Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Speaking Book?

A hardcover, 16-page book accompanied by audio recordings for each page, designed to the specifications of individual customers to communicate specific messages. For those who cannot read, these books provide an exciting and relevant way of interpreting the messages, enabling users to see, hear, and for those that are able, read all at the same time, ensuring that comprehension of important messages is maximized. Voice recordings are usually done by local celebrities which further empowers communities, generates excitement around the information, and lends credibility to the messages.


Is there more than one model of a Speaking Book?

We offer two sizes of Speaking Book, our standard large size and another smaller size that fits easily into a child’s backpack or small carry bag. All Speaking Books are available in either single language format, or dual language, allowing the user to switch between say their home dialect and the countries official language. We have also developed a 26 button Speaking Book for use by children to learn the sight and sounds of the alphabet.


Who uses Speaking Books?

Books are used by community workers, nurses, doctors, etc. to communicate important health and development information to community members in impoverished communities around the world. However, many communities don’t have access to trainers and experts so the Book stands in place of a trainer once NGOs and pharmaceutical companies are no longer in the area. In both cases, Speaking Books are left behind for communities to share information and so that end users are able to replay the messages at their own pace as many times as necessary to absorb the information.


Who designs a Speaking Book?

SPEAKING BOOKS works directly with the client to develop the design, copy, illustrations, and voice recordings. SPEAKING BOOKS is a one-stop shop, providing its own illustrators, copy writers, designers, and local celebrities for the audio recordings. Clients are welcome to supply as much or as little of their own content for the books but SPEAKING BOOKS will work closely with the client to ensure all content matches the vision and is compliant with company and government regulations.


How long does production take?

Once the final book layout is approved, production will be completed in 45 days and will be ready for shipping.


What languages can be used for Speaking Books?

Speaking Books can be recorded in any language desired by the client. Books can even feature 2 languages in one book, often English, Spanish or Swahili plus one more. For a full list of languages that have previously been recorded, check out the SPEAKING BOOKS library.


Can Speaking Books be re-printed?

Yes – almost every existing Speaking Book has been re-printed several times.


How do you ensure that a Speaking Book is culturally acceptable and relevant?

SPEAKING BOOKS always involves the local community to understand the culture and relevant issues. By involving local artists, celebrities, and writers, SPEAKING BOOKS ensures that the books and its messages will be appropriately expressed and therefore readily understood.


Who illustrates a Speaking Book?

Talented illustrators and designers around the world create the illustrations. For a list of some of our artists click here. SPEAKING BOOKS is constantly expanding its artist list as clients want to reach new communities around the world. All illustrations and copy are verified by locals to ensure accuracy of the messages.


Whose voice is used to record a Speaking Book?

SPEAKING BOOKS uses local celebrities whenever possible or appropriate for the Books. Celebrity recordings serve as a powerful tool to empower the poor communities and lend credibility to the messages.


How long is the recording?

The standard module is a 5 minute /300 second recording, but we also offer extended 10 and 15 minute sound tracks.


How long does a Speaking Book last?

The Speaking Book is typically passed around to many people in the community and we have seen that even after 2 or more years of use, the printing and binding are still in good condition.
All SPEAKING BOOKS are supplied with 2 easily replaced AAA batteries which are usually good for 80-100 complete plays. Rarely is it necessary to replace the batteries.


How many people usually see and hear a Speaking Book?

According to research, we have found that each Speaking Book is shared with at least 27 people, ensuring that the messages are seen and heard repeatedly in communities by many people. We have studied some communities where in excess of 50 users were able to access each book making this an extremely low cost intervention.


Can I see an example of a book before I make my decision?

Yes, simply click on request a sample and provide your information and SPEAKING BOOKS will be happy to send a sample book your way. While we are happy to supply free samples, for delivery addresses outside of South Africa and the USA, we do ask that you provide your Fedex or UPS number for shipping the book samples.