[Last updated: 3rd December 2015]
I'm new, and I'd like to read? What do I do?
The best place to start is here: How to Volunteer for LibriVox. Please do a 1-Minute test, to check that all your equipment is working well, and that your technical settings are correct. A time-honoured first recording for many volunteers is our Weekly Poetry, in the Short Works forum. But if you want to dive right in, try the Readers Wanted section of the forum. There you will find lists of books needing readers. Click on the name of a book you like, and read the first post. This will show you the claimed and unclaimed chapters and information about how to record. Post a claim for a chapter, (eg: "I would like to read chapter 4") and the book coordinator will update the first post.
Alternately, if you want to record a whole book on your own, go to the New Projects Launch Pad and post to let us know you'll be doing a whole book. But we would much prefer you donate your voice to an ongoing project first before going Solo. It's harder than you might think, and testing out on a smaller undertaking is a good idea.
Do you mean *anyone* can record for LibriVox?
Yes! All you need is a way to record into mp3 (most PCs and Macs can do that with a microphone and some free software, we assume if you are using GNU/Linux that you can figure it out -- but just ask if you need help!)
Don't you have any standards?
It depends what you mean by standards. Our feeling is this: in order for LibriVox to be successful we must welcome anyone who wishes to honour a work of literature by lending their voice to it. Some readers are better than others, and the quality of reading will change from book to book and sometimes from chapter to chapter. But we will not judge your reading, though we may give you some advice if you ask for it. This is not Hollywood, and LibriVox has nothing to do with commercial media's values, production or otherwise. However: we think almost all of our readings are excellent, and we DO try to catch technical problems (like repeated text etc.) with our Listeners Wanted/prooflistening stage. Maybe you'd like to help?
You mean your readings might have mistakes in them?
Project Gutenberg has a 99% accuracy rate target for its texts; we aim to equal or better that. For a 20 minute audio recording, 99% is equivalent to 12 seconds of error. Count to 12 and see how long that is. So, we think by a pretty objective measure, even with a few mistakes, we're doing pretty well.
Do I have to read a whole book on my own?
No! No! No! The point of LibriVox was to get all sorts of people, all over the world, to record small chunks, so that the difficult task of recording a whole book is distributed among many. But you *can* read a whole book on your own, if you wish (though we'd prefer if you contribute to a collective project first).
Can I read a whole book on my own?
Yes! Please! If you wish to do so, please post on the forum in the New Projects Launch Pad. The thread on 'Solo recordings' gives lots more help. But we'd prefer if you join a collective project first, to read a chapter or two and find out how it all works.
I wrote an unpublished book! Can LibriVox record it?
Unfortunately, no. We are focused on producing audio recordings of published public domain books. However, we encourage you to publish an audio version over at http://www.podiobooks.com - they specialize in this. And if you hang out on the forums here, and do some recordings, you might find some willing volunteers to help you record yours too.
How can I volunteer to coordinate a book reading?
Before you become a book coordinator, we ask that you record a few chapters from other projects, just so that you have some idea of the problems your group of volunteers might have. Also, it's good to see how other book coordinators manage the process first. If you spend some time on our forum, and don't want to record, but are keen on coordinating a reading, that would be fine too. Have a look at this page for more information.
Will I get sued for copyright infringement?
LibriVox only records books that are clearly in the United States public domain, because this is where the files will ultimately be stored. 'Public Domain' means they are no longer covered by copyright, and anyone can use the texts as they wish. As copyright law varies from country to country, the copyright status of any given book may vary too. So if you're not sure about recording a particular work, please just ask!
How can I tell if a book is public domain?
Project Gutenberg has a huge catalog of public domain e-books, and they do extensive legal checking before releasing their titles. Generally, if it was published before 1923 in the USA, it's public domain in the US, which is good enough for us. After that, and elsewhere in the world, it gets more complicated. But we're happy to help -- post in the Book Suggestions forum for advice.
May I add incidental music to my recordings?
No, please don't. It adds yet another complication for our hard-working meta-coordinators if they have to verify copyright status of added music.
I don't want to read, but I'd like to help. What can I do?
First, please know that almost none of our readers think their reading is very good. You may be better than you think! But if you are really shy (or simply can't read aloud), there are still many ways you can help.
* Participate in the forums; everyone's ideas are welcome
* Listen to the chapters and let us know of any problems (proof-listening)
* Make CD covers and thumbnails for our recordings
* Turn finished projects into MP4 format (for iPods)
* Assist with book coordination
* Promote LibriVox with a button or banner on your website
* Post about us on your blog and link to us
* Distribute recordings (by seeding torrents or burning CDs to give away)
* Help locate readers--tell your friends and recruit your family!
What is "The LibriVox Disclaimer?"
The LibriVox disclaimer is a little line our volunteers read at the beginning of every recording. It generally goes like this:
"Chapter 1 of A Little Princess. This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit librivox.org. This reading by Kara Shallenberg, http://www.kayray.org. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter one: Sara"
We sometimes use a short version for poems: "The Cow, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Read for librivox.org by Henry Frigon." and at the end, "End of poem. This recording is in the public domain."
Every recording should have this disclaimer; firstly to help the listener know what the recording is (of course!), secondly as a legal notification of the public domain status, and thirdly to encourage new volunteers to come and help.
Frequently Asked Questions
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