I’ve had a few conversations this past week about audiobooks. There is a bit of a love/hate relationship concering audiobooks, and I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. If you’d asked me a year ago about audiobooks, my response would have been a little something like this, ” I just can’t… hearing other people’s voices messes with my reading experience,” or, “I have the attention span of a third grader, so I don’t have the capacity to pay attention” to, “Audiobooks… what?Why?” I really don’t know why I always dismissed audiobooks before, they’re practically my become my new BFFs now.
What’s so great about audiobooks?
Well, for me they’re just super convenient, and sometimes they can be fun. I read about 3-6 books at a time, and as much as I love reading, it can be overwhelming keeping up with all of them. Aside from helping me knock out my booklist, they’re also a fantastic way to help me multitask.
Getting ready for work: Insert audiobook
Driving to work: Insert audiobook
Cooking: Insert audiobook
Sick days when all you can do is lay in bed with burning eyes: Insert audiobook.
You get the picture. SO MUCH MORE READING TIME.
It wasn’t always this way, however. I had to transition and find ways that worked for me, and now I’m writing a blog post about how awesome they are, go figure. Here are some way that that helped me drop my misconceptions and get on with the listening. Trust me it’s weird at first, but once you get the hang of them you’ll love them. Not only because they can be really fun, but think of all that extra bonus story time you ‘ll now have….
1) Find a way that works for you.
For me the key is keeping busy. Before I figured this out, I’d sit and listen to the audio and since I do have the attention span of a third grader that went as far as you would expect it to. I was 200 pages into Les Miserbales (Unabridged) by Victor Hugo when I realized I would be reading this for a good chunk of the year without some help. Insert audiobook complete with 56 hours during a a grueling ab workout and violá, a convert was born.
I like listening to my audiobooks when I’m working out, getting ready, driving, cooking, ect. Anytime where my hands and body are moving around is usually a good time for me.
I know some people who need to be sitting down and doing nothing but listening to the audio. Another friend of mine can only listen to them while driving. Goes to show were all different, so find a way that works for you.
2) Find good narrators.
I have abandoned, and even gone as far as not liking a book because I couldn’t stand the narrator. When you find yourself listening to a voice you can’t stand ABANDON SHIP. You will hate the book, and hate audiobooks forever if you’re in the early stages. I know it isn’t as simple as picking up the same title narrated by someone else. But, maybe listening to a sampler chapter before investing time and money may help you decide if it will be a good fit for you. The more you listen to audiobooks the more you’ll become aware of different voice actors. I listen to a lot of fantasy audibooks, and I have a few favorites in the genre. Michael Kramer, Renee Raudman, and recently Steven Pacey have all become favorites.
3) Check out audiobooks from your library.
Another reason that I was always hesitant to get into audiobooks was because of the price. I’m not down to spend $30 on an audiobook when I can get a few paperbacks instead. Now I’m not sure how audiobooks work for every public library system, but my library systems are pretty great. Being able to sample audiobooks at virtually no cost to me, helped me figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. I know fantasty books usually have awesome and animated narrators, and romance has the tendecny to be a little monotone.
(I do have an audible account, but I didn’t get it till a few months ago when I was already fully immersed into audiobooks. If you feel like trying it out for the first free book go for it! But, I would say if you have the option start with your library.)
4) Get the physical text for your audiobook.
This isn’t really a tip it’s more like a suggestion. I read much faster than I listen, so I usually hybrid my audio reads. Basically, I just go back and forth between the reading and listenting. Plus I like being able to pick out quotes and see how certain things are spelled, or get a feel for how far I am in the book. To date I’ve only ever listened one complete audiobook without the text, and I’ve never done it since.
For now those are my 4 tips for you guys. If I think of more i’ll update this post,and of course if you have any, go ahead and share them.
ETA: Rabindranuth from Drunk Dragon Reviews shared a helpful tip that slipped my mind.
Speed up the listening setting. Most audiobook apps let you go up to 3x (at least the ones I’ve used.) My preferred is also 1.5x but of course you’re free to adjust to your preferences.
Happy reading/ listening 🙂
Image is from UCSF.