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LibriVox: An Audio Homage to the Written Word

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 25, 2006

Comments (3)

Looking for a way to build your portfolio while contributing to your community? Consider volunteering your voice talents and record audiobooks at LibriVox.org.

johannes-gutenberg.jpgAs some of you may know, Johannes Gutenberg, way back in the 1430s, created the first printing press, giving people the ability to print the written word on a large scale.

Since then, the 21st Century has seen advances in the printing field, and with that, the publication of works written in previous years that are now in the public domain. These books were all authored before 1923, and because of that precise factor, are now available to everyone as public domain works at Project Gutenberg, accessible for free online.

librivox.jpgIf that surprised you, wait until you hear about LibriVox.

LibriVox is likened to an audio version of Project Gutenberg, run by a small team of recording enthusiasts, founded by Hugh McGuire of Montreal, Canada.

The team and a host of other volunteers record chapters of novels, complete readings of books, fairy tales, plays, historical documents and more. LibriVox's goal is to record all of the literary texts in the world available in the public domain.

If you are interested in gaining some experience recording audiobooks or short tales for children, this opportunity may be just what you need to help build up your portfolio. All you need is a computer, some free recording software, and your own voice.

Don't want to record for free? Volunteering also includes activities such as listening and editing. If you have a calling to be a mentor, this is an ideal environment where you can share your skills.

For more information about how you can get involved and available opportunities, check out the LibriVox Forum.

Cheers,

Stephanie

P.S. I was reading one of the founding members' blogs. Kara Shallenberg mentioned on Wednesday of this week that LibriVox would be featured in the New York Times.

If you read the New York Times, scan the pages for an article by Craig Silverman featuring LibriVox.org in today's newspaper. Or, read the article here.

Related Topics: child, New York, portfolio


Comments


    Hi, Stephanie! Thanks for writing about the excellent article in the NY Times and these opportunities to build skills while serving others. Recording books for sites like LibriVox and/or the blind in your community are excellent ways to practice technique needed for audiobook narration.

    Since a number of people have asked me about breaking into the audiobook industry, I have a page on my web site devoted to that subject. It includes links to several on-line dictionaries that are invaluable for correct pronunciation. Other resources include industry publications.

    My blog at www.KarenBlogs.com has a link to my recommended book list, which has books on accents and even one devoted solely to audiobook performance.

    Hopefully, this information will be helpful to anyone who is interested in pursuing work in audiobooks.

    Posted by:

      Hello Stephanie,

      Thanks for this posting on LibriVox. I have often thought that volunteering for PSA's on public radio (we have a funky alternative, KBOO, in Portland) might also be a way to get one's voice out there.

      Mary Saunders

      Posted by:
      • Mary Saunders
      • September 15, 2006 3:20 PM

        Count me as another auidobook fan: Since I sit on my tush staring at a screen at work all day, the last thing I want to do when I leave the office is go sit somewhere else with my head stuck in a you name it: book, ebook, tablet, television set. If it weren't for auidobooks, I probably would be completely out of touch with the narrative storytelling world altogether, just as I am now out of touch with other forms of sedentary entertainment and information gathering which I once watched with some avidity (film & tv). The situation would probably be different if I had a more active job, but such is not the case. This is something to think about, since I am surely not alone in cubicle world. Notwithstanding their relationship to oral storytelling traditions, auidobooks allow me to engage with my physical environment and experience the wider world at the same time. I have overhauled houses, walked many miles, and made numerous works of art while listening to auidobooks. I get them at through my public library and have listened to downloads from Librivox (although their search interface and readers leave something to be desired). What I do not do is buy or rent' them at prices the market seems to bear. I understand that the format is expensive to produce on top of the not-insignificant cost of preparing an original manuscript for publication in regular book form. I absolutely get that and recognize that that formula seems unsustainable from a long-term perspective. Nevertheless, the library is, on the face of it, free. For all the buzz about the new Audiobooks.com service with its unlimited access to cloud-based content, I've got to say that, compared to free, $24.95 month is unrealistically expensive. It might be roughly comparable to Audible, but the prices there are absurdly steep in my view, too. Another useful comparison might be Pandora, for which I have absolutely no qualms about paying $35 a year. I haven't felt the need to use Spotify yet, but that model is another more affordable way of accessing listening material. Alas, these comparisons seem to present the publishing world with more uncomfortable lessons from the music industry.

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