LibriVox Needs Your Help

Posted on February 24, 2010 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News, Uncategorized | Comments: 144 Comments

UPDATE: We’ve reached our objective. Thank you everybody! More info here.

Dearest LibriVox listeners, volunteers, & supporters:

For four-and-a-half years, LibriVox volunteers have been making audiobooks for the world to enjoy, and giving them away for free. We’ve made thousands of free audiobooks that have been downloaded by millions of people; our site gets 400,000 visitors every month. To date, all our costs have been borne by a few individuals, with some generous donations from partners. However, these costs have become too big.

See below to FIND OUT HOW TO DONATE (Or, keep reading!).


LibriVox needs your help.

We’re asking for donations for the following:

  • to cover hosting costs for our website (about $5,000/year)*, which includes:

    • the site you are reading now;
    • the forum;
    • the wiki;
    • the catalog;
    • a whole lot of back-end software to host and process audio before it goes to the Internet Archive
    • but does NOT include hosting audio files which is done by Archive.org
  • to redesign the site and improve its accessibility
  • to make the LibriVox catalog easier for listeners to use
  • to make the management software easier for admins to use

We expect this fund-raising drive to sustain us for three years at least.


Your donation will support the work of our volunteers.

Our fundraising goal is $20,000. After we reach it, we’ll shut down our fundraising campaign. And we hope we can make it another 4.5 years without having to bother you again!

HOW TO DONATE:

  1. Visit the Internet Archive donation page (the Internet Archive, a registered US charity and friend of LibriVox, is managing our fundraising campaign)
  2. Select a donation method** (Justgive.org, Paypal, or Check)
  3. Be sure to write: “Donation for LibriVox” along with your donation (otherwise we won’t get the donation!)
  4. Don’t forget to write: “Donation for LibriVox” along with your donation!

*NOTE: From our great sysadmin Dan, regarding server costs:
For a variety of reasons, we require a full dedicated server, or at least a very high-end VM with several hundred GB of storage. Though we don’t host the files for end-user download, we do provide an uploading service which book contributors use to share individual chapters and other similar things.

Combine that with lots of wordpress/phpBB modifications, and pretty high wordpress/phpBB traffic, and we fill up a server pretty fast.

In short: Hundreds of GB storage + ~1800 gigabytes Internet transfer per month + heavy MySQL usage adds up to a pretty expensive server or high-end VM. Note that none of this includes projected growth, we will need more resources soon, and that’s also a factor in the dollar amount Hugh mentioned.

I’d also like to point out that the figure does not cover sysadmin support. I work for free. And my job is a lot harder when I have to deal with an intermediary sysadmin, which some hosting companies force upon you. Where we are right now, I myself am root.

**NOTE: From the Internet Archive (who is kindly administering this campaign for us): Please reassure your donors that we do not sell our mailing list nor send unsolicited mail out.

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144 comments

  1. SFalcon says:

    Errm… I was just on Facebook. No mention of fundraising on the LV page. Please ‘splain to me why that hasn’t been done. I have some LOVELY friends that will donate to anything that friends/family promote on Facebook. :)

    Oh, yeah…. just saw Robert’s note above while writing this.

    What he said.

    sf

  2. hugh says:

    @robert: if someone would like to make up a Donate to LibriVox badge, with associated code to point to this page, that would be great.

    @SFalcon: I don’t even know who runs the Facebook page! This is the thing about LibriVox a) it’s very decentralized, so people are encouraged to help out however they can, including making badges & facebooky things!

    b) our focus is making the volunteer audiobook recording/publishing process as smooth as possible, everything else (including external communications) is secondary. We’ve never really had to promote ourselves, or ask for money before….so …

  3. Lushnam says:

    @Dan Parsons

    Sounds like the bandwidth for data transfer (not storage)—and the reliability of the said bandwidth—is what most of the money goes toward. Correct me if I’m wrong. That’s reasonable—bandwidth can be very expensive when the site has many gigabytes worth of downloads and uploads every month. I wouldn’t think the rest should be much of a problem, though, as long as the work is volunteer. $20,000 sounds about right. I hope some day bandwidth won’t be an issue—that would help progression considerably, methinks. Pray for faster Internet connections, maybe, and that companies won’t extort money from us just because they can.

    Anyway, I’m still wondering if we’re supposed to put “Donation for LibriVox” in the memo of the check or what. Anyone know? I’m not sure what archive.org’s policy is there, or if it matters. I could use PayPal, I guess, but I figure I could avoid the transaction fee on LibriVox’s side with a check (my checks are free, and free to mail).

  4. hugh says:

    @Lushnam: yes, please put “Donation for LibriVox” somewhere on the check, or attached to it somehow, or in the envelope. It should get to us one way or another.

  5. Greeley says:

    Hugh and Dan, thanks for the backend info on the server, and yes, I can see the cost, with those kinds of services and storage.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. :)

  6. Charles says:

    I might mail a check if you specified how to make it out and where to send it. I don’t want to use PayPal, supply my credit card number, or get on another mailing list.

  7. Charles says:

    If a check is mailed to some other organization, I have no assurance that it will be credited to LibriVox, whatever is written on the check.

  8. hugh says:

    @charles, The information about how to send to us in described in the post above. Regarding “another org”: Internet Archive is eminently trustable, and they are long-time friends and supporters of LibriVox. In fact we could not exist without them, since they provide the hosting for all our work, and in fact have taken owneership of our domain name.

    Further, they are keeping a close accounting of all donations, keeping us up to date, to the dollar, and are printing out all the receipts, which they will send to us at the end of the process.

    In short, I have full confidence in the Internet Archive to manage this for us, which means that we can avoid doing all sorts of things we don’t want to do – setting up a foundation, and incurring lots of administration costs.

    Given all that, of course, your decision about what to do is your own, but I can assure you that if you don’t donate, we have a 0% chance of receiving your support. If you do donate, it’s much closer to 100%.

  9. John de Forest says:

    Am just learning to record for you, don’t listen to others, and have to be frugal. But I want you to continue, and certainly you have many dedicated volunteers. My check, sent to the Internet Archive, was very small. But drops do make oceans.

  10. ABR says:

    I so much want to donate to this fine effort, but I read the evil words “website redesign” among the efforts to be funded. To me, this generally means “break all existing links from the rest of the ‘web’ [no more!], and make the site more difficult to use and compatible with fewer browsers than before”. I’m torn about whether to support such a plan, and wish that I could specify where my donation would get used.

  11. hugh says:

    @ABR: The majority of the funds will go to server costs over the next few years, and I promise we’ll use your donation for that purpose.

    Regarding website redesign, we’ll be built on the same wordpress structure, so there will be no significant changes to links etc, just the skin on the site.

    We’ll also be implementing much better catalog browsing, so that you’ll be able to more easily browse by: author/title/genre/language/reader … right now making your way through our catalog is not particularly user-friendly.

  12. Wolfgang says:

    Just donated, hopefully the LV-community will grow and this great idea will stay with us!

    All the best to readers and listeners

    Wolfgang

  13. Timothy Shoh says:

    A few months ago feeling somewhat beneficent, and perhaps experiencing a twinge of conscience after looking over the multi-gig collection of audio books I had downloaded, I decided I would make a contribution to my favorite and most visited website.

    I was stunned when I discovered that Librivox had no mechanism for receiving donations, nor did it solicit them. Signing off and feeling unfulfilled (after all, no one likes their pure unselfish impulses thwarted), I considered how unusual was this organization in a culture where even the best of causes, upon exhibiting popular acceptance, hire professional fundraisers to espouse and expand their efforts.

    I hope that after Librivox’s modest goals are met (and no doubt exceeded by several orders of magnitude) that smart money men, sniffing out a great opportunity, don’t gain an inroad and change the nature of this fine volunteer-based resource.

    Librivox is a treasure!

  14. I’ve written up a feature of LibriVox and included a link to this post on booksXYZ.com. Good luck reaching your fundraising goals!

  15. Charles says:

    hugh – thanks for the response.

    It is not clear to me whether a check should be made out to Librivox as payee, or should be made out to Internet Archive and marked “for Librivox”, in order to be credited to Librivox.

  16. hugh says:

    @charles, yes:
    If you would rather send a check, please make it out to Internet Archive and send it to:

    Internet Archive
    116 Sheridan Avenue
    Presidio of San Francisco
    San Francisco, CA 94129

    And make sure to mark: “Donation for LIbriVox” somewhere on the check, or attached to it.

    thanks!

  17. RuthieG says:

    @Timothy Shoh

    The great thing about LibriVox is that our structure is so loose and open that there is no danger of ‘smart money men’ getting a foothold. LibriVox is indeed a treasure, and a unique community both for its readers and listeners, who are always welcome to join us on the forum.

  18. Cathy Moore says:

    I’m happy to donate. Thanks to all Librivox volunteers for making me actually look forward to long plane trips!

  19. Carol Ann says:

    Made a donation for the hours of listening pleasure LibriVox has given me. Hope you reach your goal. Kindest Regards…

  20. Albin says:

    I’m happily willing to donate (PayPal under my real name) out of real appreciation for the volunteer readers and editors, but I have to say, from your explanation, that I’m not quite sure how much is going to better web site cosmetics or ambitions, and how much is going to the necessary nuts and bolts of continuing availability of the audiobooks as we know and love them. I’ll give, but I’ll be watching.

  21. hugh says:

    @Albin: roughly:
    70% of the funds raised will go to paying for the server. No server, no LibriVox … so that’s about as nuts-and-bolts as it gets.

    That leaves about 30% for other things … such as making our catalog accessible (right now it is a pretty difficult way to find audiobooks), which will be done in conjunction with a revamp of the site itself.

  22. Iman Fani says:

    I am an Iranian and librivox has been my paradise for endless hours. I’d love to donate money to this liberal web site however I can’t use credit card from Iran to donate. please guide me and I’d be more than happy to help.
    please be specific on method of payment.
    thank you so much.

  23. apo says:

    I’ve just made a small donation via paypal. A big thank you, and keep up the good work

  24. Susan says:

    Librivox is a treasure, and I have donated a little something to help out :)

  25. Dave L says:

    oops – missed the small print about putting “donation for librivox” . I have put “librivox donation” on it instead – hope you get it. Sorry I cannot spare you more this month but will do so next. Keep up the good work.

  26. Woody says:

    Just dropped a check in the mail. After years of listening, I’m glad to support this project in any way I can.

    For larger lump sums, I prefer a check vs PayPal for tax-tracking reasons. But I’d really prefer to be able to setup a recurring PayPal donation. I do that for two other web sources I listen to regularly for news and commentary (a-infos.net and FSRN). It may not seem like much, but if even just a few hundred people signed up to pay $5 to $10/month, that covers your operational costs! May be worth considering, since doing it once now could support you almost indefinitely. (Especially if you can leave that button up on the wiki/front page for new people to find when they look for a way to donate.)

  27. hugh says:

    @dave, as long as it says LibriVox, it’ll be fine.

    @Woody, you can send a check as well, to Internet Archive (see link above), just make sure to specify somewhere that it’s for LibriVox.

    Re: recurring donations : we’re going to shut down the fundraiser once we hit our target ($20k) so that wouldn;t work for us.

    @Iman Fani: perhaps you could record for us instead? that is much more important than money!

    Thank you all!:
    @dragos @pam @tanya @davidmorrow @adrian @johnp @christi @joanna @rayburn @katiegibboney @dotc @unicornwoman @katalinawatt @lawrence @john @claire @nullifidian @kate @reclaimingrebus @marygreen @twincitytony @mhhbook @jenny @robert @sfalcon @charles @johndeforest @wolfgang @timothyshoh @kristinpeaeuner @cathymoore @carolann @apo @susan @davel @woody

  28. Cindy says:

    I really appreciate Librivox and continue to discover great works by well-known or lesser known authors all the time. Thank you for all your hard work!
    Like Dave, I just made a donation @ PayPal and phrased it “Librivox.org” donation, so I hope it gets to you in a timely manner.

  29. Jim says:

    I strongly endorse all the fine work done by Librivox and its community of volunteers, I would like to see it grow and to expand to many more languages. You should not need to worry about issues such as server costs. Please let me know how much more you need to reach your goal of $20K. I will make a donation to cover it.

  30. We are now at $14019!!

  31. Jim says:

    Done.

    Keep up the good work.

  32. DebraLynn says:

    Let me be the first to thank you, Jim. That was very generous.

  33. Hugh McGuire says:

    Hi Jim,

    A stunned thank you – I think I’ve got your email address from the comment software, I will get in touch, if that’s OK.

    Hugh.

  34. AmethystA says:

    Wow! thanks so much to everyone for their wonderful support and donations to help keep Librivox be able to continue recording!

  35. AmethystA says:

    And an extra special thanks to you, Jim! Thank you so much!

  36. Dave says:

    Many thanks to Jim, indeed! However I am also glad I did not read the comments until after I donated (two days ago). I am an infrequent visitor, but think the “service” is essential. I am pleased to donate to help others.

    IMHO, you should have a permanent simple “donate” button on the web site for those who might occasionally want to donate (for whatever motivation or reason). Make it small if it offends, but there are some who do not have the time to contribute and would like to make other type contributions. People make choices in life on what to do. I like what I do and like to give back when I can.

    Dave

  37. hugh says:

    Objective achieved, funding drive closed. A huge thanks to everyone.

    Dave: we suggest donating to Internet Archive & Project Gutenberg, two projects without which we could not exist. We don’t need more money than this (for now) so collecting more would just create headaches.

  38. NIRAGIRA CELESIN says:

    Dear Brother

    I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Tell me your programme

    Yours in Christ

    Be blessed
    Bishop Niragira Celestin

  39. Tanya says:

    Wonderful news!! :0)

  40. Rashid says:

    Hi

    I would like to donate gladly, cant seem to find how.Please assist.

  41. ravenotation says:

    Hi Rashid,
    If you read a few pages above your kind offer, you’ll notice that Hugh has closed the donations drive.
    Some very lovely people gave VERY generously and Hugh reckons we’ll be covered for a few more years.
    On behalf of all the volunteers here at LibriVox, I’d like to thank you for offering.
    Cheers,
    ravenotation

  42. Rajitha Amarasinghe says:

    Dear All,

    I am a Sri Lankan and, I was working with blind people for more than 3 years. The most feasible way to help their education is through audio books in CDs or cassettes, I recorded hundreds of cassettes. when we consider the option BRAILLE one needs a huge space to store them, compared to cassetes.

    Now I am working as a Research Assistant, but have the dream of making an audio book collection in Sinhala. It would be a free online library just like LibriVox, and also a physical library for people who doesn’t have online accessibility.

    I need financial assistance for that, if any one likes the idea please contact me, I would like to give further details on that.

    E – amarasinghe_sl@yahoo.com
    T – 094 775855975
    A – 143, Rajadahana, Mirigama, Sri Lanka

    Thanks and Best regards.

  43. Abbas says:

    hi, why cant i download mp3s? it needs user name and password.

  44. курсовая работа по тмм МАТИ says:

    можно сказать, это исключение :) из правил

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