With the introduction of digital media devices, such as the iPod or Zune, the explosion of online digital content has been nothing short of amazing. It’s soon to become your only source for purchasing music, will one day be the only place to rent and purchase movies and now with sites like Audible, may be the best place to read/listen to a book.
The majority of the employed today, have somewhat of a commute. Whether it be 10 minutes or 45, some type of audio activity is necessary to keep us from falling asleep at the wheel. Audiobooks are slowly becoming an extremely popular option for this and LibriVox brings you a free option to listen to them.
LibriVox is a user driven public domain audiobook library for any and all to listen to. They allow anyone to take any one of the thousands of public domain audiobooks, record their own voice, and distribute for all to listen to. We’ve briefly mentioned LibriVox in 2007, talking about “Joining The User-Generated Content Revolution“, but I thought it needed a little more recognition.
What separates LibriVox from audiobook sites like Audible, is the fact that a majority of the books are read by several different readers, usually by chapter. It makes the book not only unique, but keeps your interest, because you never know what that next reader’s voice is going to sound like. Such as in the below example of Aesop’s Fables, each read by four different people.
As you can see in the above screenshot as well, you have a few different audio formats to choose from, including a lower and higher quality MP3, plus OGG as well. Nothing to sign-up for or register, all audio files can be directly downloaded right from the website.
Librivox allows you to browse to the entire catalog yourself, or use their handy search engine to find what you’re looking for by author, or by title. The interface isn’t all that pretty, but it gets the job done. According to Wikipedia, in March of 2009, the site had 2000+ recorded titles ranging from short fiction stories, to lengthy novels, and even poetry. At last count, there are recordings in 45+ languages.
Some of the more famous titles you might recognize include the 9/11 commission report, Pride and Prejudice, Capital and their most popular title “The Return of Native” by Thomas Hardy. There are even religious titles, including an English version of the Koran, and several reads of the Holy Bible. Just about every genre is covered in their collection.
The other part of Librivox that can keep you entertained, is where you can actually take part in recording your own book. As long as it falls into “Public Domain“, with a audio recording application like Audacity, and a PC microphone or headset, you can delve into recording your own voice for a chapter, or an entire book! They require no prior experience either. As long as your voice is audible, you can volunteer and release your voice to the world.
There really is no other site out there like LibriVox that I could find. There are a few free audiobooks and audiobook sites out there, but none that are driven by you, the everyday reader. It’s very unique in that way, and I know I will one day dive into reading my very own audiobook, and let my voice be heard.
Do you have any free audiobook sites that you like? Do you see yourself recording your very own book one day?