Talking Book News Bulletin, Fall 2010.........Español

Internal Links
Director's Report
Holiday Closings
More Large Print Books
Featured Author: Jack Higgins
Austin Information Radio
Two Sources of blank cartridges and cables

Books Worth Revisiting: Harry Potter

Related Links
Loan Policy
Spotlight on Texas Books
Disability Information & Referral Center
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:
Update on the budget:  The State Library has submitted a budget request to the Legislature for Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013. This budget, which includes the budget for the Talking Book Program (TBP), will be considered during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, which convenes on January 11, 2011.  As legislators work to close the estimated $20-25 billion budget deficit, state agencies could lose some funding and staffing. State agencies were allowed to request additional funding for special projects; among the requests made by the State Library is an additional $300,000 for TBP to upgrade its automation system during Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013. However, with the state facing that budget gap which by law must be closed, these additional requests may not be funded. As we know more about the budget situation, we will put this information in future newsletters. 
NLS ending production of books on cassette:  The National Library Service (NLS) has announced it has placed the last orders for new books on cassettes. Once these books come in, there will not be any more new books produced on cassette. All new recorded books will only be available on digital cartridge or on the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) web site. If you wish to read the newest audio books, you will need to have a digital talking book machine (DTBM) or other authorized player. If you have not signed up for a DTBM, please call 1-800-252-9605 to ask for one from a reader consultant. We have plenty in stock, so you should not have to wait for one to be sent to you.
If you still prefer to read your books on cassette, you may keep your cassette machine and continue to receive books from our library. All current and older titles are available in cassette format, but the newest titles published after October 2010 will not be available in cassette.
Magazines will continue to be produced on cassette for the immediate future.  Magazines also are available for download on the BARD site.
If you are interested in signing up for BARD, please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant to help you sign up. We also will continue to receive new books in Braille and large print formats.
Farewell to the Unabridged Project:  Since 2006, TBP has participated in the Unabridged Project, a service that provides downloadable audio books. Originally, the service was conceived to be a temporary or “bridge” service for those who wanted to use downloadable digital books while waiting for NLS to launch the BARD site. Over 3,000 TBP patrons have signed up for the service since TBP joined the consortium of NLS network libraries that have participated in the project.
At its September meeting, the Unabridged executive board voted to close down the project at the end of the year, on December 31, 2010. A variety of factors brought about this decision, the most important being that BARD is now well established and flourishing, and because BARD is so popular with NLS patrons, use of Unabridged has fallen off and will continue to decline. Members of the executive board felt that the project has exceeded its original goals and that now “a graceful exit” is called for. Instead of viewing the end of the project with sadness, member libraries may congratulate themselves on a successful completion.  We appreciate the enthusiastic response of our patrons who tested and made use of the service. While there are differences between the two, we hope that those of you who have used the Unabridged service will continue to get equal enjoyment from the much larger BARD service.
Enrolled patrons have been notified of the end of the project. Unabridged will be available to Texas patrons through the last day, but those patrons who wish to continue to have access to free downloadable audio books through TBP should sign up for BARD at
Missing digital books:  Whenever there is a big change, it sometimes takes a while to learn the new routine. Such is the case with the new digital talking books. Perhaps the problem is because mailing cases for digital books are thinner, or perhaps the problem is because there is one—and only one—cartridge in those thin mailing cases. Whatever the reason, a lot of you are forgetting to put the book in the mailing case before sending it back to us. So, we have the empty mailing case, but you have a book that you can’t mail back, and the book is still on your account and that is causing you to have an overdue notice and preventing you from getting another book to read. Whew! Here’s a simple checklist to help you and us get it all straight:

  • Before you put that thin mailing case into the mail, open it up one last time and make certain the book is in the case.
  • Check that the latches on the case are firmly locked into place.
  • If you find the book still in your possession after you mailed the case, call 1-800-252-9605 or send an email to and tell us that you need an envelope for a missing book. We’ll send you one to put your book in so you can mail it back to us.
  • Same thing as above if you find that you mailed back the wrong book in the wrong mailing case.
  • Please do not cram two cartridges into one mailing case. That just tears up the case, and it may pop open in the mail and both books be lost. Then, you have two books on your account that will generate overdue notices. And that will keep you from getting two new books to read.

Remember that we do not have a lot of digital books right now, so every problem like this prevents you and someone else from having a digital book. Please take just those few extra minutes to make certain that your book goes into the mail in the right way.
DTBM call project:  Over 80% of our patrons now have a digital talking book machine (DTBM) and are really enjoying the ease of use and excellent sound quality of the new digital talking books. Reader consultants are calling the remaining 20% of TBP’s patrons who still do not have a DTBM. If you are not ready for a DTBM, we will note that on your account. If your contact information is not current or you do not respond to our phone messages, your account will be suspended and service stopped until you contact us and update your account. Please be on the lookout for our call, and we hope that you will soon be enjoying the new digital services. Remember that you do not have to return your cassette player in order to receive a DTBM; you may use both machines if you like.
Newsletter by email:  Do you want to receive our newsletter by email instead of on paper? If so, please call a reader consultant at 1-800-252-9605 or send an email to Tell us that you want to change your newsletter preference to email and give us your email address. The newsletter also is available on our web page at and on the toll-free information line at 1-866-388-6397.

Until next time,
Ava Smith, Director, Talking Book Program

Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays.

  • Thursday & Friday, November 25 and 26 – Thanksgiving Day and Day after Thanksgiving
  • Friday, December 24 – Christmas Eve

Of course, you can leave a message or send e-mail on a holiday.

More Large Print Books

Hundreds of titles in large print have recently been added to the collection including many romances, mysteries and westerns.  While a list of every large print book in the collection is not currently available, a bibliography of the most recently added books can be found on our website at In addition, our reader consultants can email or mail you the bibliography in large print format or review titles, authors and subjects with you over the phone when you call 1-800-252-9605.

Featured Author: Jack Higgins

(born in 1929)
Jack Higgins is one of the pen names used by Harry Patterson, a British writer of dozens of best selling books. TBP has forty of his books. Higgins’s most famous book, The Eagle Has Landed, was published in 1975.  This thriller sold tens of millions of copies all around the world and was made into a popular movie with the same title.
In The Eagle Has Landed, German paratroopers land in England planning to capture Winston Churchill. The book’s suspenseful, fast-paced plot has kept readers quickly turning pages for thirty-five years. This book has some strong language.
This book is available in three formats that can be mailed to you including large print, cassette, and Braille. To order this book mailed to you, please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for the format you prefer. Braille is BR 02938. Cassette is RC 36730. Large Print is LB 01760. This book is also available for download as DB 36730.

Austin Information Radio (AIR) is a free radio reading service sponsored by the Austin Council of the Blind, Inc. People in the greater Austin area can listen to it on a frequency operated by KUT-FM on a specially tuned radio that AIR loans to people with a visual, physical or learning disability.  AIR offers articles from local newspapers and other Austin-area publications.  For more information, please call Douglas Foxworth at 512-452-8244.
Similar services are offered in four other Texas cities. In most cases, you need to be within 70 miles of the radio station to tune in the radio broadcast. Please call one of these numbers to learn more information: Dallas 214-871-7668; El Paso 915-532-4495; Houston 713-622-2767; and San Antonio 210-829-4223.

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Two vendors sell blank cartridges and USB cables to download digital books


Adaptive Technology / Perkins School for the Blind  One gigabyte cartridge without USB cable: $10.99; with cable $15.95. Two gigabyte cartridge without USB cable: $11.99; with cable $16.95. USB cable only: $5.


Mention of a product or service in this news bulletin does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs and items that may be helpful to our patrons.

Books Worth Revisiting: Harry Potter

A little over three years ago, J.K. Rowling published the seventh and final book in her best-selling series about a young wizard named Harry Potter.  So phenomenal was Rowling’s seventeen-year journey of writing and publishing, that the reading world will likely never again see anything to match it.  In 2010, the opening of a major theme park and the release of part one of the movie version of the final book attest to the series’ enduring power to grab and hold a reader’s attention.
If you’ve read the series, now is a good time for a second visit to the world of Harry and faithful friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger; like most readers, you galloped through the text at such a rapid pace that you missed things, and by now, you have forgotten even more.  If you haven’t read the series, you owe yourself the treat.  Harry’s story is the classic battle of good versus evil, with the fate of the whole world hinging on the outcome of each encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort.  Along the way, Harry learns and uses the valuable lessons of friendship, honor, discipline, adherence to principles, and the ultimate power of love--both to save and to redeem.  While written for young readers, the series offers adult readers much to enjoy and to admire, especially the intricate storytelling and the myriad allusions from literature, history, mythology, and contemporary events.  And book sellers will never again have such a wonderful marketing slogan as, “Severus Snape, Friend or Foe?”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone DB 47260; RC 47260; BR 17774; BT 03288; LB 04556; BARD download.  Orphaned and living with his aunt on sufferance, Harry Potter discovers on his birthday that he is a wizard with an awful heritage but also a bright future at the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  He also forges his lifelong friendships with Ron Weasely and Hermione Granger. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 47260 / RC 47260 / BR 17774 / LB 04556 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets DB 48437; RC 48437; BR 12276; BT 03287; LB 04674; BARD download. Having literally survived his first year at Hogwart’s, Harry now embarks on his education in earnest and must unlock the secrets of an ancient school legend. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 48437 / RC 48437 / BR 12276 / LB 04674 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DB 48772; RC 48772; BR 12390; BT 03281; LB 04695; BARD download. Harry finds himself the target of a dangerous escaped prisoner, a man who was once close to Harry’s parents. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 48772 / RC 48772 / BR 12390 / BT 03281 / LB 04695 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DB 50228; RC 50228; BR 12764; BT 03286; LB 04825; BARD download. Thinking his youth and inexperience exempts him from a famous competition, Harry unexpectedly finds himself announced as a contestant. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 50228 / RC 50228 / BR 12764 / BT 03103 or 03286 / LB 04825 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix DB 56062; RC 56062; BR 14705; BT 03289; LB 04870; BARD download. As Lord Voldemort becomes stronger, Harry, Ron, and Hermione join a secret society.  Harry also begins special training to combat Voldemort. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 56062 / RC 56062 / BR 14705 / BT 03289 / LB 04870 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DB 60262; RC 60262; BR 16000; LB 04901; BARD download. Harry must battle temptation when he stumbles upon a magical textbook.  Harry also continues his special training but loses an important mentor. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 60262 / RC 60262 / BR 16000 / LB 04901 or download it from the BARD site.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DB 64495; RC 64495; CA 04530; BR 17210; BT 03270, 03280, or 03282; LB 05287; BARD download. As full-scale civil war breaks out, Harry, Ron, and Hermione must use all their knowledge, skills, and courage to solve the riddles that will finally and forever destroy Lord Voldemort and his followers.  Harry also must make a momentous decision. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 64495 / RC 64495 / CA 04530 / BR 17210 / BT 03270, 03280, or 03282 / LB 05287 or download it from the BARD site.

The first six of these books are available in Spanish. The final book in the series, Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte, is in process. To order one of the first six titles in Spanish, please request one of these numbers.
        Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal BR 14710 o RC 50988
        Harry Potter y la Camara Secreta BR 14711 o RC 50989
        Harry Potter y el Prisonero de Azkaban BR14712 o RC 50990
        Harry Potter y el Caliz del Fuego BR 14713, RC 52975 o DB 52975
        Harry Potter y la Orden de Fenix BR 15643 o RC 58958
        Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe BR 16304 o RC 61014


Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)
512-936-0685 (fax)

    The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) 800-223-1839 two gigabyte cartridge: $12 and USB cable: $5.
Page last modified: August 23, 2011