Skip navigation

MP3 CD Service

Our main way of providing audio books is in MP3 digital format. All our library, nearly 11,000 books, is now in digital format.

Memory sticks are our most popular format for new members joining our service because of the ready availability of affordable players. However many members still utilise our MP3 format CDs. These look like any ordinary CD, however instead of running for only 80 minutes in MP3 format one disc will run for up to 16 hours.

You can find out what we have available using the online catalogue. MP3 CDs have many advantages including:

  • most books fit onto one disk
  • the sound quality is better
  • there is less risk of damage and
  • the postal packets are smaller and easier to fit into letterboxes

To get started with digital audio, you can call us on 01296 432 339 and request a trial MP3 disk.

What is an MP3 disk?

MP3 Disk and wallet

MP3 disks look exactly like ordinary CDs, but the sound has been recorded in such a way that each disk can carry more than 16 hours of recording. All but the longest Calibre books will therefore fit on one disk.

For example,Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes fits onto one disk compared with nine cassettes.

This system is popular for music and commercial audio book publishers also use it.


What to play MP3 disks on

If you want to try MP3 disks you will need a suitable player. MP3 is an ordinary commercially-available system so you can play the disks on:

Listening to an MP3 CD

  • some MP3 machines from the shops, including some portable models
  • your home computer if you have a CD drive
  • most DVD machines and
  • an RNIB Daisy player.

MP3 is not the same as the Daisy system used by the RNIB Talking Book Service.  However many Daisy machines will play MP3 disks.

"What a pleasure the disk was to listen to. The story was good, the reader was good and the sound was top class."
Derek Tolson, Yorkshire - one of our MP3 users

How to choose an MP3 disk player

There are some MP3 players in the shops.

An ipod is a completely different type of MP3 player, often referred to as an Ipod which is designed for downloading material from the internet. This type of player will not play MP3 disks. Shop staff (or your family!) may assume this is the type of player you want - you need to make it clear that you want an MP3 disc player.

Calibre members look at MP3 CD Players

Advice about products and suppliers is given in good faith but please read our disclaimer.

"I found the MP3 disks very easy to use and especially appreciated having books on one disk. The sound quality is brilliant."
Hazel from Devon