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Talking Books Plus Services

What Is Available?


Books are available on digital cartridge, via Internet download or in Braille. Not all books are available in all formats. Check the online catalog for listings of NLS Books available via Talking Books Plus.

Bibliographies of NLS Books

  • Talking Books Topics
    Plain text versions of Talking Books Topics from 1997 to the current issue are available online from NLS.
  • Search the NLS Catalog
    Text only interface.
  • Search the NLS Catalog using Voyager
    The NLS catalog includes books that are available at cooperating NLS libraries across the country. Search for books by author, title, subject, book number, and keyword. Searches can be limited by language and various other criteria, such as age group. If books are not available at Talking Books Plus, we may be able to obtain them through interlibrary loan. Contact Talking Books Plus for details.

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NLS produces certain magazines in special media at no charge for Talking Books Plus patrons through the Magazine Program. Contact Talking Books Plus for information on subscribing.

Magazines are available in braille, digital cartridge, Internet download and large print formats. See the Media Index to determine what publications are available in each format.

Descriptive Videos

Descriptive videos are available from Talking Books Plus through the Perkins Library. The audio-described DVD collection (Descriptive DVDs) provides members with access to more than 1,400 described DVDs for home use. A list of titles can be found by visiting the online catalog (DVD list). Or search for specific titles in the catalog: use “Refine your Search” on the left side of the screen and select “Descriptive DVD” under “Medium” to limit the search to DVDs.


Music services are provided directly to readers from NLS and not through the regional library. Music services include a circulating collection of braille, large print, and recorded instructional materials and a subscription program of magazines produced in braille, on cassette, and in large print. Musical recordings intended solely for listening are not part of the music collection, as these materials are readily available local public libraries and commercial vendors.

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Web-Braille is an internet service that provides electronic access to materials published in braille format. These materials may be read online, or downloaded to a braille notetaker or embosser. At present the National Library Service collection contains nearly 6,000 books, magazine titles, and musical scores.

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Equipment and Accessories

Digital machines to play National Library Service and cartridges are provided free of charge. You can keep the equipment as long as you remain an active member, by borrowing one book or magazine per calendar year. There is no deposit payment for this equipment.

Digital Machines

  • photo of DS1DS1 (Basic Model)
    Basic model, 6 by 9 by 2 inches, weighs slightly over two pounds. Machine has Play, Rewind and Fast Forward controls. Rewind and Fast Forward moves through the book more quickly the more times they are pressed and give audible feedback about how far ahead or back the user is moving. The Sleep button turns the player off thirty minutes after it is pressed. Volume, Tone, and Speed controls also give audible feedback, e.g. "tone lower," "tone higher," "tone middle.” The Speed control changes the speech from 50% to 300% of normal, with no change in pitch.
  • DA1 (Advanced Model)
    Same size and weight as DS1, but has additional controls. The advanced controls are for setting and retrieving bookmarks and for navigating through the structured levels of a NISO standards compliant book.

Machine Repair and Maintenance

If your playback machine breaks, contact Talking Books Plus to request a replacement. Replacement or repair is available at no cost. Members are allowed only one digital machine in their possession. If your records are in order, a new machine will be mailed to you immediately. Mail the defective machine back in its original container. Just turn over the card on the outside of the box and return the machine via the U.S. Postal Service.


  • Headphones are available to readers who require headphones where listening to talking books may disturb others, such as in hospitals or nursing homes.

Machines and accessories can be mailed under Free Matter for the Blind mailing privileges. Do not pay postage to return or exchange equipment.

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