LibriVox Needs Your Help

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

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
  • 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!


  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** (, 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.



  1. Steve Munzel says:

    I have used Librivox for a couple of years. Mostly I enjoy the readings though there are a couple of readers whose voices I find so distracting that I no longer download titles I know they have read.

    Having said that, I know I probably need to step up and make my own recording. From what I’ve read, the process is complicated and time consuming.

    I do not use PayPal for various other reasons.

    Where can I mail a check? Make it payable to

    (Please email the address to me as I do not check this message board often)


  2. Steve Munzel says:

    Ignore my previous request for instructions for sending a check. I found it all at “Make a Donation”

  3. Ren says:

    Just Donated! Thank you for years of enjoyment, LibriVox!

  4. Mister Ron says:

    Made a munificent donation. Wish it could be more. Believe me, I know EXACTLY what Librivox is going through.

  5. Y2K says:

    Jacques, thanks for the clarification. Donation made through PayPal. While I do record, I have had many wonderful hours listening to other volunteers and appreciate the time and effort they put into their recordings.

    Let’s go LV’ers.

    We can easily make this $20K limit if everyone that has ever listened to an LV recording only donates $10. The price of a commercially produced audio book is considerably more than that.

  6. Dan Parsons says:


    I’m the Librivox sysadmin. 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.

  7. Y2K says:

    Hugh, some of we LV’ers have websites. Can we put the Donate to Librivox button on our website? If so, let us know how.

  8. Leyinglo says:

    Just donated, would have been a lot more if I had hit the Megamillions jackpot last night. Oh well, maybe Friday. :) Thanks to everyone for making these last years on the road more enjoyable and mentally stimulating…I have enjoyed many, many audiobooks immensely! I only wish I had discovered Librivox sooner. Thanks again to everyone here!

  9. dee says:

    I recently completed my degree in database management and would LOVE to help optimize the database!

  10. JeanLambert says:

    For the autonomy of an individual and so with the democracy, getting knowledge is of the essence of those two basic values of our civilisation. And where do the individual gets his sources of learning? Thru reading with the eyes ( the Gutemberg era ) and now-a-days with the ears.

    LibriVox enables each person worldwide to make his or her own choice of free reading material in total independance and even in sole secrecy.

    But what matters the most to me is that the LibriVox’s outset is the result of pure generosity of hundreds of persons who devote their time voice and talent for unknown beneficiaries to them, truly for mankind.

    LibriVox is a souding jewel in this world. I donate $ 100.

    Jean Lambert, Montreal, Canada

  11. Debbie Lords, Utah, USA says:

    I am glad to help. My thanks to the readers who made Jane Austen not only tolerable, but even enjoyable. I may listen to Little Women one day, too. And I hope to record for you at some point. As for costs, sure you could get it cheaper, but in the long run, you really do get what you pay for.

    Agreeing with others, I’d like to see a record of progress, even if its only text saying how much has been donated so far.

  12. ulkopuolinen says:

    I can’t give you any money, but I think I can help you to get what you want, if you like to talk with me. I now that I can do lot good things for you.

    If you want write for me.

  13. Sergio Baldelli says:

    I’ve just donated $ 50.00. It’s not a big amount but it weighs pretty heavy on my scanty budget.
    But I’ve made the effort immediately without hesitation because I consider LibriVox such an extraordinarily important initiative.

    I wish LibriVox donation appeal a great success!


  14. Michael says:

    Is there anywhere we can keep track of progress as donations roll in?

  15. Tanya says:

    I have a few points I’d like to make, but first, I’d like
    to thank Librivox for all their hard work and the countless
    hours of joy they have brought into my life.

    I made a small donation, as I am on a “fixed income”. But I
    would like to have it a reoccurring donation. If the person in charge of
    setting the PayPal options might make that available, it would be
    greatly appreciated.

    I’ve read through most of the other comments here, and am
    puzzled by how many, are, not just concerned, but, alarmed,
    by the amount of $20,000.

    I have over 16 GB’s of Librivox files on my computer that I
    need to back up. I can’t imagine the enormity Librivox has
    to contend with.

    To switch around from one Host to another when one has been
    satisfied where they’re at, without any problems, or known issues,
    is time consuming, risky, and there’s the headache of learning
    another providers quirks.


    I also read the suggestion of a volunteer Administer/Administration.
    $20,000 for 4 to 5 yrs, pretty much is. Bless the soul of the person who has
    been doing it for anything less ( divided by four, and minus the cost of Web Hosting etc. ).
    Saints … Angels sent from Heaven.

    I have never had a problem with the site. Not a broken link, missing file …
    nor have the downloads taken very long. I usually download three or
    more books at a time.

    I wouldn’t want to jeopardize such a smooth running ship, on the chance of a cheaper “boat”, that might be slower and sink.

    As for “Ad’s” … I agree with everyone who abhors them.

    John Greenman’s brought up a great point regarding the selling of Librivox
    recordings on Ebay and Amazon ( which I was unaware of ).

    I have a question ( or two ) and then a couple of suggestions/ideas.

    First the questions, out of pure ignorance … why are people permitted to record for sale and profit, Librivox recordings? I know the printed works are no longer copywrite protected, but what of the voice recordings?

    If this is something that Librivox feels important to continue, is it possible to put a stop to it for … say two or three months? Or however long it takes to reach their goal of $20,000?

    Okay … almost to the end, I apologize for being so long winded … I tend to be :o/

    I’m an Artist … but due to Lupus am now house bound, which is why Librivox has been a blessing to me. Thank you again … truly, thank you :0)

    Well, I thought during Christmas how nice it would have been, had I not been sick, to have illustrated one of the books, then given to friends in a nice neat little gift set.

    That didn’t happen, I’m still knitting hats :o/

    BUT … it got me to thinking … why doesn’t Librivox have a “Gift Shop” on their website? I’m not sure how it would work. If they’re a 501c3 or not? I’m certain there are crafty listeners out there who can make things while listening to the Librivox books. I do chores, my dreadful therapy, Knit, Sculpt and paint.

    That’s one thing … the other is of course … the little illustrated books. If volunteers who are Artists can draw, or paint, volunteer to illustrate say one page for a Chapter, if it’s a large book, like by Charles Dickens :o) Then offer CD’s w/ MP’s or Wav’s ( in sets) and the printed books.

    No need to make a lot at first … there are sites where a few can be printed … try it and test them. See if they sell.

    The Children’s books could be printed on cloth and sewn.

    Does Librivox have a “Cafepress” website? If not, then catchy unique phrases, graphics depicting some tie with books/words to audio … the Librivox logo. Bumper stickers … hats … cups … whatever all is on there. I donated designs for Chihuahua Rescue.

    Little bit of profits from there will add to the pot. But the exposure is great.
    Or if you have your own connections within your readers/listeners, supply
    your own.

    If I only knew what state you were located in … I know the regulations
    vary for fundraising. As long as you aren’t located in Texas … :oP
    Raffles are great too … maybe raffle off a collection of “Listeners Favorites”, in CD format. Makes a nice gift for those who do not have MP3 players ( like my Aunt). Maybe w/ a T-Shirt or Illustrated Booklet … or combo gift package, as an introductory to a Christmas special. :o)

    You might also hold back a few Holiday recordings until the last moment,
    or offer one or two in a set only, for fundraising purposes.

    One last word, I promise :o)

    How I found Librivox was by purchasing a CD from Ebay … and the seller
    actually put a copywrite warning on the CD with her seller name. Unbelievable.

    Thank you again Librivox … sorry again about the length of this post, but if
    any of it can be of help, then perhaps I will be paying you back a smidgen
    of what you’ve given me.

    If I can help with any of the above ^^^ am able ( not sick ) , I’d like to :o)

  16. Sibella says:

    Hugh – can we look into some of these questions regarding whether the host donates services and whether their service might be too expensive?

    I’d like to donate as well, but I don’t want to throw money into too-expensive hosting. I know NOTHING about it except that it is cheap for me, but also, what the others have said above.

  17. ravenotation says:

    Donation made. It’s not much (£20) but every penny will count towards the final total. Oh to win the lottery!
    My thanks to Mark, for your comment earlier. I’m glad I helped bring at least one person to this wonderful project.

    It’s not just literature, it’s the preservation of human thought through the ages. All LibriVox volunteers are contributing to, what amounts to, an archaeology of the written word and our combined cultural heritage and history – and the majority of the audiobooks are better than you might find in any store, which is a fabulous bonus. Why wouldn’t you want to support this great resource!
    I’m also going to “borrow” the above post for my blog (with full credit to Hugh obviously). Perhaps I can help spread the word a little.


  18. hugh says:

    @sibella: see dan’s post above:

    @tanya: the answer basically is this: we don’t want to manage money, or sell tshirts or anything esle; we just want to make audiobooks. Our hope is that this fundraiser will mean we won’t have to worry about money for another few years. In short, this is the least disruptive way to cover costs for a few years. If it seems to be insufficient, we’ll do something else.

  19. Viktor says:

    @Dan Parsons

    Thanks a lot for giving these numbers – I agree with all conclusions of you and the team (root access and quality hosting needed, no ads at the moment). Externalising services to sponsors might sound a good idea to save costs at first, but can soon turn into a nightmare – staying in control of your own data and the software is essential. However, there are a few non-profit places which share your philosophy and might take away *some* of your load (but not your control). comes to mind. I have a (much smaller) project there and am very happy with them. But I’m confident you did already know and think about such options :-)

  20. hugh says:

    Thank you all!!:
    @liz, @paige, @JessicaLouise, @JanieNo.5, @Barry, @Eva, @Emily, @Robin, @JohnGreenman, @Tony, @alana, @DebraLynn, @Trabb’s Boy, @Lucy_k_p, @Vandermast, @Holly, @Joey, @Seena, @Mark, @Bethany, @bj, @lushnam (thanks! & just make sure LibriVox is clearly marked on whatever donation method you use), @Steve, @ Ren, @Mister Ron, @Y2K (if everyone who listened to a LV recording donated $10, we’d be multimillionaires), @Leyinglo, @Jean, @Debbie Lords, @Sergio Baldelli, @Tanya, @ravenation

  21. Dragos says:

    Hi guys, I have an iphone app that is based on you ebook The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

    I’ll donate half of the sales of March.

    I have already send you something. More later

    Keep up the good work and thank you.

  22. Pam says:

    Planning to donate – agree no ads – thanks for all you do!

  23. Pam says:

    I will donate soon and I put a link to this page in a tweet.

  24. Tanya says:

    re: hugh Says:
    “Our hope is that this fundraiser will mean we won’t have to worry about money for another few years. In short, this is the least disruptive way to cover costs for a few years. If it seems to be insufficient, we’ll do something else.”

    I can see this … why take on more.

    Will cross fingers all goals are met! Should they not be, then perhaps the Listeners might take it upon themselves to do some fundraising and then just send in the money.


    I keep seeing a little creature … like a Lemur for some reason … hanging from two trees, two branches … with headphones on … and saying something about not having time to read …

    Or a Possum upside down, headphones on & listening to a Mystery … her back covered with tiny possum babies, all with little headphones, listening to children’s stories. The busy Mom …

    on and on … anyway … until I fell asleep :o) ha ha

  25. Gerald says:

    I don’t see a reason to support this site. A year ago I stopped visiting because I realized you had no standards of quality in an audiobook. I’ve heard some of the absolute worst reading I could imagine, including people with accents so thick you could barely understand them. You clearly value quantity over quality. For all I care, librivox can disappear and the world will have lost nothing.

  26. hugh says:

    Hi all, here is an update from the Internet Archive about our efforts to date:

    “I have received about 110 donation per day yesterday and today with a gross amount of about $4k per day. So if this continues you should reach your goal in about a week’s time.”

    @gerald, the beautiful thing is, you needn’t donate, nor listen to any of our audio, nor ever visit our site again! the internet is very big, and there are all sorts of wonderful things on it that aren’t LibriVox. But for the record, I’ve listened many great LV recordings, perhaps you just need to find a reader that suits you.

  27. David Morrow says:

    For Canadian contributors, you may be able to claim the contribution on your Canadian income tax return.

    From the Canada Revenue Agency web site :

    “Generally, if you have U.S. income, you can claim any gifts to U.S. charities that would be allowed on a U.S. return. You can claim the eligible amount of your U.S.. gifts up to 75% of the net U.S. income you report on your Canadian return. ”

    Many Canadians will have US source investment or rental income. That income would qualify for the purposes of claiming the donation.

  28. Adrian says:

    … and by donating, we acknowledge the unsung work of the admins by allowing them to do what they enjoy doing and not have to hustle for server space etc.

    Sometimes it’s better to pay for a service than to spend one’s mental energy working out how it can be got for free.

    Hugh asks and the world responds.

  29. Anthony Corrado says:

    how much do you have so far

  30. John P says:

    Of course I’m delighted to donate. How could I not do so? Librivox volunteers (and Gutenberg and Internet Archive’s OTR folks) have made my last few years so enjoyable. I look forward to my approaching retirement and long walks, hikes and other travel diversions with a pocketful of extra earbuds and batteries. I enjoy the old low-grade science fiction stories (thanks Greg M. et al) and the mysteries. Some voices are more pleasant than others but I’m honored that you all cared enough to share your time for the benefit of the rest of us. [And of course Cori, a lovely voice straight out of Harry Potter, I don’t know if you’re a 17 year-old with spiked hair and tattoos or a 71 year-old with arthritis and dentures. You have a gift, so keep the magic coming. ] Thanks again to all of you.

  31. Christi says:

    I just gave, since I do enjoy listening to spoken word audio; in fact, most of the hard drive space on my iPod is being used by audiobooks and podcasts.

    Keep up the good work.

  32. JoAnna says:

    Just donated — only wish I could have given more. LibriVox helps keep me sane at work. :)

  33. Rayburn says:

    I am one of those awful readers. Here is $20.00 as penance.

  34. Katie Gibboney says:

    Librivox has given me so much more than I have given it! I am delighted to donate. Thanks to all the lovely people and lovely voices.

  35. DotC says:

    Happy to donate. Was thrilled to find free audiobooks on the web. I am using the site to listen to classics that were missed along the way. The readers I have experienced in the last year have been of professional quality for the most part and, at times, charming. I enjoy when the reader identifies him/herself and gives location and date of recording. It helps identify the bits of accent that do exist and gives me a feeling of contact with book lovers far and wide. Dear readers, thank you all for giving your time to such a worthy cause. LV keep up the good work.

  36. unicornwoman says:

    Shortly after finding Librivox in 2007, I dumped my subscription. That was about $15/month (or $180/year). I don’t imagine we’d have kept that up more than 6-12 months, which would have left me scrounging the library for audio books that were worthwhile reads. And finding a decent book to listen to was getting hard!

    Thanks to you, the entire family can listen to audio books most days of the week at an affordable cost (zero!) with a fabulous selection of books. Our commute time is Librivox time. :)

    You are well worth the donation we’ve made. Thanks so much!

  37. Katalina Watt says:

    I have only been a contributing member (and adoring fan) of Librivox for six months but can barely remembered how I survived without it! I’ve managed to plough through my reading lists and get my English Lit A Level work done in half the time thanks to librivox’s invaluable resources as well as give something back and indulge my passion for reading aloud in such a welcoming community.

    I can understand why the costs are so high now and am reassured by the questions raised by previous posters and the responses given. I find it heartwarming the suggestions people are putting foward to save librivox – we must not let it have abominable ads or on the other hand fall off the face of the earth! I agree that I would personally rather invest time than money in librivox; in my opinion it shows the passion and essence of literature and the good-natured community we have here. My time is worth so much more to me than my money and I would hope it would be view the same by librivox.
    If we can do anything other than fiscal donation to help than do let us know! :)

  38. Lawrence says:

    @ Gerald

    How many teeth are in the horse’s mouth?

  39. John says:

    I will be contributing. Librivox is a blessing for me as I cannot sit for more than a few minutes at a time. That makes holding a book difficult (try laying on your back and holding a heavy book over your head for hours!). I agree that some readers are hard to listen to, but many are better than commercial books I’ve heard.
    Keep it simple!
    Please no ads!
    This is the real value of the internet!
    Keep up the good work.

  40. Claire says:

    Gladly contributed! I record for LV and listen to those of other members. My ‘to listen’ and ‘to record’ lists are so long, I’ll never catch up — but I love it.

  41. DebraLynn says:

    @ Lawrence

    My sentiments exactly!

  42. Nullifidian says:

    I threw my $20 into the pot. I don’t have much money, as a starving student, but I’m calculating this against future savings from not having to pay for cable because I’ve found a more enjoyable hobby.

  43. Kate says:

    I’m posting on my blog about this fundraiser, since a lot of my blog posts include reviews of Librivox books, and I get a whole lot from this site. Thanks for everything!

    Could you put a single post about this in the RSS feed of new works? I never check the homepage these days, and wouldn’t have found out about the fundraiser if it hadn’t been mentioned on a blog I listen to. That’s why I’m posting about it.

    Now off to work out how much I can afford to contribute…

  44. reclaimingrebus says:

    Have only recently found this site, but absolutely love it. When I consider what I pay for my Audible subscription would happily subscribe on a regular basis!! Have paypalled to be going on with
    Far too ignorant to comment on what the costs should be but
    …… ads please if at all possible
    ……… would be nice to see how the total is going

    with many thanks to those who make it possible

  45. Mary Green says:

    When I think of the dozen or so books I have downloaded and the hours of free enjoyment, my paltry donation is minimal. Thank you to each of you who contribute your time and money to keep this going for all of us.

  46. twincitytony says:

    i just made a contribution and i wish to thank all the volunteers i hope your aware of how many people appreciate what you all do it truly is a gift

  47. Mhhbook says:

    I’ve just made a small donation to help out a little. I’ve enjoyed many hours of listening to LibriVox books for several years. I appreciate all the work that everyone does. I have a feeling the $20,000 goal will be met fairly soon.

  48. LibriVox Admin Team says:

    @ Kate

    Added an audio version of the blog post to the RSS feed.

  49. Jenny says:

    I’m delighted to help. Librivox is a full of delightful dedicated readers who make life more fun for many people. One of the wonderful parts of librivox is that people are free to record if they enjoy it, others are free to re-record if they want it done differently and listeners are free to listen to only those things they want to listen to. (One person’s “thick accent” is another person’s comfortable voice). This donation is a thank you to all the readers, proof listeners, admins and any other librivox helpers that I haven’t named. A special thank you to Andy Minter and Miss Stav among others who helped me get started.

  50. Robert says:

    i know it’s kinda lame, but i recently made a donation to SETI@home, a berkeley project that harnesses the power of personal computers to comb through radio signals received from radio telescopes as a way to identify intelligent life outside of earth.

    what i wanted to mention was that their donation process has the neat feature of being able to create a “Donor Badge” (looks like an app box) on a person’s facebook profile page saying, “I support SETI@home, click here for more information”, and also the option to add a small personal dedication. i think it’s a great way to get the word out, because, while i am going to donate to LibriVox, and change my status to mention the website, a “Donor Badge” is more permanent. and i would love to have something more permanent on my facebook, not only to promote donation, but to spread the word about LibriVox in general.

    since this donation is 3rd party, you might not be able to alter the process that much, but it seems there are a lot of programmers, and tech minded people responding to this issue, and i was wondering if anybody knew how to add this type of feature as a way to support this wonderful website/service.

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