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
Text to speech screen reading accessibility. Click to listen to website. Listen to this website

Our history

Our founder, Norma Skemp, with Angela RipponThe charity was founded in 1959 by Norma Skemp, after a serious car accident in 1954 caused her to virtually lose her sight. When she applied to another charity for help, she found that they could not help her because she could still ‘see something’. Norma immediately recognised a gap in provision for people with disabilities and she set up Listening Books. Since then the charity has grown and now supplies audiobooks to people with the full range of print impairments.

Since 2002, we have pioneered an educational initiative called Sound Learning. Its aim is to make educational books available in audio formats, thereby improving access to the curriculum for pupils with a physical or leaning disability, long term condition, or mental illness which affects how they read or hold a book.

Today, Listening Books is at the forefront of audiobook technology. We launched our internet streaming service in 2005, shortly followed by an MP3 CD service in 2007. Then in early 2010 we introduced audiobook downloads in partnership with OverDrive. This has continued to give our members enormous quality, convenience and choice.

Follow this link to listen to an audio tribute to Norma Skemp, which was written by our chairman, Gillian Howarth, in 2003.


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 /
Fax: 020 7403 1377
Registered charity number: 264221 Patron: Stephen Fry
All images posed by models and are © Listening Books unless otherwise stated.

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twiiter Instagram Listening Books Blog

Website designed by The Gallery Partnership