Template:Infobox library LibriVox (pronounced [ˈlibrɪˌvɑks]) is an online digital library of free public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers and is probably, since 2007, the world's most prolific audiobook publisher.[1] The LibriVox objective is "to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet".[2]

In December 2010, it had a catalogue of over 4,500 unabridged books and shorter works available to download[3] and produced on average 90 audiobooks per month.[4] Around ninety percent of the collection is in English, although LibriVox recordings are available in 33 languages altogether.


File:Hugh McGuire.jpg
File:LibriVox works per month including May 2011.png
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.[5][6]

The initial response to this question was positive enough that the first LibriVox recording was made available in MP3 format within a month of the blog going live. It was a recording of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, with chapters recorded by McGuire and eleven volunteers who had been attracted by the blog.

In October 2005, LibriVox acquired its own URL (, on which McGuire set up a web forum, and the number of volunteers and works made available began steadily to grow. A total of 30 books were recorded and released through the website by the end of the year.

By late 2006, the site was releasing around 30 books per month, and coverage of the project on the Internet and in the traditional press saw the number of volunteers recording for the site move into the hundreds.

By January 2009, over 2,000 Librivox books and short works had been published, using the voices of 2,400 volunteers. By December 2010, the total was 4,000, using the voices of nearly 4,000 volunteers from around the world.

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 those of its volunteers with web-development skills.

Organization and funding Edit

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.[7] The target was reached in 13 days, so the fundraising ended and LibriVox suggested that supporters consider making donations to its partners Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive.[2]

Production processEdit

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 LibriVox community.

Finished audiobooks are available from the LibriVox website, and MP3 and Ogg 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 independently of LibriVox on the Internet and otherwise.


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. The stated goal of the project is: " make all public domain books available, for free, in audio format on the Internet".[8]

The LibriVox catalogue is varied. It contains much popular classic fiction (in January 2009, the most downloaded recording was of Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native), but also includes less predictable texts, such as Immanuel Kant's 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 versions of the Bible) and non-fiction of various kinds.

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.

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).

Around 90 percent of the catalogue is recorded in English, but recordings exist in 31 languages altogether (as of February 2010). Chinese, French and German are the most popular languages other than English amongst volunteers, but recordings have also been made in languages including Urdu and Tagalog.

Examples Edit

Reputation and qualityEdit

Template:Documentation subpage

{{LibriVox}} allows audio files to be embedded in articles. It should be used for audio files that are set off from the text, like music clips or sound recordings.

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. Mike Linksvayer, Vice-President of Creative Commons, has described it as "perhaps the most interesting collaborative culture project this side of Wikipedia".[9]

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, Wired, the US PC Magazine and the UK Metro and Sunday Times newspapers.

A frequent concern of listeners, expressed in the LibriVox forums,(Citation needed) is the site's policy of allowing any recording to be published as long as it is basically understandable and faithful to the source text. This means that some recordings are of less-than-optimum audio fidelity, and some feature background noises, non-native accents or other perceived imperfections in comparison to professionally-recorded audiobooks.

Other readers are praised by listeners for the quality of their output.[10]

Praised solo readers
Reader Title Author First published LibriVox link Note(s)
Elizabeth Klett Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 1847 link
Ruth Golding Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 1847 link
Karen Savage Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 1813 link
Kara Shallenberg The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett 1911 link
Mil Nicholson Dombey and Son Charles Dickens 1848 link
Mark F. Smith Great Expectations Charles Dickens 1861 link
John Greenman Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 1884 link
Mark Nelson Right Ho, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse 1934 link
Adrian Praetzellis The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan 1915 link
Stewart Wills Moby Dick Herman Melville 1851 link Most praised librivox recording

References Edit

  1. "LibriVox reaches 1,000!" Librivox webpage 31 October 2007. Retrieved on 1 June 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "About LibriVox", LibriVox website. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  3. "LibriVox catalog stats". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  4. "LibriVox works by month". Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  5. McGuire, Hugh (9 August 2005). "Welcome to LibriVox". Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  6. McGuire, Hugh (February 12, 2007). "Clarity (blog entry)". Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  7. "LibriVox Needs Your Help", LibriVox blog, February 24, 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  8. "LibriVox homepage". Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  9. Linksvayer, Mike (June 2, 2008). "LibriVox: 1500 public domain audio books (blog entry)". Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. "Happy Birthday Librivox !",, 31 July 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011.

External links Edit


LibriVox tools
LibriVox mirrors

es:LibriVox eo:LibriVox fr:LibriVox hu:LibriVox nl:LibriVox ja:LibriVox no:LibriVox pt:LibriVox ru:LibriVox fi:LibriVox

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