Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 9/21/2012

What is a podiobook?

The term podiobook was coined by Evo Terra in April 2005 to describe serialized audiobooks which are distributed via RSS, much like a podcast.

Are these books really free?

Yes. The serialized audio book versions we make available on our site are really free. However, these authors work very hard working on their books, and we work hard maintaining this site and paying the hosting bills. If you donate to a book, 75% of your cash goes to the author and the remainder goes to pay for hosting and bandwidth. And maybe someday, salaries for the staff. Please, be generous!

Why are authors making these versions available for free?

Many authors do this to get exposure for their work, others do it in the hopes you’ll buy a physical copy of their current or perhaps next work in development. Still others simply do it for the sheer joy of writing. And while it’s not required, you have the option to donate money to the author of your choice. When you consider that audio books run usually twice as much as their hardcover counterparts… we hope you’ll be generous. Authors receive 75% of all the proceeds from the donations from listeners. The smaller portion goes to the maintenance and upkeep of Podiobooks.com.

How do I listen to a book?

Two ways, and both of them very simple:

  • Listen on your computer/device – When you find a book you want to listen to… do it. Click on any of the episode links and the episode will either download or start playing on your computer.
  • Subscribe to the book’s RSS feed – Add that feed to Google Reader, iTunes, or any other device/program that can act as a podcatcher.

What is a podcatcher?

Put most simply, podcatchers read RSS feeds and automatically download enclosed media files (the book episodes). Some podcatchers can even move the files to your portable MP3 player automatically. Others just leave them in a folder for you to do something with later.

Will my standard RSS newsreader work?

Probably. But you need to figure out where the downloaded audio files are going.

But doesn’t “free download” mean “piracy”?

In a word; no. Every book we have on Podiobooks.com published with the express permission of the author and/or audio copyright holder. We ask all of our authors to make sure they own their own rights to distribute the audio file, or to make sure this is OK with their publishing company or whoever else might hold the audio rights.

Downloading and sharing the files you get from Podiobooks.com is not illegal. In fact, it’s encouraged. The free episodes of the audio books we offer here are made available via a Creative Commons License. The idea, in general, is to spread the words, so start spreading!

But shouldn’t the author get paid?

Certainly! Creative people have a right to receive compensation for their hard work. That’s one reason why we don’t charge authors to be a part of Podiobooks.com, and why we give them the lion’s share of any contribution made by listeners.

Podiobooks.com is simply one more arrow in the quiver that makes up the writer’s career. To carry the analogy further, writers need to shoot as many arrows as possible in just the right places to ensure they have a writing career, and not just “a book”. This site won’t do that alone. Heck, nothing will do that alone.

Are these just samples?

Nope, not at all! These are all full length novels, compilations, anthologies or other sorts of books.

Why do some files download SOOOO SLLLOOOOOWWWWW?

All of the files served up on Podiobooks.com are done so by the generous folks over at Liberated Syndication. In an effort to balance out the load, files are moved around to different parts of their network. Some are “fast” downloads, some are “slow” downloads. It happens. Patience, young grasshopper… patience. :)

Why serialize?

Why not? By “serializing” the book, and spreading it out over a period of time, you don’t have to make time for an entire book at one sitting. Commuters love it, as do people who like to listen to a variety of things throughout the day.

Why did only one file download?

Different podcatchers handle downloads differently. Most are set by default to only download the most recent episode. Some will download all episodes automatically. Some will not, requiring you to trigger the downloads manually or change your settings so that all episodes automatically download. Each podcatcher handles that differently: please consult the help files for you podcatcher for more instructions.

What’s the difference between Family Friendly and For Kids?

If a title has a “For Kids” designation, that means that the book was written specifically for kids. Parents and adults might enjoy the book as well, but the target audience was for someone in the Juniors department.

If you see a “Family Friendly” rating, you can rest assured the book is safe for family listening. It may not be aimed specifically at your kids, but you can assume that the language and content are of what you might expect on U.S. network television in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday.

Now keep in mind, every kid and every family is different. We’re trying our best not to make value judgments here. If you’re really concerned your kid might hear something you don’t approve of, you should be listening first. And if you’ve ever petitioned a public library to have a title removed from the shelves because it might damage your child… well, we’re not gonna make you happy no matter what we say.

What does “Adult” mean?

Adult is…well…adult. You know. Sex. And stuff. No kids. Got it, you little pervs?

What about the titles that have no special rating?

We point out the books that are for kids. We point out the books that are family friendly. We make it challenging to find titles that are just for adults. But for everything else… that’s your decision to make. We’re not in the business of somehow rating the rest of the things.

Can I get you to change a rating if I think it’s incorrect?

Sure you can. We rely on our authors to tell us if something needs the Family Friendly, For Kids, Adults Only and even the iTunes-only Explicit tags. Give us some specific information on why you think it should be changed, and we’ll work with the author. However, we reserve the right to make the final call.

Where can I find your submission guidelines?

They’re hidden behind the link with the cryptic title of “How to List Your Audiobook” on every page of our site.

What tips do you have if I want to create a podiobook?

First, listen and learn. This isn’t something you decide to do on a whim. Stand on the shoulders of giants first. Carefully read ALL of the information on the page linked above for more information. Then follow those instructions. See you soon!