LibriVox is an online digital library of public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers. In July 2012, the catalog included 5,047 books and shorter texts. The language of approximately 85 % of English audiobooks, audio books in 27 other languages ​​are in the catalog.

Between 60 and 145 audiobooks per month are completed, LibriVox claimed to publish the most free audio books worldwide.


In August 2005, who lives in Montreal Hugh McGuire LibriVox founded when he started a blog with the question: " can the net harness a bunch of volunteers to help bring books in the public domain to life through podcasting " ( the Internet can be a number bring together volunteers to disseminate public domain books via podcasting? ).

The responses showed enough interest, so that the first LibriVox recording in MP3 format was completed within a month, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent. The individual chapters read before McGuire and eleven volunteers who were interested in a blog for this project.

In October LibriVox gained its own URL ( ), there McGuire taught an Internet forum, a. The number of volunteers and audiobooks increased constantly. At the end of the first year were available on the website by 30 books for download.

The end of 2006 brought the Internet out over 30 audiobooks per month. Reports on the project on the Internet and the press led to an increase in the number of volunteers to hundreds.

At the end of 2008, LibriVox had brought 2,000 books and short texts in circulation, with the participation of 2,400 volunteer readers. More 1018 Books LibriVox widespread until the end of 2009, which meant a stock of 3,018 books and shorter texts, read by more than 3,100 volunteers around the world.

The structure of LibriVox changed little over time. The technology of the website continuously refine the volunteers who have web design skills. Through suggestions and hints of volunteers and users, the project constantly for example, the handling of books, the catalog and the individual catalog pages improved.


In LibriVox is a volunteer -driven open source project, which belongs to the field -free content and the Public Domain. It is not operated by a legal entity and has no budget because the Internet Archive server and each volunteer provides its services free of charge. The inclusion of texts directs an Internet forum, supported by a team of administrators, which also maintains the catalog with complete and emerging audio books.

Basis can only be a factory, which is located under the copyright law of the United States in the public domain. Want to select volunteers, whether alone they start a new project ( solo project) or other reader to ask (group project); or participate in existing group projects by other people. This group manages projects a "book coordinator " (BC ). Each project serves a " meta coordinator " (MC ), which transmits among other things, the finished recording to the server and cataloged them. After the volunteer has added a chapter, for example, a PC, a microphone and the free audio editor and recorder Audacity, it loads it up on the website. Another volunteer listens to the recording and correction has if there are any deficiencies to be remedied.

Ready audiobooks can be found in the catalog or new publications on the LibriVox website. The MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files saves Internet Archive. Images can also be downloaded at other places, such as iTunes. Because it is public domain audio books, they are also independent of LibriVox the Internet or eg distributed as a CD.

Some administrators and several volunteers speak German, there are tutorials and discussions in German. Hence, one must not speak English in order to participate.


LibriVox records only texts that are in the United States in the public domain. All LibriVox audiobooks the reader dispense entirely with the copyright, so these recordings are in the public domain. The stated goal of LibriVox is: " ... to make all public domain books available, for free, in audio format on the internet. " ( Free of charge in all public domain books as audio books on the internet. )

LibriVox has a variety of works on offer. These include prose, poetry, plays and non-fiction. The catalog allows using the detailed search function, among other things finding audio books for specific languages ​​, subjects, authors, or pre-readers. In January 2010 was Thomas Hardy's novel The Return of the Native to the top of the most downloaded audio books.

From translations of Greek and Latin authors of the Weimar Classics until recently which have come into texts which offer German Audiobooks ranges (192 books and short texts in January 2010).

Because of copyright protection, there are only a limited number of current texts, eg the 9/11 Commission Report.

In January 2010, the catalog about 54 percent prose, 2 percent dramas, 29 percent of non-fiction and poetry 15 percent contained.

Approximately 85 percent of the recordings are in English, complete works are available in 27 languages ​​(January 2010). After English, most shots are in German, Chinese and French. Audio books are also available in languages ​​such as Urdu and Tagalog.

Use in Germany

The audio books are located on servers in the United States. Hence, in LibriVox United States copyright laws, which fundamentally geared toward the year of publication of a work. In Germany and the EU copyright protection ends 70 years after the author's death. This can lead to a book in the U.S. is in the public domain, while it is subject to in Germany and the EU nor to copyright protection. A user of LibriVox in Germany must consider whether the author and other authors of a book, such as the translator who died 70 years ago. The period of 70 years beginning with the end of the calendar year in which the relevant sets the term event has occurred ( § 69 German Copyright Act ). Died such as the author in 1939, his works from 1 January 2010 are public domain.


LibriVox attracted considerable attention, especially in those which certain content and alternative course of action with regard to intellectual property on the internet advertise for volunteers and encourage this.

Worldwide, the media reported about LibriVox, including BBC Click, MSNBC's The Today Show, Wired, the U.S. PC Magazine and the UK newspapers Metro and the Sunday Times.


In the LibriVox Forums parties and Users give suggestions and criticism. Is frequently discussed the rule that all the images are accepted as long as they reflect the respective text faithfully and understandable. Some listeners complain about unsatisfactory recording quality, deficits in verbal expression, background noise, difficult to understand, debate or recordings of non- native speakers.

The LibriVox administrators respond that in a volunteer project, the technical equipment and the talent of the reader naturally differs from one another and do not always correspond to the level of a commercial audio book. This can also be found in private reading at home. For accent and pronunciation wonders who should rule because certain speakers, because yet to taste one of these listeners, the other displeases those.