How LibriVox Works

LibriVox Mission

Much in the way that Project Gutenberg seeks to make the world's public domain books freely available for reading, LibriVox seeks to make them listenable.

According to the LibriVox Web site, its mission is, "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the Internet."

The mission, in fact, is implicit in the service's name: In Latin, libri means "book," while vox means "voice."

The type of writing you can find on LibriVox ranges from entertaining classic literature like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Or Modern Prometheus) to technical treatises such as Alfred Marshall's Principles of Economics.

LibriVox has partnered with two other high-profile Internet denizens to advance its work -- Project Gutenberg provides copyright-free text from which LibriVox volunteers can read aloud; and the Internet Archive, a vast database that aims to capture the history of the Web, provides hosting for the recordings themselves.

Founder Hugh McGuire's vision for the site in 2005 appears largely to have come to fruition. Back then he told an interviewer, "Ideally, as the project moves forward, it should get big enough so that it runs on its own to a degree." And indeed, according to the site, more than 3,000 people have helped its cause in some capacity. LibriVox also reports that it's recorded more than 3,300 books and other works as of April 2010, and at that point was completing nearly 100 recordings per month.

Curious as to who's eligible to record for LibriVox? Find out who makes the grade on the next page.