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Creative Commons Audiobooks

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the good-for-the-brain dept.

Books 138

xanderwilson writes "The New York Times (2nd half of the article; free reg. required as always) writes, 'Project Gutenberg is well known for offering free electronic versions of famous public-domain texts. Now Telltale Weekly wants to be its audio-book equivalent.' Of interest to others in the Slashdot community: Ogg Vorbis and MP3 downloads, payment via Bitpass micropayments, and a cheap-now, free later (with a Creative Commons License) business model." (And if you buy the Ogg Vorbis versions, part of the money goes to xiph.org.)

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OoOoOoo! (0, Redundant)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836529)

What a neat idea, I've been looking for some portable culture for my daily commute. But putting the full text of a book on my iPod is tedious (limit on Note size), not to mention really annoying to read, and impossible to do while driving.

It's cheap and has no DRM, so if it's also decent quality, sign me up.

Re:OoOoOoo! (1)

nkh (750837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836558)

I first thought about blind people who don't have an easy access to audio books (but of course, the entertaining part of this project is good too).

Re:OoOoOoo! (4, Informative)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836599)

They make an exception for the blind. You may, if you have purchased one copy, make unlimited copies for the blind provided that you limit access to those additional copies.
Read more. [telltaleweekly.com]

Re:OoOoOoo! (4, Interesting)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836561)

This is the sort of thing that makes me just feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Open source format, using public domain works, eventually releasing under CC, and making money! No DRM needed or used, and proving that if you let people, they'll be perfectly willing to abide by such terms.
/me runs off to buy "The Kiss."

Re:OoOoOoo! (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836563)

What a neat idea, I've been looking for some portable culture for my daily commute

You must not have looked very hard:

cat something.txt | festival --tts | lame - something.mp3

or something like that, I don't remember on top of my head.

I used to do that to get the news in my mp3 player automatically in the morning before hitting the road. Of course, it's not very convincing when it tells you something extremely sad or exciting, but it's understandable.

TTS is no substitute for audiobooks. (4, Insightful)

Monx (742514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836685)

Text-to-speech technology is no substitute for an audio book. Audiobooks are read by humans. Humans use slightly different voices for different characters, and infuse their voices with emotion. Some audiobooks are dramatized, with different readers for each character.

Would you take the script of a play or a movie, run it through tts and then say it was even a passable substitute for the original?

Re:TTS is no substitute for audiobooks. (2, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837050)

Hmm - maybe a nice compromise might be a distributed tagging approach.

You could use a distributed proofreaders approach to tag text for different voices. Then you could do voice synthesis using different voices for different parts.

I agree that this is in no way a real substitute for audiobooks. However, this has the potential of being able to be done freely, or close to it.

Real audiobooks will be difficult to ever make free, since they require huge contributions by a few individual actors, plus a load of editing which is difficult to distribute (and the skills for which are not as widespread as the simple ability to proofread).

Re:TTS is no substitute for audiobooks. (2, Interesting)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837068)

Text-to-speech has its uses... Political Speeches for example. I just LOVE imagining our leaders are actually humanoid robotic enslavers and that we're living in a world where corporations reign supreme and the smelly masses have no rights and a rapidly declining standard of living. I find our android leaders have much more personality and human decency than our real ones.

I once ran Orwell's 1984 through text-to-speech; the flat coldness of the artificial voice made it pretty damn bleak. COOL! Just what I was going for! Next up, William Gibson's Idoru. I need to get a list of cyberpunk futuristic thrillers to sterilize with TTS.

Look at it this way: I'm just ahead of the curve -- give it twenty years, and hopefully all our new wives will sound like that.. heh heh.

Re:TTS is no substitute for audiobooks. (1)

warkda rrior (23694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837072)

Would you take the script of a play or a movie, run it through tts and then say it was even a passable substitute for the original?

If it was "Matrix Revolutions", yeah, no doubt it would improve on the quality of the original.

Lessig's "Free Culture" (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836565)

Along these lines, I assembled a streaming version [turnstyle.org] of Lessig's new book "Free Culture", with contributed readings by assorted folks...

Re:OoOoOoo! (3, Informative)

nandhp (738857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836567)

I found a solution to this: iPodLibrary [brinkster.com] . It automatically chops up your notes into little "Chapters" and supports TXT, PDF, LIT, and Windows (not Linux).

Eh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836530)

Creative GOATSE more like. Goatse tubgirl lemonparty tubse, goatgirl lemonse can log in now using the convenien can log in now using the convenien can log in now using the convenien!

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836531)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

lekym (638429) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836570)

you better be joking

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

xchino (591175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836597)

Not joking, trolling. This troll has been around for a few years.

HOLY SHIT!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836587)

Is this true??? I can't find it on any of the mainstream news sites yet. A scoop for slashdot? This is sad news though.

Re:HOLY SHIT!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836604)

You're a troll.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836617)

Shit I just heard that on the radio too. Its big news over here in Maine, all the stations are running it.

VERY sad.

frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836532)

i lied.

what is Ogg Vorbis? (3, Informative)

Face the Facts (770331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836539)

what the f&*^#$ is ogg? Some stupid linux invention?

From their site [vorbis.com] : "Ogg Vorbis is a completely open, patent-free, professional audio encoding and streaming technology with all the benefits of Open Source." In other words, it has better compression than mp3, and since it's open source, you don't have to pay licensing fees on players that decode Ogg like you would with mp3.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836574)

"since it's open source, you don't have to pay licensing fees on players that decode Ogg like you would with mp3"

Colour me stupid, but I don't pay any license fees to run my mp3 players. So who does pay?

And "better compression than mp3" is pure flamebait if I ever heard it. There are numerous test which shows that Ogg is superior in some types of sounds, but mp3 is better than others.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (5, Interesting)

Face the Facts (770331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836596)

Colour me stupid, but I don't pay any license fees to run my mp3 players. So who does pay?

Yet.

every content provider is looking to incorporate more and more DRM as the quality, cost, and ease of creation of copies improves.

the music industry doesn't care about people copying songs off the radio. it didn't even really get its panties in a bunch when CD-Rs first hit the market. or when mp3s hit the ftp servers. It went ballistic when anyone could download a single application and instantly find a never ending stream of perceptibility loss-less perfect digital copies.

likewise with the MPAA and DVD encryption, likewise with the new Cable Set-top standard.

They want to cut out MythTV, Tivo, splitters, H-cards, and cable descramblers. It's becoming too easy to get at the current data, so they want a change.

with the analog system working (fairly) well as is, why else would they create a new 'standard' for the digital system? It certainly isn't in the interest of the consumer.

Why doesn't Sony support the Blu-Ray with its stock rewritable feature?
Why did Disney/Circuit City/et al try to push (the bad) Divx onto the market in the first place?

It isn't because consumers are clamoring for less control or cheaper movies.

The time is coming when content producers are going to have to realize that their profits will no longer come from format-updates (repurchasing 8-tracks as CDs, VHS classics as DVDs, etc), and will -not- come from service-style access to data. Classic TV advertising may even have to give way to pure product-placement campaigns.

Cable will realize that a move to pay-per-channel is the way to support content without advertising in our new time-shifted digital reality. Some people -will- pay $1/mo for TLC. Home Depot will still pay for product placements in Trading Spaces. Maybe the Super-station will go away - but the cable companies, and popular channels, need not.

the film industry has already shown that the theatre experience is not losing out to cheap cam copies. they've learned that feature-rich dvds or dirt-cheap dvds are preferred to the customer over hacked-together recompressed copies on filesharing networks.

The record companies will need to realize that to win with digital music requires providing the best quality, with the least hassle. They will need to realize that they must beat file-sharing on features. People will give up hunting around for a good (not mislabeled)256kbps rip of Britney's newest song - if they know they can just hit iTunes or its ilk and cough up $1.

Fair Use needs to win out. These purported 'losses' from file-sharing need to be revealed to be grossly overestimated fabrications. (A PSA from a supposed union set painter claiming that file sharing is killing the movie industry, and threatening his job - airing during it's highest grossing year of all time is particularly tactless)

DRM is the tool of the content dinosaur. If they concentrated on actual content piracy rings - where big money is being made off black-market copies, and abandoned their fruitless DRM research - their profits could be higher than ever.

But such is not the reaction of anti-competitive cabals. Being forced to -compete- is not what they do. Suing, threatening, bullying, bribing - these are the blunt instruments they wield instead of the precise tools of innovation, imagination and competition.

So in the meantime - expect every advance to carry DRM in the fine print.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (2, Interesting)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836620)

[I don't pay any license fees to run my mp3 players] Yet.

Perhaps I'm overconfident, but I'm fairly sure that nobody's going to show up at my house and demand a check to pay for the continued use of my iPod.

[much ranting]

I read it twice, but I guess I missed the part where you answered the question. I don't pay to use either my iPod or iTunes; both include MP3 encoding and playback. (Also AAC, which I also don't pay for.) So why should I give a damn that Ogg is free? It's not easier to use (it's considerably harder), it's not demonstrably superior (it's a wash at best), so what's the big whoop?

(I know what the argument is for OEM's and whatnot. I'm trying to get at what the argument is for end-users. Or, if that doesn't work, convince you to stop trying to tout Ogg as some kind of competitive advantage all by itself and to concentrate on the stuff that actually matters.)

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (4, Informative)

Monx (742514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836654)

Perhaps I'm overconfident, but I'm fairly sure that nobody's going to show up at my house and demand a check to pay for the continued use of my iPod.

Of course not. Apple already paid it for you -- which means you paid when you bought it. All legal mp3 players have to pay for a license. They just pass it on to you in the price of your player. Windows users don't have to pay the "Microsoft Tax" themselves when they buy a new computer, it's included in the price.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836772)

Apple already paid it for you -- which means you paid when you bought it. All legal mp3 players have to pay for a license. They just pass it on to you in the price of your player.

How much did it cost me? Let's say I paid $300 for my iPod; how much of that $300 went to the MP3 playback license?

This fails to address iTunes, of course. I didn't pay for that at all, and yet it includes a licensed MP3 encoder. So that doesn't quite add up.

What I'm getting at is this: the fact that Ogg doesn't cost anything to license doesn't matter to the end user. Not at all. So if you want to use Ogg as a selling point, you're going to have to come up with something better than "it's cheap."

$0.75 marked up three times (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837314)

Apparently, MPEG-1 audio layer 3 decoding costs $15,000 for the first 20,000 units shipped in each fiscal year and 0.75 USD for each additional unit [mp3licensing.com] . That's part of cost of goods sold; the cost to the end user would also have to include the administrative cost of dealing with Thomson, the distributor's mark-up, and the dealer's mark-up. Mark-up increases with price in part because the cost of insuring the merchandise against damage or theft increases with price. And then multiply that by the number of patented formats included in the firmware, noticing that MPEG-4 AAC may in fact cost much more than MP3.

Re:$0.75 marked up three times (1)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837889)

That's part of cost of goods sold; the cost to the end user would also have to include the administrative cost of dealing with Thomson, the distributor's mark-up, and the dealer's mark-up.

I'm not sure I follow this. Are you saying that it costs Apple 75c/unit, then the distributor marks it up 100% and the retailer an additional 100%? So, it costs Apple $75 to make an iPod? ($75 for cost of goods + 100% markup by the distributor to $150, then 100% markup by the retailer taking it to $300.) As for administrative costs associated with Thompson, I really don't think that's a lot. A bean counter at Apple says, "We sold a million of these, send a check to Thompson for $750,000". I can't see that sentence costing a lot of money.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836667)

An ogg file encoded at 80kbps has the same quality as an mp3 file encoded at 128kbps. I know this means nothing if you use a tons-of-GB iPod, but for someone like me who uses a PocketPC with a SD card of only 64Mb ogg allows me to put in nearly twice the songs I'd be able to put if I used mp3.
mp3 is old, sounds terrible at low-ish bitrates and is propietary. I don't see any reason whatsoever to use mp3 when there's ogg.

Only when I can play ogg vorbis with an iPod (maybe when that linux-on-iPod project is more advanced) i'll consider buying one.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836684)

Only when I can play ogg vorbis with an iPod (maybe when that linux-on-iPod project is more advanced) i'll consider buying one.

Help speed up the process: iPod feedback/feature request form [apple.com] .

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (2, Insightful)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836695)

Actually you did pay. You paid when you bought your iPod, and you pay when you buy from iTunes. Or rather Apple paid and passed the cost on to you. Now it's not a huge cost, but it's there.
I like Ogg primarily because it's a better format, it compresses a bit better, is much more flexible, and has other usefull features.

Mycroft

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837991)

Except that songs on the iTunes Music Store are encoded in AAC and hence not subject to the same licensing agreements as MP3.

Karma Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836727)

1) Make post masquerading as reply to troll. 2) Post reply to that as Anonymous Coward (again, as a fake troll) 3) Reply to previous fake post. 4) Get modded up to +5 each time.

Re:Nothing new under the sun.. Almost (2, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837647)

Classic TV advertising may even have to give way to pure product-placement campaigns.

What I found interesting is this type of advertising is far from new. I found some old radio programs. The Fibber McGee and Molly episodes were a real eye opener. The show did not break for a word from the sponsor. The pitch man added the product endorsement as part of the show. It seemed to fit just like the Monty Python SPAM SPAM SPAM episode that is so famous except the old radio show was promoting a floor wax. Killing the promotion would leave out an entertaining part of the show. Other than the industry hang-up with DRM and the "perfect copy", the advertising with product placement has come full circle back to the 1940's.

Too bad I have to go to the '40's and '50's to get DRM free MP3's of good radio shows. Most everything newer is locked up in vaults and copyright never to be heard again. I would like to collect the Radio Mystery series from the '70's, but CBS refuses to release it.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (1)

Enahs (1606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838148)

Colour me stupid, but I don't pay any license fees to run my mp3 players.

I'll happily color you stupid. If you're playing MP3s with a free-for-download MP3 player, then no, I guess you're not, but someone is. If you have a hardware player, or are using an available-with-the-OS player such as iTunes, then yes, you paid for it, just as you help pay for driver development (Windows and MacOS drivers aren't free, even if they appear to be.)

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836600)

And what idiot moderator modded this "informative"? he was responding to no-one at all. This is blatant karma-whoring.

MOD PARENT DOWN

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836805)

What I don't get is why they didn't choose Ogg Speex [speex.org] , a codec that is similarly Free, but aimed especially at voice recordings.

Re:what is Ogg Vorbis? (4, Informative)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837146)

I considered this initially and I'm suprised that of all the feedback requests for other formats, this is the first time anyone has publicly or privately requested Speex.

Mainly it's the lack of support for Speex (I know, I know. Something has to come first, the chicken or the egg.) in devices and software. But I figure the more popular Ogg Vorbis gets (and the more support Xiph.org gets) the more likely Speex will eventually become a complimentary standard. While Ogg Vorbis was designed for music, not voice, it's still a better alternative than MP3.

For the "fundraising" part of this audiobook project, a third format Telltale might offer would most likely be AAC, based on user requests. But I do intend to eventually support Speex for free works.

Alex.

Time to upgrade (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836542)

Time to look into getting 4Mbps internet and upgrade the 120G hard disk to make room for the War and Peace mp3.

Re:Time to upgrade (1)

Telex4 (265980) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836573)

Time to look into getting 4Mbps internet and upgrade the 120G hard disk to make room for the War and Peace mp3.

Pff, real men download James Joyce's Ulysses.

Re:Time to upgrade (1)

Molina the Bofh (99621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836614)

Sorry, I don't know how to convert James Joyce's Ulysses to normal units. Can you be more clear and say it in libraries of congress units, for God's sake ?

Re:Time to upgrade (1)

cubic6 (650758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836804)

say it in libraries of congress units

Given the weight and size of the softcover version of Ulysses, I'd guess about 5.

Re:Time to upgrade (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836835)

Ulysses in normal units...

about 3 football fields, half a great pyramid at Giza and 10 VW bugs.

Re:Time to upgrade (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836592)

fwiw, I recently put together a collection of readings [turnstyle.org] of Lessig's new book, and I wanted to pick a standard audio file quality.

I finally settled on 24kbit/s (at 11Khz, mono). And so, they should even stream over modems -- and an hour of audio comes out to only about 10 MB...

Re:Time to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836613)

and an hour of audio comes out to only about 10 MB

I think you just made his point. Have you ever read war and peace?

Re:Time to upgrade (1)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836646)

"I think you just made his point. Have you ever read war and peace?"

I'm not trying to dispute any point, just give some numbers to it. The 10MB file for an hour of audio (read by perhaps a somewhat slower reader) was for about 25 pages.

According to Amazon, "War and Peace" is about 1400 pages, and so that roughly maps to 56 hours, or 560 MB total.

You can certainly stream 560 MB of audio within 56 hours, and so the only issue reagards downloading a local copy, and then it's just a question of how fast you can download 560 MB (and how fast the source server can provide it).

Re:Time to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837326)

Meh, just listen to it streaming...

Re:Time to upgrade (3, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837369)

Ya know, when I signed up for Audible.com, one of the first things I bought was War and Piece. It comes in 8 files -- the largest of which is 123 Megs...so the simple calculation is that it should take around 1 Gig at the highest quality of recording. It also comes in:

Fair (1 Hour of audio = 2MB): 20MB
Medium / Good (1 Hour = 4 MB): 33MB
Medium / Better (1 Hour = 7 MB): 61MB
and as mentioned
Excellent (1 Hour = 14MB): 123MB

The Medium Better is good enough for most speech oriented listenings of this which would weigh in at half (for the math impared) a gig.

Heck, you could listen to War and Peace on a solid state MP3 player and not have a problem at this resolution. 120Gig??? You are outta your gord. My several year old 5Gig iPod carries this easily (and its just as confusing remembering the characters in audio as it is in print -- then again, I'm not on the motorcycle shooting around at 90MPH weaving in around cars with the print version either).

Don't ya hate it when folks ruin 'funny' rated threads with serious info :-P

President's Easter Message (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836543)

The Lord is risen indeed...
Luke 24:34


I send greetings to Christians around the world as they gather to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus' life and teachings continue to speak to every generation, and Christians believe his miraculous Resurrection provides hope for the future and offers us the promise of new life.

Through His ministry and sacrifice, Jesus demonstrated God's unconditional love for us. He taught us the importance of helping others and loving our neighbors. His selfless devotion and mercy provide a remarkable example for all of us.

As families and friends gather to enjoy this Easter season, we celebrate God's gift of freedom and His love that conquers death. For those who observe Easter, our faith brings confidence that good will overcome evil and that joy is everlasting. Today, we give thanks for God's many blessings and pray for His peace in the affairs of men.

Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a happy Easter.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Re:President's Easter Message (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836589)

Through His ministry and sacrifice, Jesus demonstrated God's unconditional love for us.

Pilate asked him "are you the king of jews?". Jesus must have been kicking himself in the nuts, as he was being hoisted up in the air on the cross, that he didn't occur to him to say "no".

Jesus only demonstrates that some people just can't say no.

Re:President's Easter Message (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836602)

Jesus demonstrated God's unconditional love for us.

...in mere exchange of eternal mandatory worship. Some love...

prelink (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836550)

Can someone explain to me why the prelink rpm I installed uses a daily cron job? Can't I just tune things up when I install new software and/or libraries?

In any case, it is a bit ridiculous to have this thing spend several minutes churning through my hard drive every night. I don't install new software anywhere near that often.

How about p.d. songs? (3, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836552)

I want to see them get public domain songs up there too... if the RIAA hasn't filed a motion against that -- are there even public domain songs anymore?

Re:How about p.d. songs? (2, Informative)

elleomea (749084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836663)

You may want to take a look at iRate [sf.net] . Not all are necessarily public domain, but all are freely distributed by their authors.

Re:How about p.d. songs? (1)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838263)

...are there even public domain songs anymore?

I think a safe bet would be anything from WWI or earlier is public domain.

I bet that song "Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal," is public domain. Just about any early ragtime piece would be, I think, like the Scott Joplin stuff. The song "The Entertainer," for instance, is copyright 1902, and stuff that old is certainly public domain, despite Disney's best efforts.

: can you? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836553)

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finally someone "gets it" (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836555)

Five years or 100,000 paid downloads whichever comes first... yes I can support that model. Why the heck can't the RIAA or MPAA get with it??? nah, they've got to keep milking the cash cow for as long as they possible can... why else is stuff like Pink Floyd or Led Zepp's back catalogue so expensive still some thirty years after first release???

Re:finally someone "gets it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836601)

Maybe because idiots keep paying for it.

The huge problems that face the world today are ignorance, and cluelessness, as well as a large quantity of people not standing up for anything.

If the customers all of a sudden stopped buying their Floyd until the prices went down, you can bet your bottom dollar the price would drop quick smart.

Re:finally someone "gets it" (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836985)

Or the RIAA would just blame the drop in sales on filesharers and proceed to sue everyone and their dog.

Re:finally someone "gets it" (2, Funny)

Molina the Bofh (99621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836630)

why else is stuff like Pink Floyd or Led Zepp's back catalogue so expensive still some thirty years after first release???

This is so in order for the mentioned artists not starving to death.

Life PLUS? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837354)

If copyright terms approximating the life of the author are necessary to prevent the author from starving to death, then what about the works of recording artists who have already passed away, often along with the songwriter? Why can't Elvis's recordings become free? What is the reasoning behind life plus 70 except as welfare for people who happen to be born heirs to an author?

Duh, Have you listened to new music? (3, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836652)

Because that music is still better than 99.9999% of the music released in the thirty years prior. Thats sort of like asking why a 67 caddy is more expensive used today then when it was first sold.

Re:Duh, Have you listened to new music? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837030)

"Thats sort of like asking why a 67 caddy is more expensive used today then when it was first sold."

the supply of '67 Cadillacs is limited and numbers are falling... Pink Floyd music is limited to how many times they can keep cranking the presses to knock out perfect copies in fresh formats everytime there's a new playing medium available. ie it's currently out on 30th anniversary special edition in 5.1 surround sound with DVD extras... The music hasn't changed... but there are limits to how many times they can expect a person to keep purchasing the stuff. I bought it when it first came out in vinyl and then again on mobile Fidelity 1/2 speed mastered vinyl, and then on CD, and then on the remastered 21st anniversary CD... but I've hit my limit... I've replaced my vinyl collection... but I'm not going to replace my CD collection... which is why I've ripped it all to .ogg format to save wear and tear on the CDs... yes they do wear out, and I've got some original ones from the 80's that refuse to play anymore cos of the aluminium coating having degraded

Re:Duh, Have you listened to new music? (2, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837273)

Its also due to the fact that its been filtered by the years.

When folks talk about how great anything was X years ago, they conviently forget about all the shit that didn't make it. Its like houses, a good friend of mine always claims they don't make them like they use to and point of the great old houses available today -- duh...the bad shit fell down, burned down or was torn down.

If you listen to any popular oldies station, they recycle the same play list over and over and over. Out of 1982, I can count maybe 3 or 4 great songs. The rest were average. Out of 1967, I can do the same. Out of 2004 -- I actually feel like there is far more diversity to choose from, but honestly, there is probably just as few GREAT songs on the radio.

So, a band's music survives 30 years...thats almost like claiming that copyright works perfectly. In the beginning they make crap and survive like anyone else. As they progress, the field weeds out. Its only in their old age when their output is nothing and bandmembers had dies off that this stuff gets any recognition.

Personally, I think copyright should be limited to a smaller time frame than is currently given, but how much smaller? Few can agree on that part :-)

Again, its only '99.9999%' better because the law of averages over the years...

Am I missing something? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836556)

I fail to see how this is analogous to the Gutenburg Project. Firstly, the Gutenburg Project has free books, with a wealth of literature there for all.

This project, is not free, thought it is cheap, but does it have the depth of literature behind it? Audiobooks are relatively new compared to normal books, is there such a great selection and wealth of information/literature out there to warrant a community project such as this?

Re:Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836660)

The idea is to slowly and continually fund, stock, and build a free audio library. Recordings of classic texts, which is the heart of Telltale Weekly, will be offered freely after five years or a given number of sales. When free, these audiobooks can be freely distributed whereever and however, including at Project Gutenberg, if they are interested.

Selling the work cheaply until then pays for current and future bandwidth, hosting, and recording costs--and attracts more talent to the project.

Alex.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

mellerbeck (695715) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838264)

Hey I'm working on a project that also addresses this spokenberg.net [spokenberg.net]
Its starting slowly but been fun so far. Tell me what you think

For those to lazy to RTFA (-1)

Face the Facts (770331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836569)

Books With a Voice Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.net) is well known for offering free electronic versions of famous public-domain texts. Now Telltale Weekly (telltaleweekly.com) wants to be its audio-book equivalent. Telltale Weekly sells audio versions of mostly public-domain texts for as little as 25 cents to $1.50. After five years or 100,000 downloads, these works will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, meaning anyone can copy, distribute or even make commercial use of the audio files as long as they are properly attributed. The files are in the MP3 and Ogg Vorbis formats. This "cheap now, free later" philosophy will allow Telltale Weekly to cover costs while underwriting the creation of a free audio library, according to Alexander Wilson, 27, the site's founder and an actor and writer in Chapel Hill, N.C. The site plans to offer 50 public-domain works this year, many of them shorter texts that can be performed in less than 45 minutes. Mr. Wilson also plans to release at least 20 copyrighted works. So far the site offers audio versions of 16 works, including the first section of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and Swift's "Modest Proposal." Audio versions of texts by Poe, Thoreau and Chekhov, among others, are planned. Project Gutenberg itself is now dabbling in computer-generated audio versions of its books. But Mr. Wilson hopes to attract experienced voice actors to perform the works on his site. "Text-to-voice programs are practical for some purposes," he said. "But few people would choose to listen to them for pleasure." He acknowledged one advantage of computer-generated readings: "They do ensure a completely neutral interpretation of the text."

Re:For those to lazy to RTFA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836588)

That is your 2nd comment ever with that account, and both are pure as karma whoring.

So I'm guessing your a Karma Whore. You're first 2 posts ever certainly point towards that trend.

MOD PARENT DOWN

MOD DOWN, PARENT IS A GOATSE LINK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836655)

Reg Free Link (4, Informative)

BoldAC (735721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836591)

Reg Free Link. Enjoy! [nytimes.com]

AC

Re:Reg Free Link (1)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836935)

The way I circumvented it was to do an I'm feeling lucky on the URL at Google.

Lottery Numbers and Books With a Voice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836593)

Lottery Numbers and Books With a Voice [nytimes.com]
By PAMELA LiCALZI O'CONNELL
April 8, 2004
ONLINE DIARY


Fill out this online survey and you may win a prize! The StudyResponse Project (studyresponse.com) helps conduct online surveys that offer incentives (mostly raffle-type prizes) to encourage participation in social-science research. It links researchers with registered volunteers through a system of anonymous messages and reminders, thus ensuring privacy.

The site owes a debt to consumer marketers in more ways than one. "E-commerce sites have trained a wide swath of people to fill out online surveys -- it's a kind of basic literacy now -- and that has helped us," said Jeffrey M. Stanton, an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, which administers the site. His job is to study the studies -- that is, to draw conclusions on the best way to collect research data on the Web.

The project has attracted more than 53,000 volunteers and has been used by 65 research studies on topics ranging from the death penalty to emotional intelligence. The average age of volunteers is 33.9; 68 percent are women. In most studies, participants have a 2 percent to 3 percent chance of winning a prize, typically an Amazon gift certificate. "Some of our volunteers are curious about the research topics, but most are more interested in the prizes," Dr. Stanton said.

With mail and phone surveys encountering high rates of refusal, online research has become mainstream. Recent studies that have used the site have achieved response rates between 20 percent and 30 percent using surveys that took about 10 to 15 minutes to fill out, he added. Shorter surveys have sometimes reached response rates of 50 percent.

But researchers must adhere to strict rules to tap the StudyResponse panel. For instance, participants must be allowed to skip questions.

"If you force a response, you'll get bogus data," Dr. Stanton said.

Pick a Number

Lotto players, note: it's awfully hard to come up with a truly random number or number sequence.

Most online random-number generators actually offer "pseudo-random" numbers because computers aren't good at doing anything by chance. To generate numbers that are truly random requires a source of entropy, or disorder, outside the computer itself.

A new site, randomnumbers.info, locates such a source in quantum physics, specifically, the reflection of a light particle on a semitransparent mirror. The site exploits this optical process to generate up to 1,000 random numbers on demand.

"You need a quantum process if you want real randomness," said Grégoire Ribordy, chief executive of Id Quantique, a commercial spinoff of the University of Geneva, the project's originator.

Other sites also offer true random numbers, said Mads Haahr, lecturer in computer science at Trinity College, Dublin. His site, random.org, uses atmospheric noise from a radio as a source of disorder; the random numbers at HotBits (www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits) are generated by radioactive decay; and LavaRnd (www.lavarnd.org) taps the unpredictability of lava lamps.

Aside from players looking for an edge in Pick Six, true random number are needed in applications like cryptography. But people also have used random.org's output in unexpected ways. One writer used random numbers to help decide on the next plot twist in his novel. Others have tapped the site to determine the order of words asked in a spelling bee and to help decide which chores on a list to do first.

For some, then, random numbers are the holy grail of decision-support tools: a truly unbiased source.

Books With a Voice

Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.net) is well known for offering free electronic versions of famous public-domain texts. Now Telltale Weekly (telltaleweekly.com) wants to be its audio-book equivalent.

Telltale Weekly sells audio versions of mostly public-domain texts for as little as 25 cents to $1.50. After five years or 100,000 downloads, these works will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, meaning anyone can copy, distribute or even make commercial use of the audio files as long as they are properly attributed.

The files are in the MP3 and Ogg Vorbis formats.

This "cheap now, free later" philosophy will allow Telltale Weekly to cover costs while underwriting the creation of a free audio library, according to Alexander Wilson, 27, the site's founder and an actor and writer in Chapel Hill, N.C. The site plans to offer 50 public-domain works this year, many of them shorter texts that can be performed in less than 45 minutes. Mr. Wilson also plans to release at least 20 copyrighted works.

So far the site offers audio versions of 16 works, including the first section of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and Swift's "Modest Proposal." Audio versions of texts by Poe, Thoreau and Chekhov, among others, are planned.

Project Gutenberg itself is now dabbling in computer-generated audio versions of its books. But Mr. Wilson hopes to attract experienced voice actors to perform the works on his site. "Text-to-voice programs are practical for some purposes," he said. "But few people would choose to listen to them for pleasure." He acknowledged one advantage of computer-generated readings: "They do ensure a completely neutral interpretation of the text."

On the Radar

Mars, shmars. NASA's Microgravity Science Division is the host of online videos of something truly amazing: water balloons popping in space (microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/balloon/blob.htm). Crimeculture.com and its companion sites offer a comprehensive view of noir crime novels and films. ...A daily index of Op-Ed pieces from American newspapers is available at John Peter Zenger Lives (johnpeterzenger.com).

E-mail: online@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

COMPLIMENTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836623)

Senator Pius Anyim.
E-Mail : p_anyim1@netpiper.com
Date : 28-03-2004

Kindest Attention:

I am Former Senator Anyim Pius Anyim,The Former Senate
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Though
this proposal may be very surprise to you as we have
not met in any way before.

I got your contact address through your country
business Guide and feel you will serve as a reliable
source to be used to achieve this aim, by trusting
under your care the total sum of Thirty million US
dollars (US $30M).

This money I want to invest into any business of your
choice in your country was acquired through the
Construction Of the newly completed Abuja National
Stadium which was used for the just concluded All
African Games ( COJA )Abuja 2003. During the time the
contract was to be awarded to a foreign contractor, I
used my position and office then as the Senate
President to over invoice the sum of USD.30M from the
main contract sum.

The Construction of the Stadium have been completed
and commissioned the contractor have been paid, then
this over invoiced amount (USD.30M) is what I want to
trust under your care for lucrative investment of your
choice in your country.

As a former Senate President, l find it very difficult
to invest such amount of money in my country due to my
position in the Government such amount of money may
attracts some suspicion which may lead to my arrest,
that is why I need your urgent assistance, Please
indicate your interest in the area of a lucrative
business viability in your country.

For working with me to actualize this transaction, I
will give to you 30% of the total fund while 10% will
be used to settle every monetary expenses on the
course of this transaction and the remaining 60% will
be for me.

The proposal should be kept strictly confidential due
to my person in the Government as the Former senate
President of Nigeria.

Please indicate your interest by providing me with
your private direct phone line / fax number. And I
assure you that all we be well at the end of this
transaction.

Thanks and God bless you.

Senator Anyim Pius Anyim

Neato... (3, Interesting)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836672)

If I had the free time available, I would so love to "make" an audiobook reading an older public domain work or something... too bad I don't have anything in the way of good enough sound equipment for it.

That would be a good way of making older or more obscure works of literature available to the blind or anyone who wants to enjoy them on the go, with volunteer readers narrating the texts. Of course they'd need to be screened for quality, but I think something like that would be feasible. The fees could pretty much be cheap enough to just cover the costs of bandwidth and hosting.

Re:Neato... (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837024)

I know a thing or two about sound. I don't think that equipment is the big barrier - while audiophiles and sound engineers love to spend tens of thousands of dollars, the truth is that if you get a decent mic (about $100) for your PC, that will be plenty for spoken voice. Sure, it may not have perfect frequency reproduction and good noise rejection, but we're not recording a live band - just one person with no stray noise. You should also have a nice quiet room.

Where the cost comes into it is in the editing. Most people probably have acceptable voices - if you just teach yourself to speak at a good rate without stuttering. However, NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, can read a page of text without any errors. Those nice audiobooks that you buy probably had 5 takes for every paragraph. If somebody misreads a sentence they probably just pause and reread it. Then the editor has to listen to the whole thing and splice out the errors. That takes TIME! Plus they probaby do multiple recordings of passages as necessary to get the right dramatic effect.

Then of course somebody has to "proofread" the final work for accuracy.

It is just like filiming movies - a nice digital camera is probably all you need to make a feature film, in theory (that and the sound equipment). However, the reality is that you need to film each scene from 14 angles 24 times and pick the very best clips for the show. That is what makes filming expensive.

I don't think that you'll ever see a completely free Gutenberg-like project for audiobooks - at least not until voice synthesizers sound just like people. Gutenberg works because of OCR and the ease of distributed proofreading.

Maybe the first step would be a distributed editing approach for audiobooks. If you could get somebody to do the initial reading, the editing could potentially be distributed. Granted, forget a simple web-browser interface - we'll need client-server at the least (potentially a Java applet might work), and lots of bandwidth. Still something worth thinking about though...

Re:Neato... (3, Insightful)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837221)

Where the cost comes into it is in the editing.

Ah, somebody understands....

Still something worth thinking about though...

At some point later this year I'd like to start a steering/planning discussion (forum or list, likely) about the direction Telltale will take to become more community-led. I'm fairly certain that by the end of the year, this project will be limited by what I'm doing with it, rather than encouraged by my work. If this is something that interests you, I hope you'll send me a note or join the newsletter.

Alex.

Re:good enough sound (2)

Technician (215283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837887)

too bad I don't have anything in the way of good enough sound equipment for it.


File size is important. Super high fidelity CD quality is not required or even wanted. It makes the files too big.

Voice is defined by the telephone company as 300 HZ to 3KHZ, not 20 HZ to 20 KHZ usualy mentioned for high fideliety music.

A computer with a sound card and a headset with MONO boom mike provide excelent results. If you are running Windows, then the free utility CDEX used for ripping CD's to MP3 has a record function that works great. Set your bit-rate and sound levels and start reading. 8 bit mono at 11Kbits/sec is quite usable for speech and makes small files. Give it a shot. Use a room free of distracting background noises.

Not that cheap (3, Informative)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836693)

I love the idea. This could be really big. However, it's not actually that cheap. Auduble offer two books a month for 40usd. Picking two books off the front page (Cold mountain, 14h 21m, Dude Where's My Country, 6h 57m) that's 3.12 cents a minute.

From Telltale A Modest Proposal Swift, 18m 21s) costs 75 cents. That's 4.15cents a minute.

Of course, you don't have the DRM crap you get with audible, or the subscription stuff, and you get it in plain mp3s (or OGGs!), and you can give it to your blind neighbour for free, and eventually they'll set the file free for anyone...but for *now*, it's still not the cheapest thing on the block.

(Someone please check my maths)

Re:Not that cheap (1)

color of static (16129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836713)

The average price per minute should drop as more lengthy works get included. I can't see them charging ten or twenty bucks for a full length work, and there has to be a minimum charge for the shorter ones.

Re:Not that cheap (1)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836879)

Hopefully this will be true. I'd love to get something like Dickens for a few bucks.

Re:Not that cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837847)

Wait. You actually want to pay to read Dickens? I thought his books were a torture designed to destroy students' appreciation of talented writers.

compared to what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836846)

4.15 cents * 60 mins. == 249 cents ($2.49 an hour)

Min. wage in the US is $5.15 an hour.

Mean US Power bill per month (1998) [state.tx.us] :
$46.68 (500 KWH)
$88.12 (1000 KWH)

Mean US Phone bill, sans DSL, per month (1998):
$70
[NOTE: take this with a large amount of salt, source was trying to sell a phone service.]

Re:Not that cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837956)

Maybe, but since when was the value of a book measured by length? I imagine many people will find A Modest Proposal more valuable than Dude, Where's My Country?.

(Personally I am a fan of Micheal Moore even though he is an arrogant jerk. At least he knows who to aim his arrogant jerkiness at.)

Audio Books For Free . Com (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836710)

Try WWW.AudioBooksForFree.com. They have been covered on /. before and they allow you to download .mp3 files (of somewhat crappy quality) for free. Or if you want audio quality then you can take out your wallet. They also have hundreds of titles available. It's the only way to survive on the graveyard shift.

great idea (2, Interesting)

rnd() (118781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836743)

This is a great idea. Maybe we'd even see more technical books available as audiobooks (think the Dover maths texts, for example).

Audiobooks have completely changed my reading habits over the past few years. I now read several books each week, during exercise, driving here and there, etc.

The trouble would be to find talented readers (as a previous post pointed out), but if it required a minimal download fee to hire good readers (or let them quit their day job), I'd certainly support that.

I currently pay $50/month for a membership at Talking Book World, which has a lot of titles, though their selection is fairly light on nonfiction and technical subjects.

Re:great idea (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836806)

What early (pre-1923) math/technical texts do you think would be most accessible in audiobook format? The math texts at the Dover site either list no dates or list dates that are after 1923 (and are not currently copyright-free). Book requests are most welcome.

Works currently under copyright, but released under a CCL (most often a noncommercial one) would likely have to be produced and hosted competely free of charge from the start, which will be possible down the road, but probably not now, especially for longer works. Though if an author has decided to release her or his work under a CCL, then it is definitely possible that she or he would be interested in working something out with Telltale.

Alex.

Re:great idea (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837346)

I think most of the Dover stuff is in the public domain...

I know that it would be tough for a reader to articulate all of the notation properly, but someone who knew the material well enough would, I believe, have a good shot.

Gutenberg already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836753)

They have a better selection and it's all free (donations are righteous)

Free Audiobooks? Start with the Bible... (1)

imadork (226897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836778)

It's the best-selling book in history and many familiar translations are already in the Public Domain. I imagine there's some commentary that's in the public domain too. There will always be people who want to pay to listen to it. And once it becomes freely available on this site, I'm sure there are lots of religious organizations that can make use of it.

I see they have one track from the Bible up right now. I wouldn't be suprised if that was their best seller (at least, before /. linked to them!)

Already available (4, Informative)

doublem (118724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8836881)

The Bible is already on the web for free in MP3 format.

http://audiotreasure.com/ [audiotreasure.com]

In several languages:

The World English Bible narrated by David Williams Old and New Testaments

The King James Bible narrated by Stephen Johnston Old and New Testaments

La Biblia Reina Valera narrated by Juan Alberto Ovalle Nuevo Testamento y Salmos

The King James Bible narrated by ASI New Testament

The Mandarin Bible narrated by ASI Old and New Testaments

Cantonese NT narrated by ASI

Scripture Selections KJV and WEB Encoded for email

Urdu New Testament narrated by ASI

Hindi New Testament narrated by ASI

Tagalog New Testament narrated by ASI

Slovak New Testament narrated by ASI

Polish Bible narrated selections

The Gospels and Psalms in Arabic

Worship Songs in mp3

Hebrew Old Testament narrated by ASI

Punjabi New Testament

Bengali New Testament

Free Christian AudioBooks

Tamil New Testament

God's Powerful Saviour

Re:Free Audiobooks? Start with the Bible... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8836897)

sorry, I don't read fiction.

Nice idea, but you're probably already paying (3, Interesting)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837259)

I listen to audiobooks only when I commute. I don't listen to them when I'm working at my computer, and I don't listen to them at home for recreation. If I was to use this service I would have to burn the books to a cd (since I don't own an MP3 player), and I would have to pay for the content and the CDs.

That's not a good deal for me, since I'm already paying for audiobooks through my taxes. My county library system has a very large collection of audiobooks (cassette and CD). If my local branch lacks one I want I just request it through the web interface and in a few days I can pick it up right down the street. In the US the situation is probably similar for most people.

This assumes that Telltale Weekly will expand beyond its current catalog of 23 titles of course...

Project Gutenberg Audiobooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837359)

How can they say that they're providing the audio equivalent to Project Gutenberg when PG has already branched into the audiobooks arena?

Natural Voices (2, Interesting)

garyok (218493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837394)

I wonder how hard it'd be to write a litte app that'd take books a sentence at a time and stick them through AT&T's Natural Voices demo. Mash up all the MP3s at the end and, hey presto, free audiobooks.

As long as the author isn't inconsiderate enough to write sentence longer than 30 words...

But, before this egregarious misapplication of provisionally available proprietary technology commences, does anyone know what good, free (as in speech and beer) text-to-voice tools are available?

Re:Natural Voices (1)

iantri (687643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837793)

Well, festival works under Linux and ReadPlease does exactly what you want under Windows, but the sound of a computer talking at you for hours on end is NOT pleasant..

I don't know how blind computer users can stand it..

Re:Natural Voices (2, Informative)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837823)

Festival [ed.ac.uk] is at least tolerably good; it's under an X11-style license. It's admittedly not as nice as AT&T's thing though.

for the author in search of a publisher (1)

technoCon (18339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837516)

yaknow, i'm thinking i could:
- take some of my best short stories,
- get my wife who worked in radio to record them,
- post the MP3s,
- encourage editors to listen on the subway ride.

Maybe that way i could get a book deal.

audio vs text (1)

wjzhu (712748) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837517)

Although multimedia has enhanced the way we experience various contents, words by themselves (at least in good writing) are really the highest level of abstraction of human thought, the result of intense focus and mental effort. It allows speed reading, skimming, or slow reflection. These are the things that I can only do with text and not with other multimedia. So whether people come up with audio/video or whatever new multimedia libraries, the e-text libraries like Guttenburg would always have a special and irreplaceable place.

Free non-book, spoken word (4, Interesting)

LetterJ (3524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838021)

I currently listen to quite a few audiobooks, but supplement it with audio of classic radio, Supreme Court arguments, etc.

Most of the oral arguments to the most important Supreme Court cases are available as MP3's from Oyez.com [oyez.com] .

Thousands of old radio programs, including mysteries, comedies, political/historical audio, etc. are available for a small flat monthly fee ($7.50/month) at RUSC.com [rusc.com] .

I've found it really interesting to be able to listen to *primary* sources for a lot of the cultural history of the United States. Think you understand Brown v. the Board of Education? Listen to the arguments and you'll see how much is missing from your high school telling of the story. It tends to be a bit more meat for listening when compared to the candy that many modern audiobooks provide.

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