More than just free audiobooks: LibriVox offers plays, poetry, more

William Shakespeare is still on my mind, and I recently thought it was would be cool to listen to some Shakespeare rather than read him. After all, he wrote plays — things that should be seen and heard. Listening to his words should be the consumption mode of choice.

What I found was a gold mine with treasures of all sorts.

It’s LibriVox. (Donations are requested, but it’s not necessary to pay or subscribe.)

LibriVox is a service begun by Canadian Hugh McGuire in 2005. It offers only public domain works (which means you won’t find the latest James Patterson novel there), and these are read and recorded by volunteers. Here’s the list of “fundamental principles” for the site:

Here is more about LibriVox from the site’s About page:

What We Do

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net for free. All our audio is in the public domain, so you may use it for whatever purpose you wish. Please note: Our readers are free to choose the books they wish to record. LibriVox sees itself as a library of audiobooks. Because the books we read are in the public domain, our readers and listeners should be aware that many of them are very old, and may contain language or express notions that are antiquated at best, offending at worst.

Volunteering for LibriVox is easy and does not require any experience with recording or audio engineering or acting or public speaking. All you need is a computer, a microphone, some free recording software, and your own voice. We accept all volunteers in all languages, with all kinds of accents. You’re welcome to volunteer to read any language you speak, as long as you can make yourself understood in it. You don’t need to audition, but we do suggest a 1-Minute Testrecording just to check your setup. We’ll accept you no matter what you sound like.

We operate almost exclusively through Internet communications on our forum, where all your questions will be answered by our friendly community.

The site has a simple, straightforward format and an easy search engine. Some people say they like audiobooks rather than print or ebooks. If that’s you, this is the place.

 

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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