LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public
domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from
their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet.
It was founded in 2005 by Hugh McGuire to provide "Acoustical
liberation of books in the public domain" and the LibriVox
objective is "To make all books in the public domain available, for
free, in audio format on the internet".
On 6 August 2016, the project completed project number
10,000. and from 2009–2017 was producing about
1,000 items per year. Most releases are in the English
language, but many non-English works are also available. There are
multiple affiliated projects that are providing additional content.
LibriVox is closely affiliated with
Project Gutenberg from where the
project gets some of its texts, and the
Internet Archive that hosts
2 Etymology of LibriVox
3 Organization and funding
4 Production process
8 See also
10 External links
Hugh McGuire, founder of LibriVox
Can the net harness a bunch of volunteers to help bring books in the
public domain to life through podcasting?
— Hugh McGuire
LibriVox was started in August 2005 by Montreal-based writer Hugh
McGuire, who set up a blog, and posed the
question. The first recorded book was
The Secret Agent
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.
The main features of the way
LibriVox works have changed little since
its inception, although the technology that supports it has been
improved by the efforts of its volunteers with web-development skills.
Etymology of LibriVox
LibriVox is an invented word inspired by
Latin words liber (book) in
its genitive form libri and vox (voice), giving the meaning BookVoice
(or voice of the book). The word was also coined because of other
connotations: liber also means child and free, independent,
unrestricted. As the
LibriVox forum says: "We like to think LibriVox
might be interpreted as 'child of the voice', and 'free voice'.
Finally, the other link we like is 'library' so you could imagine it
to mean Library of Voice."
There has been no decision or consensus by
LibriVox founders or the
community of volunteers for a single pronunciation of LibriVox. It is
accepted that any audible pronunciation is accurate.
Organization and funding
LibriVox is a volunteer-run, free content, Public Domain project. It
has no budget or legal personality. The development of projects is
managed through an Internet forum, supported by an admin team, who
also maintain a searchable catalogue database of completed works.
In early 2010,
LibriVox ran a fundraising drive to raise $20,000 to
cover hosting costs for the website of about $5,000/year and improve
front- and backend usability. The target was reached in 13
days, and so the fundraising ended and
LibriVox suggested that
supporters consider making donations to its affiliates and partners,
Project Gutenberg  and the Internet Archive.
Volunteers can choose new projects to start, either recording on their
own or inviting others to join them, or they can contribute to
projects that have been started by others. Once a volunteer has
recorded his or her contribution, it is uploaded to the site, and
proof-listened by members of the
Finished audiobooks are available from the
LibriVox website, and MP3
Vorbis files are hosted separately by the Internet Archive.
Recordings are also available through other means, such as iTunes,
and, being free of copyright, they are frequently distributed
LibriVox on the Internet and otherwise.
LibriVox works per month 2005–2011
LibriVox only records material that is in the public domain in the
United States, and all
LibriVox books are released with a public
domain dedication. Because of copyright restrictions,
LibriVox produces recordings of only a limited number of contemporary
books. These have included, for example, the 9/11 Commission Report
which is a work of the US Federal Government therefore in the Public
LibriVox catalogue is varied. It contains much popular classic
fiction, but also includes less predictable texts, such as Immanuel
Critique of Pure Reason
Critique of Pure Reason and a recording of the first 500 digits
of pi. The collection also features poetry, plays, religious texts
(for example, English versions of the
Koran and books from various
translations of the Bible) and non-fiction of various kinds. In
January 2009, the catalogue contained approximately 55 percent fiction
and drama, 25 percent non-fiction and 20 percent poetry (calculated by
numbers of recordings). By the end of June 2019, the most viewed item
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in a 2006 solo recording by John
Around 90 percent of the catalogue is recorded in English, but
recordings exist in 31 languages altogether (as of
February 2010[update]). Chinese, French and German are
the most popular languages other than English amongst volunteers, but
recordings have also been made in languages including
LibriVox has garnered significant interest, in particular from those
interested in the promotion of volunteer-led content and alternative
approaches to copyright ownership on the Internet.
It has received support from the
Internet Archive and Project
Gutenberg. Intellectual freedom and commons proponent Mike Linksvayer
described it in 2008 as "perhaps the most interesting collaborative
culture project this side of".
The project has also been featured in press around the world and has
been recommended by the BBC's Click, MSNBC's The Today Show,
Reason, Wired, the US
PC Magazine and the UK
Metro and Sunday Times newspapers.
A frequent concern of listeners is the site's policy of allowing any
recording to be published as long as it is understandable and faithful
to the source text. This means that some recordings are of
lower audio fidelity; some feature background noises, non-native
accents or other perceived imperfections in comparison to
professionally recorded audiobooks. While some
listeners may object to those books with chapters read by multiple
readers, others find this to be a non-issue or even a
feature, though many books are
narrated by a single reader.
^ a b "The
Audiobook Collection", The Internet Archive.
Retrieved 24 June 2019.
LibriVox website. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
^ "Objective LibriVox",
LibriVox website. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
LibriVox Milestone: 10,000 projects!", librivox.org, 6
August 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
^ "Offerings LibriVox", Archive website. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
^ MaryAnnSpiegel (January 1, 2018). "
LibriVox stats". LibriVox.
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^ McGuire, Hugh (9 August 2005). "Welcome to LibriVox". LibriVox.org.
Retrieved 20 August 2010.
^ McGuire, Hugh (February 12, 2007). "Clarity (blog entry)".
HughMcGuire.net. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
^ "The Secret Agent", librivox.org. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
^ "What does
LibriVox forum, retrieved 29 September
^ "Pronunciation of "LibriVox"",
LibriVox wiki. Retrieved 21 November
LibriVox Needs Your Help",
LibriVox blog, 24 February 2010.
Retrieved 24 August 2011.
^ "Gutenberg Affiliates", Gutenberg.org, Retrieved 19 April 2015.
^ "Archive.org partners", Archive.org, Retrieved 19 April 2015.
^ "Public Domain". LibriVox. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
^ Linksvayer, Mike (June 2, 2008). "LibriVox: 1500 public domain audio
books (blog entry)". Retrieved 2009-01-09.
^ "The Wealth of LibriVox", Reason.com, Retrieved 19 April 2015.
^ "The Web Will Read You a Story", archive.org, Retrieved 19 April
^ "Public Domain Books, Ready for Your iPod", nytimes.com, Retrieved
19 April 2015.
^ "Quality of Delivery?", Librivox forums. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
^ "The Return of the Native
Audiobook (Librivox)", Review. Retrieved
22 November 2011.
^ "On the absence of ratings at LibriVox", Review 2 May 2010.
Retrieved 22 November 2011.
^ "Librivox - free audio books", Review. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
^ "Librivox (free audio books)", Review January 09, 2009. Retrieved 22
^ "Librivox", Review October 1, 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
^ "My Favorite
LibriVox Readers", Review 12 March 2010. Retrieved 22
Wikimedia Commons has media related to LibriVox.
Wikinews has related news:
May 2006 Interview with
LibriVox founder Hugh McGuire
Listen to this article (info/dl)
This audio file was created from a revision of the article "LibriVox"
dated 14 July 2007, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the
article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles
LibriVox home page and
LibriVox Catalogue of Audio Books
Xeni Tech story from NPR's Day to Day, "Amateur Audio Books Catch Fire
on the Web"
Reason Magazine: The Wealth of
LibriVox (May 2007)
Internet Archive (full mirror with stream