Covid-19 Update

We are aware that this is a very worrying time for members and we are delighted to report that we have maintained our full downloads and streaming services which are accessible 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. We have now also resumed a limited CD service for current members who use CDs.

Members who only access our CD service are still able to take advantage of a free upgrade to our online service during this time.

More information can be found here and you can contact us at or on 020 7407 9417 with any concerns. makes use of cookies. Some cookies on this site are essential. By using our site you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy.      Accept and Close
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General FAQs


Girl holding an MP3 CD playerWhat is an MP3 CD?expand section arrow

An MP3 CD looks just like a standard CD, but can hold up to 12 hours of audio.

Do I need any special equipment to play MP3 CDs?expand section arrow

MP3 CDs will play on most DVD players, computers and modern CD players. Please make sure your CD player has an MP3 logo similar to this: MP3 logo The library can send you out a sample MP3 CD to see if your machine is compatible.

Where can I buy an MP3 CD player from?expand section arrow

Most high street and online retailers offer MP3 CD compatible CD players. Click here to view a list of compatible players. If you are registered as visually impaired, the British Wireless for the Blind organisation ( offers a player loan scheme for those in receipt of means tested benefits.

What is Internet streaming?expand section arrow

Internet streaming is a way of listening to audiobooks directly from your computer, or device without the need to download any files. You just need to be connected to the internet.

Can I listen to books on any computer or laptop?expand section arrow

You can listen to our CDs on any computer with a CD drive. The internet streaming works using Chrome on most devices, with the exception being the Kindle Fire and the Nook. You can download to most portable devices. Please follow this link to find out more about OverDrive Listen, our streaming service and this link for more information on our download service, device by device.

How do I join Listening Books?expand section arrow

Click here to find out how to join our service.

I can't afford the membership fee, can I still join?expand section arrow

We frequently help members in this position. Please email our membership and recruitment administrator who will discuss the options with you.

Who is eligible to join?expand section arrow

Those eligible for membership include people with dyslexia, arthritis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, ME, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, autism, Asperger's syndrome, ADD, ADHD, amputations, Down's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, head injuries, muscular dystrophy, cancer, emphysema, cerebral palsy, heart conditions, motor neurone disease, neurological conditions, paralysis, Parkinson's disease, paraplegia, quadriplegia, polio, spinal injuries, frailty and manual dexterity problems.

These are the most common conditions and illnesses of our members, but there are many more not listed that make a person eligible to join our service. Please get in touch with us if you are at all unsure by telephoning 0207 407 9417 or email

Do you provide any educational audiobooks?expand section arrow

Yes, we support the National Curriculum from Key Stage 2 to A-Level, providing set texts and study guides for English, as well as support for numerous other subjects. Please see our catalogue to find out more. Our younger members can download a certificate when they join the Listening Books Club. The certificate can be found here.

Do you provide the book as well as the audio?expand section arrow

We don't provide the books, however many of our members who want to follow the text source these from their local library.

How long has Listening Books been running?expand section arrow

Listening Books was founded in 1959. Please click here to find out our chairman's thoughts on our founder, Norma Skemp.

How do I request the audiobooks I'd like to listen to?expand section arrow

Please visit our catalogue to choose your audiobooks, then you can either email our library, phone or post your requests to us. For PDF instructions, please click here. If you are already a member and would like to watch a short instructional video about how to request CDs online, click here.

What if I am having trouble making my own choice of titles?expand section arrow

Just get in touch and the library team will be happy to make a list for you. Or once you're a member you will be able to view and choose lists of our popular titles.

Can I pay for my membership online?expand section arrow

Yes, please follow this link.

How can I help Listening Books?expand section arrow

Please see the 'Help us' section of this website to see how you can volunteer, donate or read for us.

Are there overdue fees?expand section arrow

Not at all, we understand that many of our members have different borrowing needs. However, you won't receive a replacement audiobook until you send back the titles you have.

How many audiobooks can I borrow in a year?expand section arrow

Members who choose to stream and download our audiobooks are able to borrow 520 books a year. Those members who choose to borrow MP3 CDs can receive up to 4 audiobooks at a time and the quicker they return an audiobook, the quicker they receive a new title.

Will I get my audiobooks in the order of my request list?expand section arrow

We do our best to send titles from the top of your request list, however if they are issued to another member you will receive something else from your list.

Can I buy audiobooks from you? expand section arrow

As a charity we don't have permission to sell the audiobooks we stock. However, because our membership is subsidised you will often find that it is cheaper to join the service than to buy one unabridged audiobook.

How do I enable the Textic screen reader on this website?expand section arrow

Click on the symbol of the owl's head towards the top of each page of the website, where it says 'click to show text reader'. A Textic 'bar' will appear at the bottom of the page, and from there you can control the reader.

How do I disable the Textic screen reader on this website?expand section arrow

Simply refresh the page to make the Textic 'bar' disappear from the bottom of the website.

My Textic screen reader isn't working. What can I do?expand section arrow

Please email us at and we will contact Textic directly.

In the catalogue screen, how do I view a larger image of the audiobook cover?expand section arrow

Move your mouse to hover over the small audiobook image and a larger one will appear.

How do I increase the text size on the catalogue and other website pages?expand section arrow

Hold down the 'ctrl' button on your keyboard and use either your mouse's scroll wheel or the + and - buttons on your keyboard to increase or decrease the size of the page.

What if I join and am ineligible for membership?expand section arrow

Listening Books is a charity for people with print impairments. If you do not have an illness or disability which makes reading difficult and/or you are not a resident in the UK, you are ineligible for membership. Unfortunately Listening Books incurs a fee for payments via PayPal. If you apply and are ineligible for membership, we will refund the unexpired period of your membership payment minus £5 to cover the fee paid to PayPal and as a contribution to our administration charges. Please contact us if you are in any way unsure.

What if I join and decide to cancel my membership before it expires?expand section arrow

If you decide that Listening Books isn’t for you, as long as you contact us within 2 weeks of joining you will be entitled to a full refund of the membership fee. Those who wish to cancel their membership after 2 weeks from the joining date but within 4 months of the membership period will receive a refund minus the expired period of their membership. Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds after 4 months.

Are you an author or publisher with a question about copyright?expand section arrow

The charity simply could not maintain its service without the active co-operation of publishers and authors. Many authors come into Listening Books to be interviewed for our newsletter or to read their own books. We are grateful to them all. The charity has formal contracts with most of the major commercial audiobook publishers. It is not however, viable for us to clear intellectual copyright for all of our titles. The charity therefore operates an opt out scheme for authors to allow for the unlikely possibility that any author whose book is stocked in our library might want to assert their intellectual rights by asking us to remove their title from our library. In such circumstances we would of course immediately comply. For further information please email Amy Flinders our copyright manager.

I have received an email with an application form but I can't open the attachment, is it available elsewhere?expand section arrow

Yes, please click here for a PDF version of the application form. Alternatively, please click here to see the application form for our sponsored membership program.


Members' FAQs

How many books should I add to my CD request list ?expand section arrow

As many as you like! We recommend that you choose roughly 30 titles to add to your request list to start with. We do not have unlimited copies of titles, so this should ensure that we will have at least one of your chosen titles in the library to send to you when you return your previous CDs.

I haven't received any audiobooks for a while, what should I do?expand section arrow

Please let us know if this ever happens. We add requests as soon as we receive them, so if you haven' t received any titles it is likely that something has gone astray in the post.

What should I do if I've lost or broken an audiobook?expand section arrow

Firstly, please don't worry. If you have lost an audiobook please let us know as you won' t receive a replacement until you tell us.

If an audiobook has broken in your possession, please send it back to us anyway as we may be able to mend it.

We won' t charge you for lost or broken audiobooks. However, we are always grateful for donations made to the charity.

Can I transfer audiobooks to my iPod or MP3 player?expand section arrow

Yes, please visit downloadable to see the selection of titles we offer.

Can I download the audiobooks?  expand section arrow

Yes, please visit our dedicated downloadable website. If you would like to view instructions on how to use the service, click here

How do I change my password?  expand section arrow

If you would like to change your password you can do so online at the login stage by clicking on 'Forgotten your username or password?' Alternatively, telephone the library on 0207 234 0522. If you are organisational member and would like a template so you can print your login details to pass to others in the organisation, you can do so here. If you would like a poster to let other staff members know about the membership, click here.

Can I have a particular audiobook next?expand section arrow

Unless you call to request the title, the computer will automatically pick your audiobooks for you from what is available in the library. If you would like a specific audiobook next, please call or email the library team, and if it is in stock we will send it straight out to you.

How do I send the MP3 CDs back?expand section arrow

When you receive your CDs, please don't throw the packaging away, as you will need the plastic wallet and envelope to return them to us. Once you have finished listening, place the walleted CD back into the envelope and follow the instructions for return. If you have accidentally thrown away your envelope, please contact the library team at or return the CD/s in a padded envelope to: Listening Books, 12 Lant Street, London, SE1 1QH.

Can I return more than one MP3 CD in one envelope?expand section arrow

Yes, you can return up to a maximum of four discs in one envelope. We encourage our members to do this, as it benefits Listening Books' postage bill.

How do I change my service option? expand section arrow

Once a year, when you renew your membership, you will automatically be given the option of changing your service option. However, if you would like to change it during the year, please contact us on 0207 407 9417 or via email at If you would like to set up a Direct Debit for your Listening Books membership, you can download the form here. Please return it to Jenny-Ann Lewis at Listening Books, 12 Lant Street, London, SE1 1QH. Please include your membership number or postcode with the form. If you would like to renew your membership before the expiry date, you can download the form here. Please return it to: Listening Books, 12 Lant Street, London, SE1 1QH with your payment.

Download FAQs

Where can I download your audiobooks?expand section arrow

Members can download our audiobooks by visiting Alternatively you can search our titles from the Listening Books website catalogue page. If you are not yet a member, visit this page to join.

OverDrive provide a range of instructional videos for various devices. You can find them here.

Where can I buy an iPod or MP3 player?expand section arrow

Please follow this link for more information about models and stockists.

Can I download to an Apple Mac?expand section arrow

Yes, all audiobooks in our online catalogue are MP3 formatted audiobooks and can be downloaded onto a Mac. Please click here for instructions on how to use the service if you are a Mac user. Is you are using an IOS device such as an iPad or iPod, click here.

I am having problems downloading your audiobooks. What can I do?expand section arrow

Please visit this page for extensive help with downloading our audiobooks. If you cannot find the solution to your query here, please contact Listening Books directly at Please include the following information:

  • Steps to reproduce the problem (in as much detail as possible)
  • Exact text of any error message (screen shots are helpful)
  • URL(s) of any error page(s) you encounter
  • Library card number
  • Title(s) of problem download(s)
  • Applicable software version (this information can typically be found under Help > About.)
  • Operating system (Mac® OS 10.6.2, Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows XP, etc.)
  • Internet browser and version (Internet Explorer® 8.0, Firefox® 3.0, etc. In most browsers, find this under Help > About.)
  • If applicable, device type and operating system

If you would like the full instructions for using the service that can be found in your welcome pack, click on the appropriate link below:

I am using an Android or Kindle device

I am using an Apple device

I am using a Mac

I am using Windows 7 or above

Streaming FAQs

Image of a young member using the streaming serviceWhat is streaming?expand section arrow

Streaming lets you listen to our audiobooks via the internet. Streaming is different from downloading because streaming lets you listen to the audiobook at almost the same time that it is being sent to your computer. This means you don't have to wait around for files to download before you can listen to them.

What do I need in order to listen?expand section arrow

To listen to our audiobooks you need either speakers or headphones for your computer or compatible device. To find out more about OverDrive Listen please follow this link.

How do I start streaming?expand section arrow

Once you have logged in to the members' area with your unique username and password, click on the section entitled 'Download & Stream!' Search for the audiobook you would like to listen to and click on this image Download. This will take you to the books very own page.

My streaming isn’t working, what can I do?expand section arrow

  • Please ensure that your computer volume has not been muted by the previous user.
  • If you have chosen a case-sensitive password, please check you don’t have Caps Lock activated on your keyboard and look again at your welcome letter to confirm your Username.

Need further help?expand section arrow

If you are still having trouble streaming our audiobooks, email us at Please include your Listening Books membership number in your message, your internet browser and version (such as Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 3), screenshots of the problem if possible, as well as any other relevant information you know.


What do I need in order to listen?expand section arrow

To listen to audiobooks via this website you need either speakers or headphones from your computer, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player (version 9 or higher) installed and set as your default player (see below for help setting your default player). You also need to be connected to the internet and have Javascript enabled (see below for details, however, all modern browsers have this enabled by default). You will also need an LGfL USO. If you have forgotten yours, please contact LGfL directly on 020 8255 5555.

How do I start playing audiobooks?expand section arrow

Visit and click on the blue ‘LAUNCH LISTENING BOOKS’ button in the top right hand corner of the page. This will take you to the LGfL USO login screen. Enter your username and password. This will take you directly to the Listening Books streaming site. You can search for an audiobook by entering the name of a title or author in the search box or you can search by clicking on genre, key stage, suitable age, subject or duration. Click on the play button and the book will start to play.

How do I listen to a specific chapter?expand section arrow

Chapters are listed on the right hand side of the screen. To open the list, click on the expand arrow about the play/pause buttons. Choose the one you would like to listen to and click on it or press the large ‘play’ button at the bottom of the screen.

Can I fast forward or rewind within a chapter?expand section arrow

As you listen to a chapter, you will see the light blue slider move along to the right to indicate how far along in the chapter you are. Click on the slider and drag it to the left to rewind the chapter or to the right to fast forward it.

Where can I get Windows Media Player? expand section arrow

If you use Windows XP/2000/ME/98 you probably already have the Windows Media Player as it comes pre-installed. If you do not have Windows Media Player 9 or higher you can download a version for your operating system from here.

How do I enable Javascript?expand section arrow

Windows Internet Explorer
Note: To allow scripting on this website only, and to leave scripting disabled in the internet zone, add this website to the trusted site zone (please see below for instructions on how to do this).
1. On the 'Tools' menu, click 'Internet Options', and then click the 'Security' tab.
2. Click the 'Internet' zone.
3. If you do not have to customise your internet security settings, click 'Default Level'.
4. If you have to customise your internet security settings, follow these steps:
    a. Click 'Custom Level'.
    b. In the 'Security Settings - Internet Zone' dialogue box, click 'Enable' for 'Active Scripting' in the 'Scripting' section.

Firefox version 2 or 3

1. On the 'Tools' menu, click 'Options'.
2. On the 'Content' tab, click to select the 'Enable Javascript' check box.

Why can’t I have access to everything that is in your library? expand section arrow

We only have a selection of audiobooks available through LGfL. To access our full library of over 7000 audiobooks, you will need to become a member of Listening Books. Follow this link to join today:

Why isn’t my LGfL username and password working?expand section arrow

If you are a teacher in a London school subscribing to LGfL, your username and password should enable you to access our titles for your pupils that struggle to read due to an illness, disability or learning difficulty. Students in mainstream schools will not be able to access this service directly with their LGfL username and password due to copyright restrictions but students in special schools will be able to. If you are unsure of your username and password, please contact LGfL directly on


A member listening


Listening Books members can download thousands of fantastic titles to an iPod or other portable player!

A couple listening

MP3 CDs!

Members can choose from a huge selection of MP3 CDs which we send through the post.



Members can listen to thousands of audiobooks instantly on a huge range of devices and computers, including Macs.

General enquiries:020 7407 9417 /
Library enquiries: 020 7234 0522 /
Registered charity number: 264221 Patron: Stephen Fry
All images posed by models and are © Listening Books unless otherwise stated.

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