LibriVox is a free database of audiobooks that began in 2005. The organization’s mission is, “to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.” LibriVox utilizes volunteers to record chapters of books that are in the public domain. Anyone can volunteer to read a book in any language. To pay for expenses, LibriVos relies on these volunteers, as well as fundraising. LibriVox partners with Project Gutenberg (where they get most of their text), and Internet Archive for hosting audiofiles. The site lets users browse books by author, title, genre, and language. There is also a basic search function. Because LibriVox only uses public domain books, their selection is limited. To date, LibriVox has over 8600 audiobooks, 1200 non-English audiobooks, audiobooks in 35 languages, and 6800 readers.
LibriVox offers over 8,000 titles to choose from. While this number isn't large compared to big subscription-based companies, it is when you consider that all of these books are free. If you want to listen to the classics in audio format, LibriVox is the perfect service for you. Because the books are free, you can download them, burn them to CD, or even stream them through your Android or iOS apps.
We also like that you can find audiobooks in 35 languages on LibriVox. This is perfect for native speakers of those languages, as well as those who are wanting to learn a new language.
LibriVox has a number reviews on their Android and iOS app. These reviews are almost all positive - listeners love the app layout, the audio, and that it's easy to use.
LibriVox has been positively featured by the following news outlets:
LibriVox only uses public domain books, so if you want to listen to any new releases, you are out of luck. Because their selection is limited to public domain, you won't find any new releases. So if you're the kind of person who wants to use one audiobook app for everything, LibriVox is not for you. Using solely public domain books also means LibriVox has a limited selection of audiobooks to choose from.
Another thing to note about LibriVox is that they let anyone record audiobooks with them, no matter what their voice sounds like. So you will hear audiobooks from untrained professionals who may be hard to understand or use poor quality audio.
The layout of LibriVox's website is user friendly, but not as intuitive as other sites. You also need to scroll a lot to find new books. Once you find a book you like online, you have to download it. There are no streaming options.
Most volunteers are pretty good narrators. There is one exception: JemmaBlythe, whose voice is excruciating to listen to. Other LibriVox readers have concurred. What is most disappointing is that, after being informed, LibriVox's policy is so loose as to who can volunteer, they aren't at all concerned with the quality of the recordings. I've read comments / reviews from others who say they will literally skip any chapter of a book read by JemmaBlythe. Unfortunately, I will, too.
The selection of audio books isn't very large because it only includes books that are in the public domain. Sometimes the readers aren't very good and the reader changes from chapter to chapter because they are volunteers.