Idea #8: Audiobooks Marketplace for Public Domain Works

First thought was … there’s so much great content out there, I’d love it if someone would make it podcast ready. Sure, I can turn on Text-to-Speech on my Mac and grab out an audio file of a particular work…hey, blog posts even…but then you have the small problem of copyright. It would be neat to create a whole model around paying publishers for their original content and whenever a derivative work is created, they somehow get a kickback. Maybe that’s bigger than I’d want to bite off…but maybe someone does. Secondly, having Fred (or his female counterpart) read a title might be good for a few laughs, but consuming a whole book that may just may be a path to insanity.

So in trying to solve these two problems (copyright and automation), I had the thought…

    What if we created a marketplace where, Mechanical Turk style, people do readings (dramatic, humorous, straight-laced…whatever) of public domain works. The payment would come from people paying pennies for these enjoyable readings of old works, the marketplace would keep a small percentage, and the readers would be incentivized to record themselves as they would take a piece of every download. Maybe whole books are too long. Perhaps break it down by chapter.

That’s it in a nutshell.

Now think about this for a minute…you’re in high school and you have to read…I dunno…Grapes of Wrath or something….where Steinbeck goes on for 2 pages about dust. Would you rather read those two pages or would you rather have some bored high school kid from Anytown, USA looking to make a little money on the side do a dramatic reading of those two pages for you?

Thoughts? 🙂

This just in from Willie Abrams:
willie suggests Librivox as a public domain audio marketplace

Known Implementations: None


  • LibriVox (seems to be pretty much what I am describing, but without the commercial aspect)