Libro.fm (previously) is an independent audiobook store that sells all the same audiobooks you can get on other platforms like Audible, Google Play, Apple, Downpour, etc, but unlike the industry leaders at Audible and Apple, they are DRM-free, and unlike all of their competition, they work with independent booksellers.
When you sign up for a Libro.fm account, you can choose any one of 561 indie booksellers as your home bookstore — the place where you go to get ideas about which books you want to listen to next (I chose Diesel, where I first encountered Libro.fm). Then, every time you buy an audiobook from Libro.fm, they give a commission to your home store, to reward them for being a showroom for the audiobooks you’re listening to.
Amazon doesn’t just dominate the bookselling market, they also dominate audiobooks, through their DRM-mandatory Audible division, which controls some 90% of the market and engages in all kinds of sleazy tactics that squeeze performers, publishers and authors, while locking every customer into their proprietary ecosystem forever. Authors can’t opt out of Amazon/Audible DRM, which is why none of my books are available there. This decision has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, but it’s not a priciple I’m prepared to give in on (I will sacrifice short-term gain, even enough to pay off my house, to avoid the long-term pain of locking my audience into Amazon’s ecosystem forever).
Indie booksellers have experienced a resurgence in the past decade, as have audiobooks. Libro.fm has found a way to connect the audiobook market to the indie booksellers that have been so generous and welcoming when I’ve toured my novels.
I am a personal supporter and customer of the business, and that’s why I’m glad to share the following giveaways that the company’s founder, Mark Pearson, sent my way.
First up, Canadians and Americans (sorry, everyone else) who join Libro.fm can get three audiobooks for $14.99 with the coupon-code BOING.
Second, I have four six-month Libro.fm memberships to give away to the most upvoted audiobook recommendations in the comments on this post (I’ll make the awards on Monday). My two reccos:
Tim Wu’s The Curse of Bigness: Wu, a constitutional and competition scholar who writes brilliantly tackles the history of antitrust and how 40 years of Chicago School economic doctrine has created a new gilded age that is careening toward catastrophe (I’m listening to this now during my daily swim, on a waterproof MP3 player and it’s riveting).
Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism: Zuboff’s long-anticipated book on the state of commercial surveillance and how it ties into state spying, political manipulation and inequality is out next week, and I’ve pre-ordered my copy.