Thoughts on… Audiobooks

Before this year I had never listen to an audiobook for before. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I remember listening to cassette tapes of the Animal Ark books by Lucy Daniels when I was a child. I word listen to them on a walkman and I had a cassette player by my bed and I would sometimes listen to them at night before falling asleep instead of reading a book.

Back from the age of say 7 years old to nearly 20 years later I haven’t really listened to audiobook but that was until this year. At the end of 2017 I started a new job where I could walk to work every day, instead of getting the train as I had previously. When I was commuting to work by train I would read on the train, but now I didn’t have that time I wasn’t reading as much. So that’s when I started looking into audiobooks, so I could listen to something as I walked to and from work and also maybe when I was walking around town on my lunch break. Obviously, I’d heard of Audible but when I looked into that it’s kind of expensive and I rarely read physical books more than once so I doubt I’ll ever listen to an audiobook more than once so when I joined local library I discovered they have audiobooks you can borrow from the library.

I downloaded a couple of apps one is called Borrow Box and another is called RBdigital and these are the two I use the most. Obviously different libraries have different catalogues, so some have more choice than others but since January I’ve listened to two audiobooks a month on average depending how long the audiobook is.

I’m finding that audiobooks are a great way for me to read more books during a month or a year. And it’s a way for me to read books that have been on my shelves for a long time that I was perhaps intimidated by. For instance, I listen to the audiobook of The Three Musketeers over the summer, a book that I’ve had on my shelf for at least 15 years and I had yet to read it and I doubt I would have read the physical copy. Last month I listened to the audiobook of Dune by Frank Herbert and that was definitely a book that was so big and such a classic that I really don’t think I would’ve read it if it wasn’t for the audiobook. I listened to Bleak House on audio this year and I think that made it an easier book to understand because listening to the characters talk and the description made it less dense than the few times I’ve tried to read my paperback copy of Bleak House.

I find audiobooks are not only good way of reading intimidating books that I’ve had my possession but also to find new books I hadn’t heard of before. It has been audiobooks that I’ve listen to a lot for my Read the World Project and because I’ve borrowed them through the library, they haven’t cost me any money.

I think once upon a time I believed that audiobooks weren’t “real books” and if you listen to audiobooks you weren’t reading but I stand corrected. Whether you read a book that’s a physical copy or an e-book or you listen to an audiobook, you are still consuming the story and I think that’s the most important thing.

I am now an audiobook convert I think they’re brilliant and so handy and such a great way to get stories to people that might not have the time to sit down and dedicate time to reading a physical copy. I can listen to a least an hour each day of an audiobook on my walk to and from work. If I’m doing the cleaning or cooking, I’m usually listen to my audiobook then as well so I’m still paying attention and I’m still consuming the story, but I don’t have to dedicate all my time to the action of reading when I’m listening to an audiobook.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, where do you get your audiobooks from? I’m always looking for cheap and new ways to listen to audiobooks.

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14 comments

  1. I’m a pretty recent convert to audio books too. Like you I love them for the more daunting books like some of the classics but I’ve also listened to a lot of recent releases too. I managed to get Book of Dust recently and it was really good.

    Audible is probably the best place to get them (they have the widest selection) but I also get most from the library. I use the Overdrive app which I think they’ve now changed to Libby.

    1. I’d heard of Libby but I think that’s more for US libraries rather than UK ones, or at least it was last time I looked into it. I’ll have to check it out again though as I think getting audiobooks from the library is just the best!

      1. I think Libby and Overdrive are pretty much the same thing. I’m UK based and it was Overdrive that pushed me over to Libby, although I still have both apps on my phone. It’s the same selection just looks a bit different.

  2. LOVE audiobooks. My husband and I have a subscription to Audible, but I also get a ton from Overdrive. As the person above me said, they’re changing it to Libby, but my Overdrive app still works… for now at least.

    I’ve found audiobooks to be particularly good for non-fiction, because I don’t get bogged down in terminology.

  3. I only recently just made an Audible account, and was totally blown away by how awesome it is! I get to read much more books than normal, and it’s a great way to enjoy a piece of literature in a unique style. Great post 🙂

  4. I listened to my first audiobook 10 years ago after also previously thinking that they didn’t count. I find them good to listen to at work when I’m working on projects and can have them playing in the background. It’s also a good way to read more books than I would otherwise. And I’ve found that some narrators can make a merely good book an excellent book with their performance. I download all of my audiobooks from the public library on Overdrive or RBdigital.

    1. I agree with you about narrators, I’ve already got a couple of favourite ones that if I realise they’re narrating the audiobook I’m more likely to listen to it.
      I’ve definitely read more books this year thanks to audiobooks than I normally would, so that was a nice bonus 🙂

  5. I got into audiobooks this year too. I had tried them before but made the mistake of trying to just sit and listen. I definitely need to be doing something else to be able to focus. My commute is nearly 2 hours a day (walking and train combined) so I tend to get through an audiobook a week, especially if I speed them up a bit.

    I have a draft post ready about getting audiobooks in the UK as I’ve tried a few options. Bulk buying Audible credits is good if you want to listen to new releases (my credits work out at £4.58 each but I did have to buy 24 in one go) but I don’t think it’s worth it if you’re happy listening to older books. My library has just moved to BorrowBox, the selection is so much better but the app is a bit rubbish. I’ve also tried BookBeat and I do use Amazon matchmaker to get cheap audiobooks of Kindle books I bought in past sales.

    1. Yeah I generally listen to audiobooks at 1.25 speed, but have sped it up to 1.5 when listening to huge books like Bleak House.

      I look forward to reading your post about audiobooks! Bulk buying audible credits sound like a good idea, hadn’t considered that.

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