The support of Listening Books — Scope | Disability forum
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The support of Listening Books

ListeningBooks Member Posts: 1 Listener

When Grace* developed ME five years ago, she found that she was unable to do most of the things she had enjoyed before, and even holding her head up became difficult. Below, she talks about how audiobooks helped her find a way to enjoy stories again.  

“When ME/CFS first hit me in 2013 in a matter of weeks I could no longer drive, climb stairs, walk, or hold my own head or body up. I became light sensitive. It was devastating. I had relied on books to give me an escape from my illness before it became so severe, and suddenly they were gone. Everything was gone. 

I kept trying to read books, but it took so much energy to turn pages that I couldn’t concentrate. I would lose the thread of the book, even for stories I had read before. I thought I would have to give up books completely.  

That’s when I found audiobooks. I am 50 years old, but at first I could only cope with audiobooks that were for primary age children. As my illness has stabilised, I’ve been able to listen to young adult and now even some adult books. I am still mostly lying down resting, and it is often too hard for me to concentrate on the TV, so without audiobooks I’d just be staring at the ceiling. 

I like books that take me out of my own world, into a totally different one. They give me a window on other places, other times, and other people. In the past, Terry Pratchett, Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie have all been my go-to authors when feeling overwhelmed by life, and now I can go back to them again. 

However, I couldn’t afford to buy audiobooks, and free options were often pirated or poor quality. At the time, I was trying to claim illness benefits, but even with help it took 6 months to fill in the forms, and then another year before they were granted in full. I think I only had about £35 per week to live on. 

A friend told me about Listening Books, and they offered me a free membership for the first year, for which I am eternally grateful. It has helped my mental health, and given my ideas to distract from the pain and distress my illness has caused. ”

Listening Books is a national audiobook charity for anyone who finds that ill health, a disability, learning disability, or mental health condition impacts on their ability to read or hold a book. They offer an online and postal audiobook library of over 7,500 audiobooks that can be borrowed through an app available for most phones and tablets, streamed online, or sent direct through the letterbox on MP3 CD with no postage costs or late fees. Membership starts from only £20 per year, but Listening Books can also provide free memberships for anyone who would find this cost difficult to cover. 

For more information on how to become a Listening Books member, please visit the website. You can also email [email protected] or call 020 7407 9417. Do you enjoy reading? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below!

*Name changed for privacy protection. 


  • Wirral_Ostomate
    Wirral_Ostomate Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I have a number of audio books (some as supplemental to the printed copy, others just as audio) and I find that usually they are really engrossing so long as the reader is good. I did have one that sounded (no pun intended) from the blurb like a really great story but the reader was awful and I gave up on after only abot ten minutes.  For any number of reasons, the one that I can listen to time and again is the true story of Apollo 13 - it runs for 12 or 13 hours but is just so enthralliing all the way through.

    Do keep in mind that many local council library services now have talking books which can be "borrowed" in much the same way as printed ones (you donwload and play them and have access to them for a certain period of time) so this may be somthing to consider also and if you are with Amazon Prime then you have Audible too (or even if you are not with Amazon).

    There is a site I looked at ages back (but which now I cannot recall off hand) which offered unlimited downloads when you joined, but it seemed hard to search and at the time I wasn't ready to commit to it (the site did seem genuine).
  • Wirral_Ostomate
    Wirral_Ostomate Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Quick update to my earlier post - the site that I had in mind is called all you can books ( but as mentioned I have not signed up for this myself so can give no personal feedback on the site.

  • teighan
    teighan Member Posts: 15 Connected
    Hi, I would like to look more into audio books as I have problems reading now ,I have m.e too and fibromyaliga. 
  • Weeme56
    Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    I keep meaning to do this! My friend told me about it years ago...but she warned me she tends to fall asleep not knowing where she left off! lol Scribd is a good I had it on my Tablet while going through Chemo & suffered imsomnia.
  • sunflower
    sunflower Member Posts: 33 Courageous
    Such a good post. I too have spent 6 months filling in forms, but have lost the ability to read for pleasure. I am pretty much housebound so choosing audio books online is an option I could do rather than go to the library. My concentration is so poor, fatigue means I may fall asleep and have to replay the same piece over and over! I guess I need to pitch the book and narrator just right. Me/cfs and chronic migraine mean I often spend a lot of time on the sofa. An audio book is a good idea
  • peachy1966
    peachy1966 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    My son has cfs and lot books people have put on line . If ask google on line for audio book call ..... it tells you if it’s out there we found a lot. Computers great help and kind people like reading there book posting it as audio one. And free .

  • sunflower
    sunflower Member Posts: 33 Courageous
    That's such a great tip thank you. When I have the moments of clarity and I feel like looking for some, I don't want to do a huge search. So having some pointers certainly helps. Plus being just on benefits means paying for audio books is pricey. So double thanks. 
  • peachy1966
    peachy1966 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    A a friend told me go on face book and some time you get them cheaper worth a look . Yes money always tight .do search for charity’s that could help if put grants for disability or ring local citizen advice and they have local charities that may be able help . I found very helpful in pointing me right direction there for people need help but have ask 


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