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.

Written by

Mark Pearson

Mark Pearson

Mark is a cofounder of Libro.fm. He lives in Seattle where he enjoys running in the rain, playing tennis when the sun makes an appearance, over and undercooking food, and reading The New York Times on paper.

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