Monday, November 10, 2008

DRM-free audiobooks at LibriVox

At LibriVox, volunteers record their own audiobooks out of texts in the public domain, and give them away for free. Isn't that amazing?

Today I listened to Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly, written in 1887. Bly was a journalist who infiltrated a mental institution in New York to see what it was like. It was pretty bad. The nurses were sadists, and nobody bothered to find out if she really belonged there. The book caused an embarassment, (much like the 'thud' experiment a hundred years later.)

The recording is not up to commercial standards, but who cares? I don't. I'm just glad to find another source of DRM-free audiobooks. It's easier to use than eMusic, and it doesn't straitjacket you like Audible.

I picked this book at random. That's what I love about public domain book projects, like LibriVox and Project Gutenberg: The chance to find a strange old book that few people remember. When people pick an old book to read, it's usually a Classic, because all book readers feel guilty about not having read enough Classics. But classics are often just old bestsellers. John Grisham, but with more flowery language. No - give me a book that didn't define literature as we know it, but displays a memorable point of view.

What every book at LibriVox has in common is that somebody loved it enough to take the time to record it for you. What better recommendation is there?

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