Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web Digital Audiobook Players By Andrew Leibs Writer Former Lifewire writer Andrew Leibs is an award-winning author with a particular expertise in technology that makes communication and reading more accessible. our editorial process LinkedIn Andrew Leibs Updated February 11, 2020 Around the Web How to Get a VPN Tweet Share Email 01 of 03 Victor Reader Stream Library Edition HumanWare Device Options for Those Who Read & Learn by Listening Digital audiobooks are a crucial educational and cultural resource for people with visual and cognitive impairments and print disabilities. There are many ways to play digital audiobooks one downloads from their computer or the web. Many commercial audiobooks are recorded in standard file formats such as MP3 or WMA. Online publishers also create, such as Audible.com, have special players and smart phone apps readers listen with. There are also special formats used by major educational providers such as Learning Ally and the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped NLS). These and other organizations record books in a format called DAISY, which stands for Digital Accessible Information System. DAISY books have a hierarchical structure that makes it easy for readers to navigate among sections, chapters, and pages. The best digital players, like the ones featured here, support all the major audio file formats a blind or learning disabled reader is likely to use. The Victor Reader Stream supports most digital audio file formats, including DAISY, which is used to record navigable audiobooks for print-disabled readers. Few digital audiobook players can match HumanWare's Victor Reader Stream Library Edition for versatility and ease of use. The pocket-sized Stream supports every major file format print-impaired readers use, including: DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System), TXT, HTML, WAV, MP3, WMA, FLAC, SPX, and Duxbury Braille BRF (Braille Refreshable Format). The device also syncs with audiobooks sources such as Audible.com, Bookshare, and Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic). The Stream’s defining feature is a cartridge holder to play digital Talking Books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). A digital decryption key must be installed to play NLS books. Content is organized into “bookshelves” for Talking Books, non-DISAY audiobooks, Audible.com books, music, podcasts, text files, and notes—a simple hierarchy that users navigate with the Stream’s number pad. 02 of 03 SpeakEasy Offers High-Tech Reading Help to Tech-Wary Seniors New Designs Unlimited, LLC The SpeakEasy Reading Machine scans printed text and reads aloud in seconds -- a great high-tech solution for seniors who don't want or need a full computer. The SpeakEasy is a simple, standalone reading machine that scans text from printed documents and reads it aloud in seconds -- perfect for reading the mail, newspaper, magazine articles, or books. It’s an ideal reading solution for seniors and those who are blind or visually impaired. The machine is designed for immediate use: it requires no training. Simply place printed matter on the tray. Once the text is scanned, the machine uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and text-to-speech technology to read it aloud in seconds. The SpeakEasy automatically orients even upside-down text and reads columns in the right order. An intuitive, arcade-style controller enables users to select voice type and reading speed and to scroll through the document. The machine has two reading voices, a natural-sounding female voice and a more automated-sounding male voice included to provide more precise pronunciations of words. The SpeakEasy Reading Machine can store as many as 10,000 documents. 03 of 03 BookSense Reader GW Micro BookSense is a portable audiobook player-recorder and document reader that supports many digital formats, including DAISY audio, MP3, WMA, and Audible books. The HIMS line of BookSense players, which include BookSense, BookSense XT, and BookSense DS, play audio books and music files and read text files aloud using text-to-speech. The player is designed for the visually impaired and can also assists students with learning disabilities and seniors. Each BookSense model plays DAISY audiobooks from Audible.com, BookShare, Learning Ally, and National Library Service Talking Books. It also reads text in a wide variety of document formats, including DOC, RTF, TXT, HTML, and BookShare braille. BookSense enables users to control reading speed, place digital bookmarks, and record voice memos using the player’s built-in or an external microphone. The unit’s rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of continuous use. BookSense also has a dedicated button for checking the time that works even when the machine is off.