Equipment Instructions

Please visit the Illinois State Library's Talking Book and Braille Service website at:

Your Digital Talking Book Machine

When you sign up for Talking Books, you will be issued a digital talking book machine, often called a digital player. It will arrive in a cardboard box, and will come with instructions in large print and braille, a short form for when you return the player, and a digital book in a blue plastic case.

All machines in Illinois go out with a book for patrons to become familiar with the player until their books start arriving.  This book was chosen at random; you are welcome to read it if you like, otherwise you may return it as soon as you have tested your player. To return the book, flip over the mailing card on the outside of the blue plastic case and drop it into any mailbox. The checkout period for all books is six weeks.

Please keep the cardboard box for when you decide to return the player or in the event it needs repair.

You are welcome to use the player for as long as you are in the program, but if you decide to cancel your service, please return it promptly. When you return the player, flip over the mailing label on the box it came in, and tape the box closed to keep it from opening in transit. If you lose the box and need to return the player, please call to request a replacement from Talking Books.

When describing your digital player, the end with the pull-out handle is considered the front, and the side with the power cord tucked into a recessed area is the back. The slot to insert a book is just above the handle on the front of the machine. There is a round red Power button on the top face of the player, close to the left-hand side. Also on the top of the player, centered and close to the front, is a green square Play/Stop button. The yellow volume up and down buttons are located to the right of the round speaker.

On the right side of the player, a few inches from the front, is a headphone port and a USB port. The headphone port is a round hole with a green ring around it, and is compatible with most headphones or ear buds. The USB port will likely have a small plastic cover over it, and is compatible with most thumb drives or flash drives.

Any time your player is turned on without a book in it, you can push any button to hear about its function. If you have the advanced player, you can also listen to a comprehensive user guide by holding down the diamond-shaped Info button for four seconds. This button is located towards the left of the player, above the round Power button.

The digital talking book machines are made to be sturdy, but please take care not to get them wet or expose them to heat. Also, it greatly extends the battery life of your player if you leave it plugged in when not in use, or if you fully charge it at least once every month. If your player needs repairs, please return it to Talking Books—never attempt to repair the machine yourself.

Enjoy reading digital books on your new machine!

Getting Started

  1. Remove the power cord from the rear compartment and plug the player into a power outlet.
  2. The player will turn on and you will hear “Player On.”
  3. Before you insert a book cartridge, press each button to hear a brief description of its use.

Once you are ready to listen to a book:

Hold the cartridge by the finger hole, with the braille label facing up, and firmly insert it into the slot at the front of the player.

The book will start playing automatically. To stop playback press the green square Play/Stop button near the front of the player.

The player will always remember where you left off on a certain title. You can hold down the triangular Fast Forward (FF) and Rewind (RW) buttons to move forwards or backwards in the book. There is no need to rewind the book when you are finished.

Other Features

Sleep Function: The Sleep button, shaped like a crescent moon and located in the middle of the player, tells the player to stop automatically after a period of time. Press this button once for fifteen minutes, twice for thirty, three times for forty-five, or four times for sixty minutes. If you wish to keep listening after it stops, simply press the square green Play/Stop button. This button can help keep you from losing your place if you fall asleep while listening to your book.

Bookshelf Function: If you have multiple items on a cartridge, such as a magazine cartridge or if you have downloaded books to a flash drive, you can navigate between them using the bookshelf function.

  1. To get to the bookshelf, hold down the square green Play/Stop button for five to ten seconds, until the player beeps and says, “Bookshelf”
  2. The player will read off the title of the active book or magazine
  3. Press the triangular Fast Forward (FF) or Rewind (RW) buttons located to the right and the left of the Play/Stop button to move forward or backward in the list of available items.
  4. Hold down the Fast Forward or Rewind buttons to skip to the end or beginning of the list of items. The player will beep twice to indicate that it has reached the end or beginning.
  5. When you have located the desired title, press Play/Stop to activate that title and leave the bookshelf. You may need to press Play/Stop again to begin playback of that title.

Advanced Navigation: If you have the advanced digital player, you can skip by section by pressing the Next and Previous buttons, which are triangular with a line beside the point and are located below the speaker.

Books may have several mark-up levels, which you can toggle between using the Menu button between the Next and Previous buttons. When you press the Menu button, it will announce the current mark-up level (such as Announcements, allowing you to skip to the end of the announcements). When you press it again, it will switch to the next level (such as Section or Chapter). When you have reached the end of the available levels, it will go back to the first option.

Once the Menu button announces the desired level, press the Next or Previous button to skip by that amount.

One of the Menu options is Bookmarks. You can add Bookmarks by pressing the Mark button, a small rectangle with a vertical line through it, located to the right of the Next button wherever you would like to add a bookmark. You can then skip between these marked locations using the Menu and Next or Previous buttons.

Battery Life

The Digital Player begins with a battery life of over 29 hours, but like all rechargeable batteries, this may diminish over time.

Using a flash drive as opposed to the front cartridge slot uses the charge up to twice as quickly, but the player will still charge to its full amount.

Please plug the player in for three to six hours to fully charge it when you first receive it, and any time it has gone a month or longer without being charged.

If your battery will no longer operate the player for at least ten hours, contact Talking Books for a replacement.

Important Safety Information

Please read the full safety information sheet that came with your player.

Do not use the player near water or expose it to rain.

Do not use or store the player near heat sources such as radiators, heat registers, stoves, or other apparatus that produce heat. Do not use the player while it is covered, under a blanket, or inside a box.

Clean only with a dry cloth.

Protect the power cord from being walked on or pinched, particularly at the plugs, and at the point where they exit from the apparatus. When the cord is not in use, store it in the compartment at the back of the player.

Unplug the player during lightning storms.

Refer all servicing to NLS and Talking Books personnel. If your player is damaged or malfunctioning in any way, request a replacement and return the player to Talking Books. Never attempt to open the player or fix anything yourself.

If the keypad is damaged, do not use the player. Request a replacement and return the player for service. 


Please return players to the following address:

Illinois State Library

Talking Book and Braille Service

300 South Second Street

Springfield, IL 62701