This section offers some helpful information based on the most frequently asked questions by library patrons about NLS Digital Talking Books.

Tab/Accordion Items

If you are signed up for more than one magazine subscription from NLS and get their magazines on cartridge, receive the library's locally recorded magazines cartridge or download from BARD more than one book to a flash drive or cartridge, the player has a "Bookshelf" mode that will allow you to listen to all of your items. Use the following directions (adapted from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's  February 2016 newsletter) to help you.

Here's how to use the Bookshelf mode:

  1. Insert the cartridge or flash drive into your player.
  2. Hold down the Play/Stop button (the large square shaped button in the center of the bottom row of buttons, just above the cartridge slot) until you hear a beep and the phrase "Bookshelf". You are now in the Bookshelf mode and can release the button.
  3. Use the fast forward or rewind buttons (the triangle shaped buttons directly to the right and left of the Play/Stop button) to move forward or backward along the bookshelf to each title. The player will beep and read to you the title selected.
  4. When you find a title you want to hear, press and release the Play/Stop button. You will hear a beep and the title will begin to play.
  5. To switch to a new title, hold down the Play/Stop button until you hear a beep and Bookshelf. Then navigate backwards or forwards to a new title and push the Play/Stop button to listen.

You don't need to rewind a Digital Talking Book to make it play again. To make it play again, hold down the FAST FORWARD button until you reach the end of the book. Then push the green PLAY/STOP button twice in a row to reset the book.

Navigating around a book depends on the type of player you have:

  • DS1 – Navigating a book or magazine using a DS1 is simple and straightforward, but limited to just the  <Fast-forward> or <Rewind> buttons.  Holding down one of these buttons the player will announce the amount of time going forward or backwards and when it finds a chapter marker it will make an audible beep that will tell you that you have come to a new chapter.
  • DA1 – Navigating a book using DA1 offers, in addition to the DS1 navigation, many more ways to navigate around a book or magazine. Many non-fiction books (such as cookbooks and the Bible) and some fiction have additional navigation beyond just chapters. Here's how to navigate using these other "levels" on the DA1:
    • Set the way you want to navigate by choosing from the sections or what NLS calls “levels” listed using the <Menu> button
    • Then use the <Previous> or <Next> buttons, on either side of the <Menu> button, to move to the next testament, chapter, recipe, etc.

A couple of levels of navigation can be confusing:

  1. Phrase is a level of navigation used as an indicator of a cassette side for recordings that originated on recorded cassette. These are generally 88-minute jumps (the length of a cassette side) and may be useful on recordings that have been converted from analog cassette tape.
  2. Bookmark –Can create a bookmark at any time while listening to book.  This can be useful for marking a place in a book for later reference or if you choose to listen to another book but want to come back a place in a book you are currently reading.
    • To set a book mark press the <Mark> button once. You will then hear “bookmark inserted”. Pressing the <Mark> button again will remove the bookmark and the player will say “bookmark removed.”
    • To find your bookmarks use the <Menu> button and go through levels to get to "bookmark" level.  Then press the <Previous> or <Next> buttons to go to the desired place.  You will also hear the time elapsed in the book before starting to play at the bookmarked section.

The following are only examples or representations using some of the more popular book types with multiple kinds of navigation.

Bibles and Religious texts

The Bible, DB68777—Use the menu button to navigate between levels.  The Bible is marked up to navigate by:

  • Front Matter (Table of Contents, Introduction)
  • Testament – NLS Level 1
  • Book – NLS Level 2
  • Chapter – NLS Level 3
  • Phrase
  • Bookmark

Note on the Book of Psalms - this is found at the "Book" level. Once you have navigated by "Book" to the Book of Psalms (or Psalms) you can then jump by a level called "Psalm" within this section.


The Conscious Cook, DB70667 - Use the menu button to navigate between levels. Most cookbooks have 3 main levels of navigation, but readers often mark favorite recipes and sections, which adds one more level:

  • Chapter
  • Section
  • Recipe
  • Bookmark

A Handbook, Guide or Instruction Manual

Fieldbook, DB70166, 4th ed. of Boy Scout manual - Use the menu button to navigate between levels. This work has 5 main levels:

  • Front Matter –goes to Back Matter (Credits)
  • Part
  • Chapter
  • Section
  • Subsection
  • Unit

Short Story Collections

Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, DB64324 -  - Use the menu button to navigate between levels. Most short story and other collections of writngs have 3 main levels:

  • Front Matter
  • Chapter
  • Story

To reset a book that says "End of Book", push the green PLAY/STOP button twice in a row. This will reset the book to the beginning of the book. You should now hear the narrator say the name of the book, the author and the book number. Then the book will begin playing.

If you get the message "End of Book" when you first play a digital talking book, either downloaded or on cartridge, this indicates that the digital talking book player has played this book before. The player remembers if you have played a book before, provided it has not been serviced. So if you've ordered or downloaded a book because it's a favorite or as a replacement to a damaged copy, the player will start reading the book from where you left off. It that was the end of the book then that's the reason why you have received this message.

Book Error - means something is wrong with the Book on the cartridge or downloaded and will not play on the player. On rare occassions, books do have errors and should be reported to NLS and need to be returned. In the case of a book on cartridge, turn off the player and remove the cartridge. Then try carefully reinserting it into the player to see if the error goes away. If it does not then either order a new copy or download a new copy and this should fix this error.

Cartridge Error - means something has happened and the player is having difficulty reading the cartridge itself or the USB drive may not be readable. In these cases, the cartridge or flash drive may not be inserted all the way or there was an issue when it was inserted. In this case, turn off the player, remove the USB drive or cartridge and turn the player back on and wait for it beep. Then reinsert the USB drive of cartridge and often times this will fix it. If it still says Cartridge Error, return the cartridge to the library or try a new USB drive and download the book to try again.