Reading out loud to help others

Jan 2, 2019

Almost every time Bob Zeida reads a book, he reads out loud into a microphone.

For the past thirty or so years, Zeida has been recording books and magazines for people with special needs or who can’t read for themselves. The recordings are always free, something which is legal under United States law as long as it is exclusively “for the use of the handicapped” and no one is making a profit.

Zeida, who has lived in Dartmouth for 50 years, started recording magazines for the Talking Information Center in the eighties. The Center broadcasts recorded books, newspapers, and magazines 24 hours a day for those who can’t read for themselves.

After tiring of the commute to Marshfield, Zeida began recording audiobooks at his home. “In those days, they were all on these little cassettes,” Zeida said. When he recorded the first Harry Potter book, it spanned 32 cassette tapes.

When choosing books, Zeida tends to focus on best-sellers and books which have been requested by teachers.

Zeida first connected with the Potter Elementary School and shared his recordings with the teachers there before expanding to all the other Dartmouth public schools and Bishop Stang High School, along with schools in Rochester, Fairhaven, and Rhode Island.

“There’s never been a dime taken by me from anybody for anything,” Zeida said. “It’s all been good will and the gift God gave me.”

Believe it or not, Zeida wasn’t much of a reader growing up. He’s always been more of a fan of communicating — he studied broadcasting in college. Recording books is a way for him to use his communication skills and diction to help others, and it is something he has grown to love.

“It’s a gradation of keeping myself interested and active and helping people all the time,” Zeida said.

To contact Zeida and request a list of his hundreds of recordings, send an email to