Audiobooks discussion

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Archives > Would you listen to free audiobooks on YouTube?

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message 1: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Seymour | 4 comments Hey all! I'm planning on launching a YouTube channel that hosts free, licensed audiobooks. I'm still in the planning stages now, and in order to get rightsholders onboard I'm going to need to prove there's a market. Plus I could use help tweaking the model so that it offers You The Listeners something awesome.

I've hacked together a very short survey to get some feedback. It would be a huge help in getting this thing off the ground if some of you would be willing to take it and share it within your communities. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JMFDNP6

I've also got my first piece of test content up (full disclosure: it's a book I wrote and narrated, because that meant I didn't have to jump through hoops to get the rights). I've done my best to use YouTube's tools to create a good listening experience, but I could definitely use more feedback on that as well. Link here, if you're interested: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

Many thanks!


message 2: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (haveah) | 106 comments No offense, but I don't like being tethered. The thing I like about ebooks and audiobooks, is that you download the file. You don't always have to be connected to the internet.

Plus- I would assume that you would have to keep track of where you left off, if you have to stop. Then fast forward to that place when you want to resume listening. It sounds like a hassle, unless they are very short books or short stories.


message 3: by MissSusie (new)

MissSusie | 1958 comments I agree with Natalie the thing I love about audiobooks is being able to multi-task so being tied to the computer is not an option and also agree on the hassle of finding where you left off i don't even like listening to CD's anymore for these two reasons.

Also it just doesn't seem like author, narrator, publisher would get paid for this service and feels a bit like pirating to me.


message 4: by Robin P (new)

Robin P | 1004 comments Yes, my question as a listener is "why would I listen to this?" I commend you on making this and it could be a way to get noticed. But I wouldn't sit at a computer, and with the quality of audiobooks out there for low prices or free through a library, I expect professional quality.


message 5: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 75 comments I agree with the other comments here, I wouldn't be interested in a YouTube channel for audiobooks. Although you could access it on your phone, which would mean portability, it also means going through your phone. Then you get into the issue of data streaming, taking up plan data. And really I have not had good success using YouTube on my phone, only on the computer does it work well.


message 6: by Deedra (new)

Deedra | 172 comments I have tried,but they take them away so soon I never finished a book.


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) | 519 comments I agree with everyone else. This just does not seem like a very good idea. For me the issue would be one of the hassle of trying to find your place in the book every time you return to continue listening. Plus, I do not see publishers giving anyone the rights to publish their books on YouTube sine there would be no way for them to get paid for each download.


message 8: by Kristie (new)

Kristie | 2212 comments Sorry, but I would have no interest in listening to audiobooks on YouTube for all of the reasons mentioned already. I don't feel there is a shortage of free and low-cost listening options, and all of them allow you to both bookmark and listen without streaming. I don't see that YouTube gains anyone anything.

Just providing constructive feedback, since you asked for it. Please take these comments as such.


message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael (mobe1969) | 463 comments Yeah youtube means a) needs internet and b) needs a smartphone screen on.

Not real intsrested in the idea


message 10: by Nospin (new)

Nospin | 232 comments Not interested.
i love the Audible app with speed changing option


message 11: by Trish (new)

Trish (trishga) | 212 comments No.


message 12: by Chatterjak (new)

Chatterjak | 6 comments I do love the portability of listening through my phone, but hey if the book is for free I'm willing to listen at home! As long as the production quality is reasonable - I had a quick listen & I have no complaints, so I'll give it a go & give you feedback if you like.


message 13: by Karri (new)

Karri (ikarri) | 33 comments Nope


message 14: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Seymour | 4 comments Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! It's very helpful. I'm doing a few things to try to address some of your concerns (others I can't do anything about, but I still appreciate the comments!).

- To those worried about pirating: The authors would get paid. I plan to start off by approaching authors who control their own audiobook rights and offering them the same 70/30 split of revenue they're used to when they self-publish on Amazon. I'd never post a pirated book, only a licensed one.

- To those worried about navigating: I'm using YouTube's annotations tool to approximate a player. There are buttons on each video to skip to the next chapter, restart the current chapter, and go back to the previous chapter, and there are clickable links in every description to move between chapters as well. YouTube also usually remembers where you left off watching a video within a few seconds. It's not as good as Audible, but it's better than nothing.

- The portability problem I can't solve yet. My hope is that eventually YouTube will enable downloadable content and fix their mobile app, but all I can do there is keep my fingers crossed. :-)

Thanks again! Really appreciate the feedback.


message 15: by Hunchback Jack (new)

Hunchback Jack | 536 comments As someone who listens almost exclusively on my smartphone, I would use this service but for two things:

1) YouTube will stream video as well as audio, which will cut into my data plan

2) I need to keep the app in the foreground and the phone screen on, or the YouTube app suspends.

Most of the other problems are solvable. YouTube provide chaptering of videos which you can just forward and back quickly. And if you connect to the same video from the same account (or perhaps the same device), it remembers your place in the video. So that's all good.

If you find an audio only service - for podcasts, for example - with smartphone support that allows playing audio when the app is in the background, I'd be in. I assume there would need to be ads, but that would be fine.


message 16: by Robin P (new)

Robin P | 1004 comments Maybe you are ahead of the times and this will become more common and easier to do. And maybe others are more technically creative than I am. I don't want to deal with another format. Since I can afford a basic Audible plan, I don't even bother dealing with libraries or other formats. It just works so well all the time and has so much selection. And Hunchback mentioned ads, that would be very annoying to me.


message 17: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Darling | 2 comments As a narrator for Audible, I'm not sure I can see this working. Not too many authors have a trained voice or a good enough voice to narrate (yes, it does make a difference!) and even fewer have the professional tools necessary for decent quality. You don't mention paying a narrator and they are unlikely to work for nothing (it takes about six hours of work per finished hour of audio to get a professional quality product.


message 18: by J. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (new)

J.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ | 705 comments Seconded. The narration definitely matters.


message 19: by Lupdilup (last edited Apr 25, 2015 09:05PM) (new)

Lupdilup | 22 comments It's a no for me. I love the freedom audiobooks provide, and although I know it would play over the Internet and I could still listen on my phone, but it could never offer the sync, sleep timer and other features I love in the application.


message 20: by Samyann (new)

Samyann | 69 comments Two problems I can see right away, probably mentioned already. One, you’re hooked to connection, either via cable, wifi, etc. Second, if you use a mobile app, i.e., stream the audio, it’s going to eat up plan time.

With Audible or iTunes type audiobooks, you download them and listen whilst in a tent in the woods with no signal. :-).


message 21: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Seymour | 4 comments Thanks again, all. Really appreciate the feedback. As far as professional narration goes, I totally agree that it's necessary! I'll be looking to connect with authors who have already had their audiobooks professionally recorded and are interested in broadening their audience, and I'll vet every book for quality. :-)

Cheers! Hopefully someday YouTube will allow creators to make their content downloadable, and I'll be back through here to make believers of you all. :-)


message 22: by Chatterjak (new)

Chatterjak | 6 comments Actually I thought your narration was pretty good Jeff, better than some of the audible narrators I've heard in fact. Sound quality was good enough to be able to enjoy listening, if not perfect, it was nevertheless a very acceptable standard for me personally, and I do find poor quality annoying. I think I'd happily use it at home (unlimited wifi) in place of watching TV or listening to the radio. With time if it becomes as flexible to use as audible then it could be fantastic. Adverts are annoying, but 30seconds or so of it per every 2/3 chapters was a happy compromise for being able to listen for free, if this takes off in the future it could save me a decent amount of money! I'm sure it's not for everyone, but what is? Technically I found it very easy to use, and have no concerns about navigating to chapters. I do love the bookmark & sleep timer features in audible though. Thank you, and best of luck with it!


message 23: by Joe (new)

Joe Hempel (joehempel) | 200 comments No. Not only do I not want to sit at a computer, but Youtube kills the quality.


message 24: by Chatterjak (new)

Chatterjak | 6 comments I should probably have said I'm listening on tablet.


message 25: by Katherine (last edited Apr 29, 2015 05:48AM) (new)

Katherine (sandrakay) | 8 comments I think this idea would be useful for students who need an audio format to listen to their assignments. People with print disabilities or vision impairments might also be interested in this. I tend to listen to most of my books while driving in the car, so I would not find this a format that I would utilize as much.

I listened to a little of your sample story and really enjoyed it. I would definitely consider going to YouTube to listen to a book when time permits.


message 26: by Aaron (last edited Apr 29, 2015 07:12AM) (new)

Aaron Nagy | 13 comments Youtube I feel is a bad idea and Soundcloud/Stitcher would work better, or at least you would add those to the list as well. Youtube can't really be on a smartphone unless you want to kill your battery life and doesn't allow speed ups.


message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael (mobe1969) | 463 comments Ah yes Aaron, the inability to change the speed would be an absolute deal breaker


message 28: by Patrick (new)

Patrick  (volmann) | 20 comments Deedra wrote: "I have tried,but they take them away so soon I never finished a book."<

I heard that! Have three Grisham novels 3/4 finished when the copyright catches up w/ Y.T. However, since I am working on a pc daily, sometime one can get lucky and actually finish a book....recently Lee Child's 'Killing Floor' and O'Reilly's 'Killing Patton'.



message 29: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Seymour | 4 comments Thanks again for the continued feedback. Really appreciate it! :-)


message 30: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1 comments I've listened to a couple books that way, but usually it's either because I happen to have a computer available to do so which is nearby, or because I have access to a browser extension that enables audio downloads which of course isn't always an option. If you're going to use Youtube, I'd suggest complementing it with a file-sharing or audio-streaming site so people can also listen on the go. :)


message 31: by Nikki (new)

Nikki | 75 comments Is there really a need or market for this?. Theres plenty of free apps available to make it easy to listen on smart phones so thats not a factor. As for content if Im not picky theres 100,000's free audiobooks out there via librarys etc and if I am picky theres another half dozen big companies that will easily provide me with the book of my choice for under $15. None of these have adverts.


message 32: by Tobie (new)

Tobie Lurie | 5 comments No--I don't think I would do this. I like my ipad and I mostly use Overdrive.


message 33: by Lilmissmolly (new)

Lilmissmolly | 83 comments No. Hate the data gobbler.


message 34: by Mara (new)

Mara Pemberton (marapem) | 233 comments Yes!


message 35: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 27 comments Yes, I'm going to be listening to one next month for a group read.


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