If you talk to me about books for any length of time, it’s not long before my blatant love of audiobooks shines through. While my most preferred book format will likely always be print books, there is a very special place in my heart for audiobooks.
If you’ve never experienced their wonder, it may seem like a strange concept, this listening to someone read a book. But for me, my first introduction to audiobooks was the Stephen Fry recordings of Harry Potter. And let me tell you, I was captivated. It felt to me like my English grandfather (if only I had one!) was reading me a bedtime story. It was soothing and magical, and I haven’t stopped listening since.
If you’ve never listened, or yes, READ a book on audiobook (it’s still reading!), then allow me to convince you with a few amazing benefits of audiobooks:
- They’re highly entertaining
There’s nothing like a great audiobook reader (though a bad one can really make a book awful). Luckily, in my years of audiobook reading, I have only come across one or two in the thousadds of readers I’ve listened to that I just didn’t like. Most are fabulous. Most are actors. Which means! They do voices and actually act out the book a bit, when it comes to dialogue. Suddenly, the story is even more alive than it was on the page.
- Can help you engage with a book better (maybe)
I have heard many people say that their mind wanders when they listen to a book. They can’t focus and they lose the story. Well, this happens to me on occasion, but honestly, it happens to me no matter how I read. Just like I can swipe or turn a page to go back if I started planning dinner mid-story, I can easily tap the back button and go back 15-30 seconds at a time (depending on the software or app). I find that a good reader can bring me into a story faster because they can usually do voices better than what I imagine in my mind. I engage better with an audiobook, I think. I know that when it comes to some of the more tedious books on my TBR list (Moby Dick, I’m looking at you!), I wouldn’t dare consider paper or e-reading. The only way to get through those books for me is to read it on audio.
- You can listen while you do other things
One of the reasons I feel like I don’t do as much reading as I want to is because it’s so exclusive. You have to have your full attention on the book. Not with an audiobook! Obviously, not every task lends itself to thoughtful listening, but there are plenty of things that can be done while listening to an audiobook. I like to listen when I’m doing things like graphic design projects, where it’s more of a visual concentration.
- Makes a boring task more interesting
This kind of goes with the previous one, but think about all those menial tasks you do during the day—dishes, folding laundry, cleaning. These things alone can be boring, but if you listen to an audiobook while you do them, you’ll forget that you’re supposed to be bored! Dishes are much more interesting when I do them while listening to the sweet English accent of Davina Porter as she tells me about the latest adventure of Claire and Jamie Fraser (Outlander).
- Makes a road trip go faster
I spend a lot of time in the car. My drive to and from work is an hour every day and my family lives 3-6 hours away, so I do lots of road tripping in the year. A 6-hour drive can be boring, monotonous, torturous, but with a good book, I’ve actually found myself driving a bit slower so that I didn’t get there too fast.
- You can read faster
Maybe this isn’t a factor for you because you’re a faster reader. I, however, am not. I feel like it takes me forever to read a page. But on audiobook, the pace is faster and there’s less time required to internalize the words. At least for me. Plus, most apps (let’s get it together OneClickdigital—add this!) have speed settings. For some books, like the Outlander books I love so much, the reader is a slow speaker. Those books are long enough as it is! But, when I put it on 2x speed, it doesn’t sound much faster than a fast-paced reader, yet I can gobble it up in half the time. This helps me do a lot more reading overall and I think it actually makes me pay closer attention.
- Enjoy a book with others
Unless you like to take turns reading out loud, which can get tiring, or you want to sit in a room with someone and read the same book, it’s hard to share the experience of a specific story with someone. Audiobooks make this so easy! You hear the same words at the same time, in the same way. For me, I don’t always process things the same when I read out loud (which is why this works so well when you’re editing your novel), so me reading a book to someone would give me a different experience, but listening together makes it a completely shared adventure.
- It’s soothing
Maybe I have my mother to thank, but I love being read to. I’m not sure why, but I find it very soothing. In fact, I can’t listen in bed because I’ll fall asleep, it’s so relaxing. Unless it’s City of Bones. I couldn’t stop listening to that book, and it actually kept me up pretty late most nights. But, in most cases, I drift away into fiction land, floating on the musical tones of a soothing voice, and find myself relaxed and enjoying life.
- You can get them free!
Audiobooks used to be somewhat inaccessible for most people due to their crazy prices. If you’ve ever picked one up at a book store, you may have nearly chocked on the price tag. Most range $30-50. But! The good ole library once again comes to the rescue. You can borrow the CDs for free, and most libraries use services like OverDrive and OneClickdigital that allow you to download audiobooks to your computer or mobile device. And, of course, don’t forget Audible, which makes audiobooks super affordable with their monthly subscription program. You get your first book free, and pay $15 for most books after that. You can get deep discounts on others.
If you’ve never tried an audiobook, I urge you to give it a go. You may be pleasantly surprised! Warning, though. You may also fall head over heels and join me in my audiobook addiction.
Do you listen to audiobooks?