We'll see where this goes...
This last weekend, I went into my GoDaddy account and registered the domain "commonvox.org". I haven't set up anything with it yet, so if you try to go there at the moment (February 4, 2013), you'll just get a generic godaddy homepage in your face.
But here's the deal: I plan to use this domain as the home base for the creation and distribution of a number of audiobooks/podcasts based upon notable books from the Creative Commons ecosystem. (Books that are licensed to universally allow derivative works are immediately available; those that don't will require me to get approval from the rights-holder to make an audiobook version.)
My reasoning is as follows:
The creation of audiobooks in the public domain is being handled very nicely by LibriVox. I have nothing but good things to say about LibriVox (in contrast to some of the other "noble cause" oriented organizations that I've lent my efforts to over the decades). What makes me such a fanboy? I think it's got something to do with the fact that we (I get to say "we" here, because LibriVox is a "we" thing) have a simple, straightforward mission (to provide public domain audiobooks based upon public domain writings), and we go about it directly, without a lot of fuss. And since EVERYONE in the organization, including all the admin folks, are volunteers, the sense of egalitarianism and extreme civility within the LibriVox forums is palpable, and a welcome relief from the puerile flame-throwing and foolishness that infests much of the wide-open Internet.
The distribution of audiobooks in the traditional copyright domain appears to effectively be in the hands of a single monopoly: Audible.com. That's pretty much all there is to say: You want a for-pay audiobook of a copyrighted work? You go to Audible (or its parent company Amazon; or iTunes, which seems to offer most of the Audible line).
But the creation and distribution of some notable works published under Creative Commons licenses seems to not be getting any concerted attention. In my own small way, I aim to change that.
At this very moment, I am in action producing my first work under the “CommonVox” umbrella. Late last week (before I had even registered the "CommonVox.org" domain) I got in touch with an author of (considerable) note, whose most recent very important work is not yet available in audiobook format. I produced (in format and quality acceptable for publication on Audible) the first chapter of the work and sent the author a private link to it, stating my desire to produce the complete audiobook and make it as widely available as possible. Within a few hours I received a brief reply (the author looks to be a very very busy person) to the effect of "go for it".
So I am going for it, and the audiobook should be completed and ready for distribution shortly -- mode of distribution (commonvox.org? audible.com? podcast? all the above?) yet to be determined.
What comes after this first project? I'm bursting with ideas, but we'll have to wait and see what this month might bring, first...