About the Site
Works of literature enter the public domain after their copyrights have expired, which generally includes anything published before 1923. It’s important to note that public domain status refers to United States copyright. If you’re outside of the U.S., it’s important to verify the status in your country to avoid violating copyright laws.
The site has a clean, organized home page.
The site’s objective is to make all public domain literature available for free, in an audio format. Founded in 2005 by Hugh McGuire, a writer and web developer, Librivox’s audio book collection has been created entirely by volunteers. It’s supported by donations, so there are no ads.
Finding an Audio Book
Librivox’s site is very spare, which makes it easy to navigate. Its main feature is the catalog, where users can search by author, title, genre/subject and language. According to its current homepage statistics, its catalog includes 8,743 works, of which 1,189 are in languages other than English. Currently there are works in 35 different languages.
There are multiple ways to browse the catalog.
You may find it challenging to find something to listen to due to the sheer number of options. If you have a title in mind, your best approach would be to use the Search box. If you find yourself browsing, be prepared to scroll through a lot of obscure titles you probably never heard of, but there are surely some hidden gems among those.
A sample catalog page.
Books can be downloaded chapter by chapter, which is a great way to sample something you’re not sure about, or as a whole book. It’s possible to listen directly from your device without downloading, though users also have the option of using iTunes or as a BitTorrent.
There are multiple options for downloading and listening.
If you want to learn more about Librivox, the site also features a large active forum. If you need assistance or have suggestions or comments about the site, use the Forum. If you stumble across a public domain work that hasn’t been turned into an audio book yet, there’s a place for book suggestions as well. Though the forums are mainly there to facilitate the production of more audio books, you may find them a useful way to improve your reading experience.
An active forum features useful information.
A blog features information about newly uploaded audio books.
The blog shares info about new releases.
Volunteer readers are the heart of the site, because without them these audio books would remain available as e-books only. Librivox makes it very easy for anyone who wants to read. Expensive software and equipment is not required.
Volunteer readers are vital to the site.
Those who wish to participate but don’t want to read can pitch in to fulfill other roles related to production. Though this is unpaid work, it’s a great opportunity for people who want to create something wonderful and permanent, while learning a lot about collaboration and executing a successful audio book production.
Volunteers fulfill multiple roles.
Librivox is a high-quality, easy-to-use resource for teachers, parents, students, and anyone else who enjoys audio books.
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