Reading charity calls for free post

Listening Books, the charity for people with dyslexia and physical disabilities that make them unable to read print, is campaigning for a massive cut in its postage costs, expected to be £85,000 this year.

The charity, which provides an audio book postage service, wants the Government to allow books sent to readers with dyslexia and physical impairments to qualify for free postage.

At present, only books sent to blind people - through the Articles for the Blind Scheme - can be posted without charge.

Listening Books, which has 4,000 members, currently spends about 15 per cent of its running costs on postage. Although 22 per cent of the charity's members are blind, and therefore qualify for free postage, Listening Books argues that all of its members should have the same entitlement.

Bill Dee, director of Listening Books, said the charity had first raised the issue with the Department of Work and Pensions two years ago, without success.

He said: "We're continuing to grow and we're incurring what is an unfair cost - we'd rather be buying more books for our members than paying for postage."

Dee added that the charity, which has a turnover of £600,000, could end up spending more than £85,000 on postage in 2005 if its membership increases as expected.

Listening Books publicised its campaign on the You and Yours programme on BBC Radio 4 two weeks ago, to coincide with its presence at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

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