Free download of Little Brother audiobook

The Random House audiobook edition of my novel Little Brother is a free MP3 download this week through Sync, a program that develops the audience of teen/YA audiobook listeners (it's paired with Kafka's The Trial, which is pretty cool). The file itself can only be downloaded with a proprietary downloader from Overdrive, which I couldn't run under WINE on my GNU/Linux system, so I'm not sure how the process goes, but once you've actually gotten the file, it's yours to keep for personal use as a plain-vanilla MP3 with no DRM.


  1. Why do I have to download an application before I can download an MP3? As Cory points out, it kept him from trying it on Linux. But also, how do i know what else that application does? You know, we have these things called web browsers that are able to download files without helper applications! Miraculous!

  2. So unless you gave/sold it to them under a different license it will be CC and we Linux geeks can expect it at or torrent sites at some point? Hopefully someone will see this article and submit a bug at, maybe it will be me.

  3. Seriously? These are the steps:
    Get OverDrive Media Console (ODMC)
    Activate this week’s Sync Audiobook
    Get .odm file
    Download MP3 file using ODMC
    Play your Sync Audiobook or transfer to your MP3 player!

    The OverLord Media Console has no search function for finding books. OK.

    You also have to sign up for “Audiobook Community” and agree to let them send you email.

    Then you are in some kind of thing that says “Sync Title 1” but there are no links for downloading “Little Brother”. There is another sign up form, do I have to sign up for a second thing? OK, let’s do it. Name, email address twice. Boom.

    Still no link to download Little Brother. Spinning wheels…

    Go to home page of audiobook community, search for “Little Brother” — Nothing..wait, second result brings me back to with the “Download Little Brother — Start Here” link.
    Email from ABC thanks me for downloading Little Brother, though it’s not in my OverLord Media Console.
    Link to “Download Help” takes me to the same “start here” page.

    I’ll Start Here again, enter name again, enter email again twice.

    Spinning wheels on “” again, but nothing happening.

    I get a third email from ABC. “Thank You for Visiting Sync at Audiobook Community!”

    OK, two sign-ups, one proprietary media manager installation, three emails, zero audio books. Giving up and uninstalling. Do I have to say it? Orwellian. Good thing it’s paired with Kafka, because this thing is a Trial.

    Still, Kudos to Cory and his publisher for trying to make a free download available of a great book. I will wait on the uninstall and see if this thing shapes up.

    1. Similar experience. Still trying to get Kafka. The free downloads they’re offering for the month of June is really a contest, and they only select 8 people from the commenters to receive the free downloads.

      Cory, you’re the carrot for this social media site.

  4. Download Error: Your receipt number is not registered

    At least I have a new entry for my Hall of Meaningless Error Messages.

  5. Thanks for this, gang. I couldn’t even get far enough along to get an error message. I’ve forwarded this thread on to the people who run the giveaway in hopes that they can kick this and make it work (I don’t have anything to do with this apart from saying, yes, please, give away my audiobook!)

  6. Yep, I give up too. Chasing my tail for 15 minutes in two different brosers trying to find my way to something that might actually let me download.

  7. Safari = failure. Chrome + patience (after I submitted my email address I had to wait 2 or 3 minutes for the next page to load) = success.

  8. Hi –

    It was tedious, but using Firefox 5 on OS X I managed to get it all downloaded. It is overly complicated, but in my limited experience of downloadable audiobooks (as opposed to books on CD), they all have these unnecessary apps for downloading the content.

  9. Now have Cory and Kafka, too.

    Tell these folks that when they have a promotion and their servers get hosed, they should at least send an email ack’ing the problem. It’ll make a big difference in determining if I come back again.

    I’m not entralled in dealing with depersonalized bots.

    I don’t see any review of LB on the community site. Why not?

  10. Howdy! SYNC Gal here. Yup, Overdrive is a bit over the top in terms of steps. The reasoning behind using it to deliver these DRM-free MP3’s is this…

    Overdrive is the system used nationwide by libraries to deliver free audiobooks to patrons. SYNC’s mission is to build the audience for listening to lit.

    One could argue that a one-click process would endear us more readily…but one-click (or several) is not the current way with audio downloads unless you are a paid subscriber to Audible or iTunes or…

    The only way SYNC can draw people towards MORE FREE AUDIO is thru Overdrive and downloads from the library. Librarians are in fact working with patrons all over the country to use SYNC to intro their free audio thru Overdrive.

    All that to say THANKS for the fab feedback. We know, we know.

    But we are JAZZED that the publishers have stepped forward and have committed 16 titles including Cory’s LITTLE BROTHER to teen (and the rest of our) listening literacy.

    1. SYNc Gal: I’m the biggest audiobook fan going. I’ve called the folks at several times to ask a question or to make a recommendation. They’re always willing to listen. I still haven’t received an email response from a human at your company.

      Your online reputation counts a lot more than MORE FREE AUDIO.

      1. Howdy Miro. Don’t tell anyone, but I DO care more about more free audio and literacy than I do about our online reputation. Some of us are just tweaked that way.

      1. Hey musicman. Sadly no. The traditional book world is its own sweet universe. The only way free audiobooks go out is thru libraries thus if we want to give away audio –we have to go thought the library software.

  11. Well, I’ll be dipped! Jump through the hoops in Safari = fail at step 1. Jump through the hoops in Chrome = fail at step 1. Jump through the hoops in Firefox = TEH WIN!

    So, apparently you have to fill out that form at the bottom of step 1 that LOOKS like it’s to check for international availability, even if you’re in the US. That interface might need a bit of tweaking.

  12. This is just not worth the hassle. Period. I’m sorry you didn’t check this out before posting it, Cory. I resent now being put on the email list of a company so awful at doing what it purports is its reason for existing.

  13. Thank you for making the audiobook available. As I have used the OverLord app in the past-I’m an audiobook junkie and get my fix through not one but two different county libraries, I’m forced to use this application-a lot! It’s not easy, but what are you going to do when the monkey jumps on your back, and you can’t shake it free, you’re going to jump through whatever crazy set of steps and hoops are thrown your way, just to get your fix.

    The books did come down, DRM-free BTW.

    And now I get to listen to Kirby Heyborne to boot!

    Thanks again Cory,

  14. Wow, a$$hat company has a great opportunity to promote its SOCIAL MEDIA SITE, and totally blows it? Am I right? And I was being oh so generous.

  15. Sync Gal again. You are all right. We were not ready for the traffic this morning either server-wise or staff-wise. Unwise.

    The great citizens of BoingBoing hopped on SYNC just as all our messaging arrived in 17K in-boxes. Kapow!

    The title is available until 7/6/11 for download. If you got hung up today, try again later -that is if you still have a smidgen of patience left.

    Cheers and thanks for the feedback.

  16. I think some of you guys are being a little harsh – yes, the process wasn’t intuative, yes, it’s a crappy piece of software you have to install unnessasarily – BUT you do get Little Brother for free. Took me all of two minutes. Granted I was frowning heavily enough to bring on a head-fugg, but it’s quickly passed.

    I don’t get to sit and read these days due to work pressures and looking after the toddler – and can’t afford an Audible subscription (which I know Cory frowns on anyway) or treats like buying audiobooks as we’re on a very low income, so I’m very happy to jump through a couple of hoops to get to listen to a book I’ve wanted to read for some time.

    Pff. Freetards are never happy, eh?

  17. Hi everyone!

    I hope you’ve all had a chance to go back and try the download. Everyone and their sister must have been trying to download at about the same time today and it slowed OverDrive’s server waaaaaay dowwwwn. You remember, like the old days of the internet or the mighty BBS?!

    And if you wrote me via the Sync site, you should have received an email back from me.

    Anyway, we’ve heard from lots of people that had problems earlier who’ve since downloaded both titles.

    OverDrive doesn’t yet have an OverDrive Media Console for Linux. You should definitely talk to the library where you get your audiobooks. Perhaps they have a work around that we don’t know about. I have a Linux tablet but I just move the mp3 file over to my tablet from my pc or Mac and it works fine.

    Although there seem to be more steps to the OverDrive system than some systems, once set up, the process happens almost automatically. Many teens, educators, school media specialists and librarians already use this system – a big factor in why we chose it.

    So, thanks for your feed back and patience today!

  18. Already had the Overdrive media console downloaded from my local library. Entered email address got link to book…easy peasy. Thanks :-)

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