Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Public Domain Audio Books

Audio books get a bad rap. You listen to them rather than read, you have no book or e-reader to hold, and you read at the pace of another person's voice. For a lot of reader's, audio books are a "last resort" medium. "Only if I had no other option."

But, what better way to spend a long car ride? A work out? To fall asleep at night?

Audio books can be a great way of reading when you just don't have a schedule for sitting down alone with a tome for long hours. Still, audio books can be hard to find. They're space consuming and pricey... normally.


Librivox is a site where volunteers read works that are in the public domain. That is, works that are free. The recordings are free to download and can be played on any media player, from Windows Media to VLC. All it takes it a quick search to find what you want, one click to download, then unzipping the file to access your book. They are simple, easy, and download relatively quickly.

Because Librivox hosts works that are in the public domain, they are a great place to find classics. So if you are a student needing to brush up on Dante's Paradiso then you'll love this. And because it is volunteer driven, people from all walks of life bring their own choices and selections to the mix, giving Librivox's collection a wide span of subjects and cultures. From G.K. Chesteron to Sappho, you can find something to interest you here.

Of course, because Librivox isn't professionally made, the quality changes from recording to recording. Some readers are better than others. However, the Librivox forums hosts a very active community who do well at policing themselves for obviously bad recordings and assisting less talented individuals to improve.

I've personally used Librivox to listen to plenty of poetry and political thesis, but with over 7,000 items, you're sure to find something you'd like. And when you download the recording, you can put it on any mobile device and carry it with you for mobile listening. So, why not give it a try? You may find, like I did, that audio books don't quite deserve all the bad press they get. Not quite.

To get to Librivox's home page, go to https://librivox.org/.

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