Librivox is the Project Gutenberg equivalent for audio books. It hosts public domain books that are read by volunteers, creating a large database of free works in many languages. Initiatives like this are of critical importance to enriching humanity; creating no-cost methods of delivering important knowledge and considerations.
Currently there are over 23,000 audiobooks in English, and numbers ranging from a couple to a couple thousand in probably 50 different languages. They are in device-agnostic formats, so you don’t require anything special other than a music player of some sort to be able to listen.
I think it’s awesome that you are able to listen to some really profound works for free now, regardless of what else you may be doing. It gives the ability to be able to delve into some areas without necessarily having to be the greatest reader – this has huge potential to open up countless areas of interest for people. It would be great to be able to expand the selection to works more current that don’t fall outside of copyright law – humanity will progress even more rapidly at that point…. but in the meantime, there are countless classics currently available. If there’s ever been a book that you’ve been interested in reading, but have found to be too daunting to actually pick up and start, this may be a good avenue for you to check out.
It is also easy to volunteer for and record and submit a book of your choice that you have read and transformed into an audiobook – a very cool way of contributing to our collective knowledge and making it more accessible.
For anyone who is a fan of classic literature (or at least books around a hundred years old or more), please check to see if your favourite title is available, and if not, consider adding it in! It would make a great contribution.
It is worth noting that since starting in 2005, there have been more than 400 million audiobooks downloaded – if you are interested in supporting their mission, you can donate to Librivox here.