Today (Tuesday 31 May 2022) Calibre Audio has launched a new charitable partnership with Penguin Random House UK, ensuring the publisher’s entire audio back catalogue – around 6,000 titles – and future releases are freely available to Calibre’s members.
Calibre Audio is the only national charity in the UK to provide a completely free for life audiobook service to anyone who has a print disability. Their 16,000 members have a range of print disabilities that make reading and understanding text difficult including visual impairments, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, and physical dexterity conditions.
Earlier this year Calibre made its service available for free to people with long Covid. The Office for National Statistics suggests that around 1.3 million people in the UK have long Covid and as a result may experience extreme tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and ‘brain fog’, all of which impacts ability to read text.
Anthony Kemp, CEO of Calibre Audio, said:
The addition of Penguin Random House UK's entire back catalogue to Calibre's collection will make such a difference to the reading experience of all our members. We passionately believe that everyone should be able to freely access books in the format they require and this partnership is a huge leap forward, demonstrating to our members that they are important not only to our charity but to Penguin Random House and their authors, too.
Rebecca Sinclair, Audience, Brand and Communications Director at Penguin Random House UK, said:
At Penguin Random House UK we are determined to make sure that everyone has equal access to books, and can experience the joy of reading. Calibre is doing excellent work to ensure that print disabled readers have access to thousands of books and stories and we are delighted to partner with them towards this goal by donating our entire audiobook catalogue.
The partnership builds on Penguin Random House’s efforts to make books more inclusive and accessible, as detailed in its social impact strategy. Other actions already taken by them include:
Ensuring all newly published e-books meet high standards of accessibility, including introducing measures like fully searchable and resizable text and including clear navigation
Donating tens of thousands of print books each year to foodbanks, homeless shelters and community groups across the UK through social enterprise Neighbourly
Both organisations are very excited about their new partnership and the impact it will have on Calibre's members.