As well as audiobooks, Isis's parent company Ulverscroft also produce large print books. To celebrate their fiftieth year of publishing them, here's a little background to our wonderful world...
The world of 1964 is a far cry from the world of 2014.
It was a world which saw Alec Douglas-Home as Prime Minister until October of that year and replaced by Harold Wilson. It was the year that £10 banknotes were issued for the first time since the Second World War; HM Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to her fourth child; it saw an end to what was then the longest criminal trials and jury retrials in English legal history when verdicts were passed on the Great Train Robbers; Liverpool won the Football League First Division for the sixth time in their history; Mods and Rockers fought out their differences at Clacton beach; The Beatles' first film A Hard Day's Night was released...
And Dr. Frederick Thorpe, OBE, pioneered and developed the format of large print, enabling those with visual impairments to once again, experience the joy of reading.
This wouldn't have been possible, however, without Dr. Thorpe's continued commitment and passion to make this format available, together with the intervention of fate, in the name of the doyenne of crime writing, Dame Agatha Christie. A chance meeting with Agatha Christie at Collins Publishers resulted in the great lady herself wholeheartedly endorsing this new and untried format and giving Dr. Thorpe carte blanche to publish all her titles in large print.
Large Print in its unforgettable quarto format, with its plain, utilitarian jackets, (though even in those early days, colour coded to enable the library user to easily select their preferred genre) and limited number of titles, was born.
Continually driven in his passion to serve the needs of the visually impaired by making large print available through libraries. Dr. Thorpe travelled the world visiting library after library until large print made its presence known in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
Fast-forward to the early 1990s and the wonder of the "talking book" in cassette format made its first appearance! For those whose sight had deteriorated to such an extent that even large print was not readable, this opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. Now those with visual impairments were no longer excluded from access to books and could discuss books they had "read" with their sighted friends and acquaintances.
The formats of both large print and unabridged audiobooks continued to grow in both popularity and range of titles published. Our large print titles became smaller, more lightweight and fitted with modern jackets. The large print book had become almost identical to its standard print counterpart.
Cassette format was joined by CD format, and MP3 CD, and finally, in 2014, fifty years after it all began, Ulverscroft launched its new digital platform.
Ulverscroft's digital platform has been developed specifically to provide free access to eAudio and eBooks to all library patrons in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Designed with simple and easy user navigation, whilst integrating directly with the Library's Management System, this platform contains an excellent selection of titles, ranging from Lee Child to Jo Nesbø.