Audiobooks: Listen While You Work
Audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular these days. With smart phones able to hold a large number of ebooks and audiobooks, it’s gotten easier and more desirable. It wasn’t that long ago that CD’s were the first choice for listening to books. How much easier downloads have made it.
Right now I have around fifteen books on my phone. That isn’t said to impress, only to show you how easily a smart phone can store them. A couple are from the local library, downloaded on their (Overdrive) app. Some are Audible purchases downloaded onto iTunes.
Listen straight from Audible’s app…
Most are now directly on Audible’s app. Since they came out with their own app it has made it even easier. You can view and browse your entire library there and pick which you want to download on your device. You can remove them too, if space is a concern, and download them again at a later time.
Once they are downloaded onto your device, they are available to you without an internet connection, just like iTunes.
Audible also gives you the ability to mark them finished, a feature I wish Kindle ebooks offered. That way you can separate those you have completed from those still to read (listen).
Availability is vastly improved
As with any books, sometimes you aren’t in the mood for one you’ve started. It’s so handy to have a variety to choose from. Variety has been easy to find over the last few years. I read one report that said as recently as 2007 there were a little over 3,000 books recorded in audio form. At the end of 2013 there were over 20,000. That number increased substantially in 2014.
More and more books are now available, some that weren’t even a year ago. Not only new ones, but older editions by different authors, such as earlier ones in a series. All genres are available too—classics, biographies, non-fiction and current fiction.
Smart Phones make it convenient
Another report shows that 92% of adults in America own cell phones now, with the majority of those being smartphones. We rely on those phones for more every day. They also make it very convenient for ‘reading’ on the go.
There are days when I am able to listen for hours. If I run errands, a book automatically come on in my car. With earbuds I continue listening while I exercise, shop or wait for an appointment. Coming home to housework or cooking, it’s easy to keep on listening. It surely makes cleaning go faster! It is a delightful way to multitask.
Normally I would only find time to read at night, before I would drift off to sleep. With audiobooks it enables me to read (listen) so many more books. With more time, it has also enabled me to listen to books I might pass on since reading time is limited. I’ve found many new authors—some of them now favorites–because of that.
Audible wins in my opinion
There are quite a few places you can find free audiobooks, especially if you enjoy the classics. Your local public library probably offers them too, just as they do ebooks. When I want a particular book, I will usually try the library first to see if they have it. Once you go in to the library for your trusty library card, you download through your computer or your device wherever you have a connection, so it’s simple. You may or may not have a wait for the audiobook, just as you might for a regular book.
My favorite, hands down, is Audible. We’ve become quite good friends over the last few years.
First, they give you a trial, much like this one for two free audiobooks, to see how you like it.
Second, you can sign up for various memberships. They offer 1 credit a month, 2 credits a month, or an annual purchase that gives you 24 credits. Each brings the price per audiobook down. Any of the memberships are a substantial savings over a usual retail price between $25 to $40.
Third are the frequent sales and ‘daily deal’ when you can often pick up a book for less than $5.00. That’s usually when I try new authors and books I might not otherwise read.
Fourth, their customer service is among the best I’ve found, including live chat and an actual person if you call.
Where to start
If you have never listened to an audiobook, I have a couple of suggestions to start you off. First, browse their website for books you would enjoy. Next, be sure to take advantage of the “ audio sample” you can play so you can hear the narrator. The narrator can make a huge difference in your enjoyment of the book. Then be sure to download the app for your device. It’s called Audiobooks from Audible, just as you can see in the screenshot here.
If you prefer you can load the books into iTunes and listen from there, but I’ve found their app is the easiest. As said above, you then have access to your whole library. Perhaps you will only have a few there, but if you get hooked as many of us have, you will be pleased to see them right there when you want them.
Last suggestion: Try not to start with a book that is dry or hard to follow. The first book I listened to, I found I had to rewind because I wasn’t listening. Rather like reading the same page over a few times. That doesn’t happen often after a couple, but it helps to have your first of listen be entertaining.
Want some recommendations?
We all enjoy our own genres, so my recommendations may not be of interest to you. But in case you want a couple, the titles listed below are a few of my favorites. I’ve done reviews on several, so links are included if you want to read more.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton, has over 13,500 reviews on Audible alone. (Read my review here). It’s a little bit fantasy, a little bit futuristic, a little bit quest, and 100% entertaining.
A book outside my usual genres, I waited a long time before I finally decided to try it. It was one of the best books I’ve listened to—ever. Excellent narration of a wonderful, some-parts-plausible plot. It taught me to be more willing to try books I might otherwise skip over.
Chasing Fire, (review here), features one of my top five favorite narrators, Rebecca Lowman. The book is considered romantic suspense, by author Nora Roberts. Montana and smokejumpers—a terrific story.
If you prefer non-fiction, The Demon Under the Microscope (my review is here on Jaquo) is a book that is very well narrated and a fascinating listen. For what would be considered a science/medical subject, it reads almost like a novel.
Open and Shut (series review here) rates among the most entertaining books. Grover Gardner is the perfect voice for character Andy Carpenter. It’s the start of a favorite series by David Rosenfelt. You’ll laugh through what is an often suspenseful mystery.
Suspect, (review here) written by Robert Crais narrated by MacLeod Andrews, introduced me to a popular author I hadn’t read, and more than a dozen more audiobooks that I loved. It was a wonderful novel about an injured police detective, an injured military dog, and a conspiracy that killed his partner. A great book with over 4,500 ratings/reviews.
As you can see, I could go on and on. There are so many excellent audiobooks. Give it a try. You will find your favorites too, both authors and narrators. There are a few narrators I like so much I will get a book just to listen to them! It’s a marvelous way to spend more time reading. You can stretch your imagination, and add excitement and laughter throughout what might be an otherwise routine day.