PENSIONERS fear a decision to start charging for audiobooks at a library will hit the pockets of the elderly and poor-sighted.
Peter and Pearl Gillingham, who live off Bath Road, were disappointed to learn the Treaty Centre library was charging 80p to rent out recordings of their favourite literature.
Mr Gillingham, 83, said: "My wife has inoperable cataracts and she loves reading books, but can't.
"We went along to the library and took out three audiobooks and were told we would have to pay £2.40. I can maybe under-stand 20p or 30p, but it is a bit more than we think is fair.
"It will affect the poor, people with sight problems and the elderly. We are drawing our pensions and we have to watch the pennies."
Mr Gillingham said as a result of the new charging scheme, his wife, 80, will not be able to borrow them as regularly as before.
David Morris, 76, of Woodland Gardens, Isleworth, said: "They should not be charging for them because they are used by people with sight problems or even learning difficulties.
"It's just not right. These are often people who are on benefits and they shouldn't have to pay for these things."
A spokesman for John Laing, which runs the borough's libraries on behalf of Hounslow Council, said the charge had been introduced on July 1 to cover the cost of supply, as each audiobook can cost about £80.
He added: "We would like to make it absolutely clear, however, that this charge does not apply to those who are regis-tered blind or partially sighted. To these members of our library service the spoken word remains absolutely free."
Mr Gillingham said: "This doesn't help people like us at all. We will be borrowing less now."