‘Reading’ More Books with Audio
I confess, I am addicted to audiobooks. There isn’t a program for us yet, but it may come to that as more and more people are learning the pleasure of listening to high quality narrators reading books of all genres.
A looming fifteen hour drive from Oregon to Southern California first inspired me to listen to an audiobook. I remember the store had only a few to choose from when I picked my first; The Search, by Nora Roberts. Mystery, romance, and dogs. Sounded perfect for a long drive. After all, music and podcasts can get old after a few hours.
I purchased the CD set and started driving. it didn’t shorten the drive–that still took most of two days. But I loved listening, my mind was happily entertained, and the trip did seem to go faster. Best of all, I could enjoy my favorite hobby (reading), while busy driving.
It wasn’t until later that I caught myself listening while I walked, shopped, cooked, cleaned, vacuumed, etc. You get the picture. That was several years–and a large number of audiobooks ago. Only Audible and I know the actual number, and we aren’t telling.
While CDs are still available, downloads have made it much simpler, especially with smart phones. You don’t need a separate iPod or MP3 player. That phobia of being stuck somewhere without a book completely disappears. Normally I keep a good variety of audiobooks available to read/listen to on my phone.
Memberships, Free Sites, and the Public Library
My budget does include a book category. After all, it is a favorite form of entertainment. Still, there are plenty of places offering free audiobooks, especially for the classics. Two examples are the site, LibriVox.org, or the “Free Audiobooks” app.
Your local public library may be the best bet. Every library I’ve tried has offered an impressive ebook AND audiobook selection, updated each month with new additions including many of the new releases. All you need to get started is one trip to your nearest library for The Card. Between audio and ebooks, you may be surprised at the selection.
Once you have your library card, you are ready to download right from your computer. You can download them into iTunes, but most libraries now make it even easier with their own apps such as Overdrive and OneClick. With their apps, you create an account with your library card, then sign in, download and listen to the book right through the app. Very easy.
You can browse the book selection on your computer with its larger screen or right on your mobile device. There you can easily add books to your wish list, reserve a book that is currently checked out, and check out available books. The number you can check out at one time varies by library. Most give you the option of borrowing for seven to twenty-one days.
May I Introduce Audible?
Not all authors are available in audio version at the library. That is when I discovered Audible, the audiobook division of Amazon. We’ve been close friends ever since. They have a variety of special offers available for new subscribers. I recommend a membership, cancelable at any time. You are able to purchase a book there without once of course, but with a membership you save substantially.
Getting the most for your money
It is definitely worth it for audiobook fans. If you shop around, audiobooks often cost between twenty-five and forty dollars each. With Audible that book is available for the price of your monthly credit ($14.95 or less depending on membership selection). If you choose to purchase it instead of using a credit, it is available at a huge discount.
Besides, Audible has frequent sales. First, there is the Daily Deal, with a different book available each day for a few dollars. Another favorite is their $4.95 sale which offers a variety in several genres. It’s an excellent opportunity to try a new author. That is how I was first introduced to Jack Reacher (Lee Child’s likable hero), and Andy Carpenter, the leading.
Plus Audible has frequent sales. First, there is there daily deal with a book available for a few dollars. Another favorite is their $4.95 sale offers a variety in several genres. It’s a great time to try a new author or book. That’s how I was first introduced to Author Lee Child’s series featuring Jack Reacher, and Andy Carpenter, the leading man in David Rosenfelt’s series that I’ve included below.
If you would like to hear more about Andy, his golden retriever, Tara, and friends, you might enjoy my article on the very amusing Andy Carpenter series. The series is still one of my favorite, and always an auto purchase. For a few reviews on the Jack Reacher series, you might check out The Killing Floor, or Nothing to Lose.
Laugh Out Loud Mysteries from David Rosenfelt
You will love this narrator. Grover Gardner is one of the best, and THE voice of Andy. Open and Shut is an entertaining beginning to a wonderful, lovable mystery series. Andy Carpenter, attorney, and his staff and friends, will have you chuckling even while working to prove his clients innocent. I’ve grown so attached to everyone in the series. See if you don’t too. If you check out the reviews on Audible, you will see what I mean.
Over time I have grown attached to favorite narrators as well. Many are so good that you will find yourself searching their names to see what else they have recorded.
You will have your own favorites. A few of mine are narrators like Rebecca Lowman, who reads Chasing Fire, by Nora Roberts, Therese Plummer reading the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr, Dick Hill as Jack Reacher, and Scott Brick reading Clive Cussler’s works. I can listen to almost anything these narrators read! There are many others as well.
Audible also offers several celebrity narrators, such as Kate Winslet or Colin Firth. Some of the selections are so well read that it enhances the novel. Voices suit so well, you are drawn right into the story. The non-fiction audiobook, Endurance, is a wonderful example of that.
Another favorite is Ready Player One, the bestselling debut novel from Ernest Cline that is narrated by Wil Wheaton. While I postponed getting it for a long time, thinking it wasn’t a genre I would enjoy, once I got it I loved it. I’ve recommended this book to everyone and anyone, all ages and interests. It was just plain great!
Chasing Fire, by Nora Roberts
My favorite book by Ms. Roberts, along with one of my top five favorite narrators, Rebecca Lowman. Loved listening to this one, and I have more than once. Partly because Rebecca Lowman does a wonderful job narrating, and partly because I love her voice. She has a knack for distinguishing male and female voices so well, both perfectly fitting the characters.
The Wonder of Whisper-sync
One last-but-not-least benefit: Audible offers whisper-sync with Amazon’s kindle books, to bring continuity to your life. If you read ebooks through the Kindle app (it is not necessary to have the Kindle reader itself), you have access.
If you’ve started reading an ebook, you may find you can get the audiobook version very inexpensively, sometimes for only two or three dollars. Then if you can’t stay awake to read at night, the book will automatically sync to the same spot on your audiobook. You can continue right where you left off, so you can listen while you drive to work or whatever. It is a wonderful way to keep reading as you go through your day.
I hope you can see why I am hooked. Care to join me? I’m showing you my favorites, but I would love to hear about yours as well. If you are already a fan, do let me know. It’s always good to find new choices. If you haven’t tried one yet, I hope you will. It’s never been easier, and there has never been such a variety available. It is a terrific way to ‘read’ more books every month.
Robyn Carr’s Popular Series
Virgin River is book one in this well written, entertaining series by Robyn Carr. With characters you can’t resist, most readers are wishing they could live there. They start to feel like family even in the first book.
Narrator, Therese Plummer, is one of the best narrators I’ve heard. So easy to listen to and well able to give each character a distinct voice. Thankfully she narrates the entire series.