Online shopping still has a face

Cyber Monday was created in 2005 to encourage online shopping and was quickly embraced by smaller retailers who struggled to compete with the Black Friday offers from big box retailers.

To us, Cyber Monday is another reason and reminder to shop small, to support local companies and retailers with online purchases. Given that Libro.fm audiobooks allow you to support your local bookstore, join us and #CyberSmall on Monday, November 27th. Get 30% off our entire audiobook catalog with the code CM17.

We also encourage you to visit the website of your local bookstore as most have the functionality to sell print books and Libro.fm audiobooks online.

So think before you click and #CyberSmall this Monday.

Buy someone a story this holiday season

Beginning to plot out your holiday shopping list? Thinking about the perfect gift to buy that audiobook lover in your family, but also hoping to support your favorite independent bookseller? We here at Libro.fm are excited to announce that we now offer digital audiobook gifting! This new feature means you can gift specific audiobook titles to your loved ones via email or printable certificate, all while still supporting local bookstores.

What’s more, Libro.fm members get an additional 30% off all audiobook gifts! Choose from the over 75K+ titles in our digital library, or if you need help finding the perfect one, visit our online gift guide  or recommendation page, compiled by expert independent booksellers across the country. Or better yet, visit our Indies First page and get 50% off their stellar list of titles on November 25th.

If you already have a few books in mind for yourself, great! You can use our Wish List feature, which lets you easily share your list with friends and family.

Give the gift of audiobooks this holiday season, and choose indie! Visit us at libro.fm and tell us about it on social media using #librofm #audiobookgifting #chooseindie

Listen up, kids!

We here at Libro.fm are happy to announce a new page tailored just for kids! We’ve heard from parents how great audiobooks can be for road trips, as an alternative to screen time, and as an educational tool. So we’ve decided to feature a host of lists just for your children, based on suggestions from real life booksellers at our independent partner bookstores!

Is your child drawn to adventure books? Introduce them to the wonderful worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter, or perhaps a futuristic New York or a Star Wars-esque Bejing!

Or perhaps they’re into mysteries. If so, we’ve got a playlist that’s perfect for your budding detective-in-training.

Gearing up for a road trip? We’ve got classics like A Wrinkle in Time and newer gems like Redwall and The Emerald Atlas to make that drive or flight a little more smooth.


This is just a sampling of our many lists, which include selections for lovers of Fantasy, Humor, Bedtime, and more. We even have list specially curated for your child’s particular age group. Come visit us now!

Congrats, Summer Listening Challenge Finishers!

More than 40 independent bookstores participated in our first ever, Summer Listening Challenge.

Each participant was asked to log 20 hours of listening and tell us which bookstore they supported and what activities they did while listening. You can find the summary of results in the graphic below.

From booksellers to toddlers, and meditation to metalsmithing, there is an audiobook for everyone and no limit on the activities that can be accomplished while listening! But more importantly, with each listen through Libro.fm customers supported their local bookstore and their local community. Enough from us, hear what our finishers had to say after listening to more than 1,660 hours of audiobooks.

“I’ve completed my summer listening (I listened to sooo many books) and appreciate your encouragement!” – Sierra, supporter of Powell’s Books

“Thank you so much for offering this audio-focused reading challenge! I’ve always loved audiobooks, and my sons have gotten hooked in the past year.” – Pamela, supporter of Blue Willow Books

“So fun! I felt like a kid again, participating in my local library’s summer reading program!” – Jen, supporter of Vroman’s Bookstore

“Loved listening to books this summer! Thanks for being an amazing company!” – Kadine, supporter of Elliott Bay Book Company

Summer Listening Challenge

It’s summer time and there are so many fun things to do! Audiobooks can be a great companion for art projects, exercise, gardening, and car trips. Give what we like to call #handsfreereading a try and with Libro.fm, each listen supports your local bookstore and community.

How does it work? 

First, listen to 20 hours of audiobooks between July 1st and September 4th. Next, track your progress using this worksheet. Finally, email a picture of your completed worksheet to bookstores@Libro.fm and we’ll send you a FREE Libro.fm t-shirt and earbuds!

Who can participate? 

Anyone! Adults, Parents, grandparents, kids, teenagers—we have audiobooks for all ages! Start exploring at Libro.fm and be sure to use our new Wish List to track which audiobook you want to listen to next!

Get started!

Download the worksheet, find your next audiobook, and be social with us! Share what you’re listening to and what you’re doing while listening by tagging @Librofm and using #handsfreereading and #summerlistening.

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