Project Gutenberg Audiobooks

I’m very interested in the work that Telltale Weekly is doing. They are creating a library of audiobooks of public domain works from the Project Gutenberg collection. There is a whole lot to like about this setup. The books will be pretty cheap (looks like ~$2/ hour of the recording) and released without DRM but gated via BitPass. They are voluntarily donating 2% of the revenues on Ogg Vorbis books to Xiph.org as well as spreading out 1% each of all total grosses to Xiph, Ashoka, Geek Corps, Project Gutenberg, and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. I like this a lot – rather than giving you a reason to actually pay the nominal fee by locking up the goods, they do it by giving you reason to feel good for your support.

Another good thing is that after 5 years or 100,000 paid downloads whichever comes first, they will put that file in their free library. Over time, this will build up an audio equivalent to Project Gutenberg, a free repository of public domain works. This is all in such stark opposition to what I was just writing about with my bad experiences in the world of DRM that I feel completely refreshed.

For me, too, I have now reached a BitPass tipping point. I’ve been interested in Scott McCloud’s The Right Number but hadn’t really had enough of a reason to go to the trouble of getting the BitPass account. Now I do have just such a reason. I believe I’ll set one up today, and buy one of every one of the current releases at TellTale (there are only 4 at this point) just as a show of support for what they are doing. There’s a lot of highfaluting optimism here that might flag or fail in the next 5 years, but I’m hoping this project goes as plan. I’ll be a committed fan of it.