On Monday night our local branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors had its regular get together for a cuppa, chockie biscuits and chin wag. We had Julie Macfie from the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind come along to speak about their talking books programme.
New Zealand authors have a clause in their contracts which states their books can be turned into talking books for no royalty return, so it was great to hear about the whole process and how hugely people benefit from it. Julie read excerpts from letters of appreciation from listeners about how the service opens up their world, allowing a time to escape and to experience good literature. The service is free to members of the foundation, including the cost of the machines that play the books. Even the delivery service is free.
Some facts for you...
There are 11500 RNZFB members in New Zealand
Approx 19000 books and 11000 magazines are issued from the RNZFB library each month
They narrate around 130 new books and printed materials each year.
It costs around $1500.00 to produce each book.
They also purchase books from overseas, so add around 450 books to the library each year.
The book player machines cost $540.00 each.
The Foundation funds this by finding sponsorship for everything.
This is a free and vital service for the blind!
If you or a business you know could sponsor a book or a machine please contact Julie at JMacfie@rnzfb.org.nz
It was a very informative and interesting evening. It made me even more delighted my books have been made into talking books.