Most internet savvy people are probably familiar already with LibriVox. It’s a nifty concept – an audiobook site that takes books in the public domain, talented and/or enthusiastic volunteers willing to record them, combines the two and offers the results for free to anyone with the ability to download. But there are challenges. Sometimes narrators are more enthusiastic than they are talented. And while books in the public domain are plentiful – we all still want access to more current selections. That left a huge hole in the market that, let’s face it, Audibles.com and iTunes just aren’t filling. No one wants to be limited to just the bestseller lists and the major publishing houses.
And so, Iambik.com was born.
Here’s how it works. Iambik teams up with smaller publishers, and authors, and narrators on a revenue sharing model. Which means their selection i’s more indie bookstore than Barnes & Nobles. Coach House Books, McSweeney’s, Graywolf Press, Tin House Books are just a few of the publishers currently on board. And the prices are fantastic – most books priced at $4.99.
I’ve already listened to All My Friends Are Superheroes (see my review later this week) and am now working on McSweeney’s Icelander by Dustin Long (narrated by Miette Elms of Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast). I loved All My Friends Are Superheroes, a smart, funny and painfully honest love story for the hipster generation (that wouldn’t let me turn off my iPod). And I’m finding that Icelander is a tad more challenging than your average audiobook, being one of those cerebral post-modern metafictions that McSweeney’s specializes in… but that’s what makes Iambic so exciting! They embrace books that other companies might shy away from. You’ll find stories here that aren’t available (in audio format) anywhere else.
Currently Iambik has a library of 14 audiobooks ready for download. Never fear, that’s only the beginning. I asked Miette, who originally contacted me, what we had to look forward to. Here’s what she had to say –
We plan to start growing our collection very quickly! We wanted to launch with a small, well-curated, well-produced collection and ramp up from there. We’ll be releasing an indie crime collection in January that’ll be a lot of fun, then science fiction, then a second round of literary fiction. From the January release on, we’re on track to release a collection a month (also, the collections themselves will be larger than the 11 books of our first launch). We’re also open to suggestions from listeners, authors, and publishers, so are really trying to keep our ear to the ground and respond to real needs.
And did I mention that their prices are fantastic?! Well they just got even better. Until the end of November enter the code: booksexy-promo-nov2010 and receive $10.00 worth of free downloads. (That gets you two books, depending on what you select). This offer is limited to the first 25 users, so I encourage you to take advantage of it quickly. Just a little something to listen to as you’re making your way over the river and through the woods.
Note: The instructions on how to download provided on the Iambik site are idiot proof (I got it the first try!) If you use iTunes I recommend downloading your audiobook in the m4b format. It divides the reading into chapters and just makes listening, re-winding and searching that much more convenient!