. 604 Peoria, AZ 85345 623-215-8470 800-377-8033 toll-free [email protected] www.activeforever.com External

Adaptive Information Systems Incorporated 1611 Clover Ln. Janesville, WI 53545 608-758-0933 608-346-7059 [email protected] AdaptiveinformationExternal

American Printing House for the Blind 1839 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY 40206 502-895-2405 800-223-1839 toll-free shop.aph.org External www.aph.org External

A.T. Kratter & Company, Inc. 12062 Valley View St., #109 West Garden Grove, CA 92845 714-799-3000 714-799-3100 fax www.atkratter.com External

Boundless Assistive Technology Boundless AT Sales Office 7490 SW Bridgeport Rd. Portland, OR 97224 503-828-1221 866-606-8551 toll-free [email protected] www.boundlessat.com External

Cadan Assistive Technologies 4131 Old Sibley Memorial Hwy., #200 Eagan, MN 55122 800-370-0047 toll-free [email protected] www.tfeinc.com External

Dolphin Computer Access Ltd. 866-797-5921 toll-free https://yourdolphin.com External

EnableMart Customer Service 5600 Apollo Dr. Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 866-323-5465 toll-free 888-235-1305 toll-free fax www.EnableMart.com External

Ferguson Technologies Inc. 205 Joliet Ave. SE, Ste. 101 De Smet, SD 57231 605-854-9280 [email protected] www.fergusontechnologiesinc.net External

Freedom Scientific 17757 US Highway 19 N., Ste. 560 Clearwater, FL 33764 727-803-8000 800-444-4443 toll-free 727-803-8001 fax www.freedomscientific.com External

HIMS Inc. 4616 W. Howard Ln., Ste. 960 Austin, TX 78728 512-837-2000 888-520-4467 toll-free 512-837-2011 fax [email protected] https://hims-inc.com External

Humanware 800-722-3393 toll-free [email protected] www.Humanware.com External

Independent Living Aids 137 Rano Rd. Buffalo, NY 14207 800-537-2118 toll-free www.independentliving.com External

Innovative Rehabilitation Technology Inc. (IRTI) 15344 Green Way Pl. Grass Valley, CA 95945 530-274-2090 800-322-4784 toll-free [email protected] http://store.irti.net External

LS&S, LLC 145 River Rock Dr. Buffalo, NY 14207 716-348-3500 800-468-4789 toll-free www.lssproducts.com External

MaxiAids 42 Executive Blvd. Farmingdale, NY 11735 631-752-0521 800-522-6294 toll-free [email protected] www.maxiaids.com External

PLEXTALK 6065 Bristol Pkwy. Culver City, CA 90230 310-693-7600 310-693-7599 fax [email protected] www.plextalk.com External

Serotek Corporation 1128 Harmon Pl., Ste. 310 Minneapolis, MN 55403 866-202-0520 toll-free [email protected] www.serotek.com External

Woodlake Technologies, Inc. 666 W. Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60654 312-733-9800 [email protected] www.woodlaketechnologies.com External

Where to Find Books in Audio Format

Audible www.audible.com External

Audible is a commercial audiobook producer and vendor. Audible makes its materials available online for customers to download and play on audio playback devices.

Bookshare [email protected] www.bookshare.org External

Bookshare provides digital books free to all US students with qualifying disabilities, as well as to other qualifying individuals for a membership fee. Books are available for download in audio and braille formats.

Learning Ally 20 Roszel Rd. Princeton, NJ 08540 866-732-3585 toll-free main line [email protected] www.learningally.org External

Learning Ally is a private, nonprofit organization that lends recorded textbooks and other educational materials to people who cannot read regular print because of visual, perceptual, or other physical disabilities. It requires a registration fee and an annual membership fee.

National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) Library of Congress 1291 Taylor St. NW Washington, DC 20542 202-707-5100 800-424-8567 202-707-0712 fax 202-707-0744 TTY [email protected] www.loc.gov/nls

NLS is a free service of the Library of Congress that provides braille and talking books to patrons with visual or physical disabilities that prevent them from reading regular print. Materials and equipment are circulated through a nationwide network of cooperating libraries and made available online through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site or the BARD Mobile iOS and Android apps.


Have a question? Need assistance? NLS librarians are here to help you. Email [email protected] or visit the Ask a Librarian! page.

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