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Talking Book Players

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Talking Book Players

A Cassette Machine and an Advanced Digital Player.

The Andrew Heiskell Library's talking books may only be played on National Library Service issued talking book players, or NLS-compatible players that are available for purchase (see below). The library provides digital and cassette players on indefinite loan, free of charge, as long as patrons borrow talking books or magazines at least once a year. The players may be picked up at the library or sent through the mail. Currently, there are two types of talking books and talking book players: digital and cassette, though new books are only being made in the digital format and recorded cassettes are being phased out. 

Digital Talking Book players come in two designs: Standard and Advanced. The Advanced model has a few more features than the Standard model and is helpful to those who listen to non-fiction with many chapters and sections, such as a cookbook. 

The National Library Service updates the software used on the digital talking book player on a regular basis. If a recent talking book is played on your player, it will automatically update the software on your digital talking book player. 

To learn which version of the software your player is using and to obtain your player’s serial number, press the SLEEP button (crescent-shaped button) ten times. The player will keep repeating the numbers until the PLAY button (green rectangular button) is pressed.

You can check for the latest version of the software and download it if needed by following the instructions at:

Some Third-party players compatible with talking books include:

  • APH Book Port Plus
  • Apple iOS mobile devices (for use with BARD Mobile app)
  • HIMS BookSense
  • HIMS BookSense DS
  • HIMS BookSense XT
  • HIMS Sense Notetaker
  • Victor Reader Stream by Humanware
  • Victor Reader Stratus by Humanware
  • Milestone 212
  • Milestone 312
  • PLEXTALK PTN2
  • PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1

The Andrew Heiskell Library does not supply third-party players or cartridges. These may be available from: Perkins Products, the American Printing House for the Blind, and other vendors. 

Cassette Playback Machines

NLS cassette talking books are recorded on four-track cassettes and run at a non-commercial speed.