Does anyone know about librivox? https://catalog.librivox.org/ is a website where you can download and listen to books for free. Volunteers read and record books that are “in the public domain” and add them to the LibriVox library. “In the public domain” means copyright free. It means that the copyrights have run out on these books and they may be distributed by any means available. These are mostly what we would consider the “classics”. You can only copyright something for so many years, then it is basically free to anyone to use or distribute. I was looking through some information on copyright law when I started writing this and there is sooooo much information out there on it, that I really don’t even dare give examples of time frames or what is copyright-able. www.wikipedia.org is a nice starting place to find out more information about this topic though.
Anyway, back to LibriVox………..
There are thousands of books that have been recorded and are available for listening. They have a searchable database, by either author or title, or you can just look through their catalog. This is not a site that you have to log into either, there is no entering of email address, or name or any other information. Just look up the book you want and download it. I’m not sure if it is the same in everyone’s system, but mine opens up into iTunes. I find this a bit awkward for me since I do not have an Apple computer, but it works just the same. I have been loading the chapters onto my MP3 player about 10 at a time. I love to take it with me in the car or to the gym. It makes the drive to work so much more interesting.
I say that it is awkward for me because I cannot get the chapters to go directly from iTunes to my MP3. One of the teenagers at work (aka my tech support team) explained to me that if I had an iPod and not an MP3 it would work easier. Or an Apple and not a PC. I’m a bit of a late bloomer in the tech area, so I often ask these kids my questions, they have to stop rolling their eyes at me before they will explain what I am asking about. They all seem to have been born knowing this stuff, and I am trying to catch up, but I only seem to ever get the basics. Anyway, iTunes and iPod = Apple………….MP3 = Micorsoft. So there is some sort of hiccup between the iTunes and the MP3. So I copy from LibriVox into iTunes, then from iTunes into my Windows Media Player, then download to the MP3. That all sounds like I know something about it, but I really don’t. It’s a lot of extra steps that I’m sure someone a bit more savvy (or anyone under 19) could do much more easily. But anyway, I have found one way I know to do this and the above explanation was it. Ick. Don’t try to do this while brushing your teeth just before you leave the house. It takes me longer than that!!
I am not really a big music fan. I never really have been. There are a few bands or types of music that I like, but mostly I would rather listen to the silence than to listen to the same few songs over and over again. With the MP3 player and LibriVox, its like having a big (free) supply of books on tape (you remember tapes don’t you, from long long ago?).
Yes, I am well aware also that this is really an abuse of the MP3 player. An inappropriate usage of technology. It is supposed to be full of cool music that you downloaded illegally from the internet and play at will and share with your friends. Since I don’t care at all for much music, and since by now you probably know what a HUGE geek I am, I can say that I actually started using the MP3 with podcasts. News podcasts? No. Sports podcasts? No. Knitting podcasts. I know, I know. Whatever. And it was from one of those knitting podcasts that I learned about LibriVox.
I just finished listening to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. So much fun. It was published in 1847. Probably quite the romance novel of its day. All melodramatic and long and drawn out. Lots of tragedy and injustice. Lots of wealthy well titled people with lots of servants. In this recording, each chapter is read by a different person. Or maybe one person reads a couple of chapters. It was really funny to listen to. At first the readers were proper Brits with the correct accents for the reading. Then there was some old British guy with a really deep voice reading, and it was just a hoot to listen to this man reading the part of a young British girl. There was an American woman with a southern accent too. After the first few paragraphs though, your attention on the reader is lost and you only hear the story. The recording quality is generally very good, but in this book anyway, there was one chapter–the longest (of course) in the whole book, about an hour and a half–where even with the volume turned all the way up I could barely hear the woman. And she had a Dutch accent which made it even more difficult. But it is good to keep in mind that this entire project is volunteer. So if there is an odd chapter or two, at least it is there at all. Such an interesting international effort in getting these books onto this site. I’m really glad that I heard about it even if just by chance.
Just because I was talking about the MP3 player….you don’t have to go through all of that. I do that so that I can take it with me. You can just download whatever book or chapters and listen through your computer. Sometimes I do that while I am doing chores at home.
Anyway, I really like this and I thought others might not have heard of it either. Have fun!