Tuesday, June 3, 2008

1500 Free Audio Books on LibriVox.org!


If you don't know about it already, lend me your ears! LibriVox is an amazing, globally sourced project of volunteers committed to recording every book that is certifiably in the public domain - either because it was published in the United States before 1923, or because it was otherwise created in the public domain at the outset. Started by a Canadian guy named Hugh in 2005, when he couldn't find inexpensive audiobooks for a long road trip, it has grown from a handful of his helpful friends to a worldwide volunteer base of hundreds of amateur (along with a few spirited pros) readers, editors, project coordinators, and proof listeners. Everybody just uses their computers at home, along with a microphone, to create mp3 files of themselves reading whatever eligible texts they sign on for.

The best part is that nobody puts any copyright or even creative commons restrictions on the resulting material. Whatever public domain texts are being recorded, the recording itself is dedicated to the public domain as well. It's pure cultural altruism, which makes it possible for anyone anywhere in the world with a connection to the internet to download "Jane Eyre", "Huckleberry Finn", "The Works of Tacitus, Vol. 1", or "The United States Bill of Rights" along with other titles in more than 100 languages other than English, and use them in schools, or for the illiterate, or while they knit, or to chop up into a video mash-up on YouTube. Free speech for anyone anywhere. Get it? If you do, please investigate, buy a USB microphone, and get started recording! There are thousands of public domain books yet to be done, and everyone is welcome to help.

Go to http://librivox.org/ and make your speech free. Or just take a listen! Oh, and uh, this photo was taken in the Willits Branch of the county library. We love them.

11 comments:

Hilda said...

Oh, I have to tell my husband about this librivox! He teaches English here and he's sure to love this! I'll try to convince him to record in exchange too. I'll also tell friends who work helping public schools—a free resource like this is invaluable to a third-world country like the Philippines. Thank you, thank you for the information!

I love the photo, by the way. Haven't seen an actual, physical globe in years! I think I kind of miss them. Now I feel like I want to buy one—though I'm sure to need magnifying glasses to read it now.

Jules said...

Wow - how interesting!! must look into this and send it to some friends who would be interested!!!

Thanks

Jim said...

I am going to have to check out the site. I like the globes in the photo.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Nice to know about. I saved the bookmark for later.

iBlowfish said...

Great post, thanks for the site, I'll check it out soon.

Halcyon said...

I will definitely take a look at this! I have also donated to the dewey donation system in the past. People can donate books or money which go to school libraries across the country. They were especially helpful after Katrina when many of the local schools lost their entire stock of books.

Benjamin Madison said...

Willits Daily Photo goes global! Nice photo and an interesting post.

USelaine said...

I guess you all can see, I'm so enthusiastic about the idea behind LibriVox, as well as the results, that I can get a bit long-winded. We have become so conscious of the rampant pirating of copyright protected music, and even our own pictures on the internet, that making and posting public domain material is almost beyond imagination. To do LibriVox, you have to let go completely, and know that someone will probably burn CDs of your offering and sell it (if you're any good), and that's OK! Be happy about that! They don't even have to credit you! A complete paradigm shift, is what it is. Half the people making the recordings don't even use their real names.

Here I go again... I'll take a break here. Thanks again for all your comments. 8^)

Ken said...

What a great project. I must check out the site.

Chris said...

Thanks for posting this. It's a great service.

Afyonkarahisar said...

Interesting. Lovely shot. Different way
to see your wild river but same beautiful.