My mother (84 years old) is visually impaired (legally blind) and has been using audio books for a number of years.
Tapes (a format which is easy to use and pretty straight forward) are being phased in favor of audio files downloaded from the internet.
Mom has encountered some issues with the new technology: books are normally in MP3 format and must be 'read' using a music player like Windows Media Player.
Bookmarking is either non-existant or overly complex as this function is not a priority for media players. She is currently using Winamp, as it has a 'bookmark' feature,
but it's a fairly complex process when the user has problems seeing.
Mom still has some limited vision - she uses her computer (connected to a 40 inch LCD TV, resolution set to 800 X600) to find and download books,
Unfortunately, she remains tied to the computer to 'read' the books she has downloaded. We've tried a number of MP3 players but the screens and control are just too small.
Does anyone have any experience/recommendations about the current crop of e-book readers and whether or not they are suitable for the visually impaired?
What we are looking for:
1) Can books download in audio format or can the reader convert to audio and play the book?
ideally, conversion to audio hould be automatic, or very easy to do
2) Can the reader bookmark the audio file?
3) Must have easy to use controls (the larger the display and the buttons, the better)
4) user friendly - see restrictions above
5) broad format support.
6) reader is no larger than a regular hard-covered book - portability
7) battery life - longer is always better
Thanks for your assistance