10 April 2009

Editorial: Where have all the Talking Books Gone?

[This editorial reflects the personal opinion of The Editor, Barbara Brown, and not necessarily the opinion of the Editorial Team or the Reading Stack reviewers]

I have just spent the day (yesterday) trying to locate the "perfect" present for my mother's 86th birthday today! What - you ask? Well since she is losing her sight with Macular Degeneration I thought the best present for her would be a talking book.

What a great idea you say? I hear you! I thought I had hit on the perfect present.

Well I had but unfortunately the book retailers didn't agree. The two major book stores (large multinational companies) were very sad in their selection. One store obviously catered for someone who wanted to HEAR the music from Countdown (why when you could just buy the CD) or read all about football - now that would be lovely to hear how it would be "read"!!!

After fruitless searches we came across a miserable and meagre lot of "books" to offer a lovely, energetic, modern 86 year old woman. And oh no! Look at the price. Twice the cost of a printed book All I can say now is I hope that the book retailers start taking notice of people like my mother. She loves to read. She still has all her faculties (even though she is nearing the end of her eyesight). And yet, as a pensioner she now cannot afford to indulge in the pleasures of "hearing" the wonderful tales of the written words. And she is not in the minority.

I have had one friend offer to read all her favourite books to my mother. Just for the pleasure of reading them again. I won't say what I purchased for my mum but she can relax before bed now and listen to a great story of murder, mystery and intrigue. What? You thought she wanted a romance - not lately! But it might look like she may have to start reading all about her children's passions of the 80's!

If anyone knows of somewhere I can purchase good quality audio books for a reasonable price - please let me know.

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