Today I wanted to ask for your help compiling a list of the various ways to get free audiobooks. I’m going to talk specifically about the hilarious and lovely Librivox, because that’s the only one I have any experience with. After the post, if you know of any other audiobook services worth trying, please
I found it because my stupid Android Phone phone finally died, after two years of tormenting me, and I decided to get an iPhone.
When you get an iPhone, if your name is Josh Hanagarne, the first thing you do is figure out how to fill it up with great audiobooks. I found the Librivox iphone app right away.
Librivox is wonderful and quirky and charming. It’s a group effort to record books that are in the public domain.
Basically, anyone who wants to volunteer to read an audiobook can do so. The first Librivox recording I tried was The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. Every chapter was read by a different author. Well, that’s not entirely true–a couple of the authors read more than one chapter, but I never had the same reader for two chapters in a row.
This was both good and bad, and even the bad things about this made Librivox even more charming to me. These aren’t professional readers and they’re not using professional recording equipment. They’re spread all over the world donating their time to record these books.
So you can go from a man reading with great expressiveness in a Dutch accent, then the next chapter (which of course has all of the same characters) is being read by a relentless monotone woman from Canada, and she also sounds extremely tired. The next chapter is an American reader who is determined to render the different characters in distinctly different voices…and succeeds about half the time. You get the idea.
Next I listened to The Importance of Being Earnest. In the play format, where the readers have to interact constantly, but do so at very different levels of audio quality, it gets a little scattershot, but I still loved it, because people did the recording just so other people could listen to it.
These recordings aren’t going to win any awards, but they’re a labor of love and I am thrilled that I can now listen to anything from Mark Twain to Poe to the Three Musketeers to Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Marcus Aurelius just because people all over the world are trying to do a service to readers.
Okay, over to you. Read about volunteering for Librivox.
What else should I check out as far as free or affordable audiobooks?
And, if you’re looking for recommendations and you’re not in the book club yet, please join up.