The magic of listening, now through local bookstores

Name a literary artist with a vision so powerful that their words have conjured a theme park based upon the world they imagined. There’s only one: J.K. Rowling. Twenty years after the publication of the first Harry Potter book, her seven-part series chronicling young Potter’s heroic journey to rid the world of the evil Lord Voldemort continues to capture the hearts and minds of not just children, but adults as well. What child doesn’t yearn to attend the hallowed halls of Hogwarts? What parent doesn’t wish they could explore the nooks and crannies of Diagon Alley?

Now Libro.fm has partnered with Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment, and news company, to offer eight Wizarding World digital audiobooks through independent bookstores nationwide. This announcement marks the first time independent bookstores in the United States have been able to offer the full Harry Potter digital audiobook collection (seven novels in the series) and the digital audiobook of the Fantastic Beasts Hogwarts Library book to their customers.

Who seeks the Sorcerer’s Stone? What lurks in the Chamber of Secrets? Should we fear or love the Prisoner of Azkaban, or for that matter, the Half-Blood Prince? And who can save New York City from such Fantastic Beasts?

Now you can listen and find out. Learn more at libro.fm/wizardingworld.

Fighting Goliath

I’m guilty-as-charged when it comes to using a particular large company to help me shop for groceries, get items I need quickly, and consolidate those pesky, mounting, day-to-day chores into one efficient online experience.

As a Seattleite, I’m often the first to experience the new technology that this “Goliath” offers. With a click of a mouse, I can have anything from diapers to lawn chairs delivered to my doorstep within hours. I’m even be able to order groceries on my phone and pick them up at a store – one that resembles a kiosk more than your typical local grocery shop – bagged and ready, seemingly saving me precious amounts of time.

That’s what all this is for, right? Saving time? That’s what Goliath is betting on. Sadly, I actually feel like I have less, not more, time on my hands when I use this company’s services. Buying into Goliath’s culture encourages a frenetic pace of life, a click-now, think-later, mindset that self-perpetuates. This way of living comes with a cost: instead of spending my time shopping in a store, talking to actual people, I find myself head down, eyes glued to a screen, poring over product reviews from strangers. I neglect engaging with those in the community around me.

Having recently moved from back to Seattle from two years abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany (where shopping local isn’t a “thing” its just called “shopping”) I’m constantly looking for ways to recalibrate how I spend my time. I try to walk to the Ballard Fresh Fish Co. for some of my grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll stop for coffee and treats at Cafe Besalu. It’s the same when I want to buy books.

Working for Libro.fm, I have had the privilege of meeting the people who own and run local bookstores (Phinney Books in Seattle and Edmonds Bookshop in Edmonds). I have gotten to listen to their heartfelt book recommendations, ones that go deeper than just how many stars a book should get rated. And each time I get out, make shopping a communal experience, I am reminded how good it makes me feel, how interacting with people who are so passionate about their store, their craft, makes my day (and the world) a bit brighter. If these places, these people, were suddenly gone and replaced with robots or faceless stores where employees were paid on transactions and 3rd party customer service surveys, what would I, and the community around me, lose?

 

There will be the times when we just need something now. But I challenge all of us, the next time we have the urge to push the Goliath button, to take 10 seconds, breath deep, and think about our community and what small, local businesses mean to us and our future.

Cage-Free Audiobooks

Imagine it’s Friday, you’ve worked a long week, and you’ve just arrived home from the bookstore, carrying a new hardcover by your favorite novelist, ready to be swept up all weekend in a story. You sink into that cozy leather chair that’s perfectly formed to your body, kick your feet up on the ottoman, and weigh the hardcover in your palms.

But there’s a problem. You can’t remove the dust jacket from your new novel. You can’t even open the book. It’s as if it’s sealed shut. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the book itself; it just won’t open. You call the bookstore and ask them what gives.

“Where are you sitting?” the clerk asks.

“In a chair,” you reply. “Where I always sit.”

“Is that one of our chairs?” the clerk asks.

Our chairs? What does that even mean? You describe the chair, the brand, etc.

“Hmm, well that’s the problem,” the clerk replies. “It’s not one of our chairs. Our books only open when you’re sitting in one of our chairs.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I can give you directions to our showroom,” the clerk says. “We have many wonderful chairs.”

“What about my couch?” You love the couch in your living room almost as much as the chair. You found it at a garage sale. It called to you from the street.

“Is it one of our couches?” asks the clerk. “We also have wonderful couches.”

This is not an ideal reading situation. It probably seems rather absurd. But it’s kind of like what a big audiobook retailer is trying to get away with by selling their audiobooks with DRM. Here at Libro.fm, our 70,000 audiobooks are DRM-free, which means that when you purchase one of our audiobooks through one of hundreds of independent bookstores, it’s yours.

You can listen to it on any device, anywhere, anytime, through any app that will play it. Although, we certainly recommend our own Libro.fm app for iOS and Android for the best possible listening experience. There are features such as the sleep timer, bookmarking, and playing audiobooks at a faster rate that are not possible on other players, iTunes, or your desktop. We don’t think it’s right to insist our customers use our other products unnecessarily. Nor, for that matter, do we think we should we ever be able to take your audiobook away from you, or change it—another aspect of DRM that feels, well, a bit cagey.

Libro.fm is one of the few places where every audiobook is DRM-free, or as we call it, cage-free. A DRM-free model fits our independent nature and it means you can listen to the audiobook anytime, anywhere, on any device. Declare your independence, #chooseindie

For more about the dangers of DRM, and why we’re proponents of DRM-free audiobooks, check out the reasons why notable author/activist Cory Doctorow has slowed down on his writing life in order to better advocate for a DRM-free world.

Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th

Independent Bookstore Day, is a one-day party taking place Saturday, April 29th at more than 450 bookstores. As a supporter of independent bookstores, you get five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Here are a few of the audiobooks included: Jessica Shattuck’s NYT bestseller, The Women in the Castle, David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and works by David Sedaris (Dentists Without Borders), Emma Straub (Modern Lovers), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star), and Hope Jahren (Lab Girl). The only catch (we promise) is you must claim your free audiobooks by Midnight PST on Saturday 4/29. To do this, log in to Libro.fm, add the audiobooks to your cart (no promo code needed) and you’re done!

Get Your Free Audiobooks

And beyond the free audiobooks, we encourage you to visit your local bookstore to join the celebration. While each store is unique and independent (and the parties will reflect that) you’ll likely encounter some combination of authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, and contests. And most importantly, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on April 29th. Not before. Not after. Find a bookstore near you.

Listen. Support. Share.

Your support makes a difference for local bookstores across the country. Join the party in stores and online by sharing this offer with friends. Even if you’re unable to visit a store this Saturday, you can still take part in this offer and share with others. Simply copy/paste this link and email or share it on social media: https://libro.fm/playlists/bookstore-day


We love connecting with our listeners (and indie supporters!) so follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag #BookstoreDay to join the conversation.

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 29th and Get Free Audiobooks

In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, visitors to select independent bookstores this April 29th will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Titles include #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle (Harper Audio) by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). How do you participate? Easy. Show up at any of our 450 participating independent bookstores nationwide on April 29th, and be sure to create your Libro.fm account now so you can get updates as the event draws closer.

“I rely on local bookstores (at home and on vacation) to provide not only access to books but also community — story hours, fun children’s sections to visit on rainy days, interesting readings and panels to get me, and everyone else who attends, to think about the wider world than the one right under our noses. I feel that independent bookstores are really the purveyors and gardeners of the life of the mind.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of  The Women in the Castle

Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. Listen to a sample below:

 

My all-time favorite David Foster Wallace essay is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). DFW takes listeners on a 4-hour cruise in the Caribbean that is memorable for its wit and keen observations about the cruising industry. Listen to the sample below:

 

“Independent bookstores are my first stops in any new city, a quick check of the pulse in any literary community. They are ports in the storm, passageways to magical lands, escape hatches out of bad moods. Even when I don’t think I need a book, because the stack beside my bed is teetering toward the ceiling, I always need a bookstore. And then I usually need a book, too.”

—Emma Straub, 2017 Author Ambassador and author of Modern Lovers

We are also excited to give away a Penguin Random House Audio sampler, featuring some of the most popular independent bookstore bestsellers:


Prior to starting Libro.fm, I published Brain Rules by John Medina (Pear Press), a book that covers 12 ways our brains work. Dr. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into the science. Listen to a sample from the first chapter on exercise:

And for the kids in your life 8-12 years old, check out these audiobooks from Scholastic:

Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic)

 

Tombquest #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop (Scholastic)

 

You will also get the Hachette Audio Story Sampler for Bookstore Day 2017, including:

  • Dentists Without Borders written and read by David Sedaris

Plus shorter listens for the whole family:

Welcome to Night Vale: Vinyl Edition

Lastly, an exclusive Bookstore Day offer. Based on the tremendously popular podcast of the same name, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor explores the mysterious, interconnecting plights of a PTA mom and pawn shop owner in Night Vale, a small town in the American Southwest where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all just a part of everyday life. Beautifully packaged with “flypaper” sleeve, the purple vinyl also includes a full-length digital download of the audiobook performed by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner. Exclusively available on Bookstore Day for $24.95 (audiobook is complimentary).


Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party.

Since every store is unique and independent, every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids’ events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items available only at Indie stores on that day. Join the party: stop by your favorite indie bookstore on April 29th, chat with the booksellers, buy some books, and get your five free audiobooks plus two samplers!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books

Choose indie, every month

The Libro.fm membership is now available! For $14.99 per month, you’ll get to select from 70,000+ audiobooks, including New York Times bestsellers. Discover hidden gems hand curated by expert indie booksellers. Your first month is just $0.99 and you can cancel at anytime, no strings (or bookmarks) attached.

Membership-Features


Why Choose Libro.fm

When you compare our membership to others, you’ll see that it’s no contest:

Features Libro.fm Others
Over 70,000 titles
First month for $0.99
$14.99 monthly fee (one audiobook/month)
30% off additional audiobooks
Free iOS and Android App
Membership credits never expire
Every purchase supports independent bookstores
DRM-Free (listen on multiple devices)
Superior audio quality (2X industry standard)
Recommendations from indie booksellers
Ad-free browsing and listening
Pays a fair rate to publishers and authors

Start Your Libro.fm Membership


Listen to one of our recommendations below for only $0.99.

 

Enhanced-Cover-Lincoln

Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

Enhanced-Cover-Norse-Mythology

Norse Mythology

By Neil Gaiman

the-underground-railroad

The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead

hillbilly-elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

By J. D. Vance

commonwealth

Commonwealth

By Ann Patchett

You Are a Badass -Enhanced-Cover

You Are a Badass

By Jen Sincero

Big Little Lies-Enhanced-Cover

Big Little Lies

By Liane Moriarty

Hidden Figures-Enhanced-Cover

Hidden Figures

By Margot Lee Shetterly

Send an email to support@libro.fm if you have any questions about membership. We are happy to help you find your first audiobook and get started.

Membership is only valid in the U.S. and Canada.

Top 10 Audiobooks of 2016

2016 marks the first year independent bookstores had the opportunity to sell digital audiobooks. Libro.fm is delighted to announce the Top 10 Audiobooks of 2016 sold through more than 200 indie bookstore locations. Get 20% off all the Top 10 Audiobooks of 2016 when you enter “TOP2016” at checkout.


H-is-for-Hawk

#1

H Is for Hawk

H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.

Listen to a Sample


between-the-world-and-me

#2

Between the World and Me

Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis in this bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history.

Listen to a Sample


My-Brilliant-Friend

#3

My Brilliant Friend

A rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends by one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.

Listen to a Sample


the-girl-on-the-train

#4

The Girl on the Train

Hawkins’ bestselling debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives is now a major motion picture.

Listen to a Sample


When-Breath-Becomes-Air

#5

When Breath Becomes Air

A profoundly moving and exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Listen to a Sample


All-the-light-we-cannot-see

#6

All the Light We Cannot See

Doerr’s beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II.

Listen to a Sample


americanah

#7

Americanah

A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun.

Listen to a Sample


The-Boys-in-the-Boat

#8

The Boys in the Boat

Brown tells the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Listen to a Sample


The-Nest

#9

The Nest

Sweeney’s warm, funny, and perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance was the #1 Indie Next List Great Read for April 2016.

Listen to a Sample


the-soul-of-an-octopus

#10

The Soul of An Octopus

Montgomery explores the world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. A National Book Award finalist.

Listen to a Sample


Learn more about Libro.fm and choose to buy from more than 200 indie bookstores.

American Booksellers Association + Libro.fm

Libro.fm is now a partner of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and will be lending support to the ABA’s Indies First campaign.

What is the ABA?

The ABA is the national not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed. Serving over 2,000 bookstores nationwide, their support ranges from education and information dissemination to business products, services, and advocacy.

What does this new partnership mean?

With a partnership now in place, digital audiobooks will now appear on the IndieCommerce product page of Libro.fm partners. (IndieCommerce is the ecommerce platform developed by ABA just for independent bookstores.) This makes it easy for customers to purchase any format of a particular book while also supporting their local bookstore. The partnership also will allow us to reach more indie bookstores and help them benefit from a Libro.fm online storefront. More than 160 independent bookstore locations now offer digital audiobooks (choose your store).

The Indies First campaign.

indies_firstIn the coming weeks, Libro.fm will be lending support to Indies First, ABA’s national campaign featuring activities and events supporting independent bookstores. Spokesperson Lena Dunham is helping drive excitement for the campaign, which will take place on Small Business Saturday, November 26, 2016. As part of Indies First, bookstores will host authors as honorary booksellers to help hand-sell their favorite titles, sign books, give readings, and more—Lena Dunham, for example, will spend the day at Book Soup in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for Libro.fm’s special promotion in support of Indies First!

Top Six Reasons to Buy Audiobooks through Libro.fm

We recognize that book lovers have a choice where they purchase audiobooks. We’ve compiled six reasons why Libro.fm should be at the top of any list.

1 - Indie Stores

#1 / Audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm directly support your local, independent bookstore.
You can now listen to audiobooks while still shopping local. We believe independent bookstores like Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company and Boston’s Papercuts J.P. are the heart and soul of our communities, which is why we’re so thrilled to partner with them and more than a hundred other indie stores, including Blue Willow Bookshop, Book Passage, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Village Books, Northshire Bookstore, Tattered Cover Book Store, and WORD Bookstores.

2 - Expert Recommendations

#2 / Expert Recommendations from indie booksellers.
Whether it’s featuring the best of the Indie Next List, staff picks from Books & Books at the studios, or favorite new fiction at Bookshop Santa Cruz, we’ll keep you in the know.

3 - Easy to Listen

#3 / Easy to listen using our free app (iOS or Android)
You’re just a few clicks away from finding your next book club selection among the tens of thousands of audiobooks available on Libro.fm, including The New York Times bestsellers. Download our free app for any iOS or Android device.

4 - Best Audio Quality

#4 / The best audio quality you’ll find anywhere.
Crystal clear. No distractions. Just you and a book by one of the great novelists of our time, read to you in full stereo.

5 - DRM-free

#5 / DRM-free. Listen to your audiobook on any MP3 enabled device.
Say you download the H Is for Hawk audiobook to your computer… shouldn’t you also be able to listen to it on your smartphone? We think so, too.

6 - Independent

#6 / Independently owned and operated by a team of book lovers who believe we should all #chooseindie.


Some places put profits before customers, authors, or their love for books. This means that someone along the line is getting the short end of the stick. We don’t do that. We are independent and community-driven, just like the bookstores we love.


Top-6-Reasons-Compiled

Books of the Month: Before the Fall and Course Correction

For July’s Book of the Month, we’re featuring two compelling titles. The first, Noah Hawley’s gripping novel, Before the Fall (narrated by Robert Petkoff), explores the intertwined mysteries behind a fateful oceanic plane crash. The second, Ginny Gilder’s inspiring memoir, Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX — narrated by Janis Ian and free through Libro.fm for the entire month—follows the author’s struggle to reach the top of the rowing world while also finding peace with her sexuality.


Before-the-Fall-2

“This award-winning writer’s newest novel opens with a real nail-biter: a private jet crashes into the Atlantic off the New England coast and the harrowing survival of two of its passengers raises more questions than answers. At first a hero for rescuing four-year-old JJ, artist Scott Burroughs soon becomes the object of suspicion. Through the stories of each of the passengers, this thrilling mystery unfurls to its spellbinding end.”
RobinForever Books, St. Joseph, MI

Before the Fall - 4
Get twenty percent off Before the Fall (and all Libro.fm audiobooks) thru July by entering this code at checkout: SUMMER2016


“Beautiful and important on so many levels, Course Correction is about rowing and about so much more—hope and hopelessness, fear and courage, loss and redemption. Ultimately it is about the transforming power of love, and, dammit all, it made me cry.”
Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat

Course Correction - 8

Get your complimentary download of Course Correction (until July 31, 2016 at Midnight PST)


Listen to a preview of Course Correction


Join readers and listeners all month on social media to discuss Before the Fall and Course Correction. Use the hashtags #beforethefall and #coursecorrection, and find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.