I commute about an hour each day getting to and from my little school in the country. I love the drive really as a chance to meditate on the day and get some time to myself as I watch the green hills roll by. I get to see eagles, deer, kingfishers, and other wildlife as well as the new calves, colts, and other adorable animals bound through the pasture.
But finding something to listen to on my commute is a chore, which is why I love a good Audiobook. Finding the time to get to the library has been hard lately and loading one CD after another is also cumbersome. But thanks to the good people at Libirvox, I don’t see that being a problem any longer.
The idea of putting free books on the web is nothing new. Since 1971, Project Gutenberg has been making thousands of public domain books available to the public over the internet (of course in 1971 it wasn’t yet called the internet, but still…). Now, thanks to the Kindle, millions of people download classic works each day, most typed up by volunteers and all of it free. (If you don’t believe me, point your Kindle’s web browser to http://m.gutenberg.org/)
Now, Libirvox attempts to do for audiobooks what Gutenberg did for the eBook. Volunteers record themselves reading public domain books and put them up for download on the Libirvox site. If you have an iPod, the Audiobook App can help you download these titles directly onto your mobile device.
Many of these books are old. You won’t find Harry Potter or John Grisham here, but you will find Dickens, Twain, and Austen. Students can find Frankenstein, Treasure Island, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Tarzan of the Apes, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland—all wonderfully read to them. I just spent the last week listening to King Solomon’s Mines and highly recommend it.