Interview with Hugh McGuire, founder of LibriVox
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
LibriVox: It’s not a company; it’s a global volunteer effort, totally non-commercial. We record public domain books and make the audio available for free on the internet. Value is various, including getting people who love to read out loud, and providing free audiobooks to the world. Some fringe benefits include community and some spin off projects.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
LibriVox: We are the only fully open volunteer-based, multi-lingual public domain audioliterature project.
TechAddress: What are some of the main features?
LibriVox: LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
LibriVox: People who like to read books aloud; people who like to listen to books being read aloud.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
LibriVox: Lots of books, and a new searchable catalog – so you can search by reader.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
LibriVox: Our objective is to make all public domain books available in audio, for free on the internet.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
LibriVox: Some people don’t like all our readers. Some don’t like that books can be read by different people. They are all encouraged to help out, and record other versions of the books they don’t like, or to record books we have not yet done.
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
LibriVox: Our Fundamental Principles:
* LibriVox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project
* Librivox donates its recordings to the public domain
* Librivox is powered by volunteers
* Librivox maintains a loose and open structure
* Librivox welcomes all volunteers from across the globe
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
LibriVox: “To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.” Innovation is use of open source ethic and methodologies to achieve our mission, and particularly our open management system.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
LibriVox: We are funded with $0 and we hope to continue to be funded with $0 for the rest of our existence (i.e. until the end of the Internet). Everything is volunteer.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date? If you have already launched, when was your launch date?
LibriVox: It’s launched (as of august 2005).