The Reader’s Guide to Audiobooks & Audible

Something I’ve discovered recently is that I absolutely love audiobooks. I hadn’t really listened to them much before this year, but now I just seem to be consuming books whole. I’ve already listened to two complete audiobooks this week. I mainly just listened to podcasts before, and I was hesitant to launch into audiobooks because of a few reasons, but I’m so glad that I decided to sign up for Audible and begin my audio-loving adventure.

There are upsides and downsides to listening to audiobooks, and a few things I wish I knew before starting to listen to them, but today I’m going to share all my tips and tricks and what I love and hate about it!

Why Audiobooks are Amazing

They’re convenient! I can honestly listen to audiobooks during 70% of my ordinary daily life. Of course, I’m not able to listen while I’m in class or out with friends, but they’re perfect for my commute to uni and even to listen to while at work. I’m lucky enough to be assigned the very exciting task of making chocolate-coated ice creams at the cinema I work at, so that gives me five hours of solid listening time each shift. It’s such a great way to power through books! Plus, I also love to listen to an audiobook when I’m making food at home or just relaxing before bed. If you see me with earphones in, chances are I’m listening to an audiobook.

It’s relaxing. Even into my early teen years, I used to beg my parents to read a book to me, and they’d always tell me to read it to myself. I missed having someone read to me, so when I started listening to audiobooks, my whole world was changed. You know when you’re too tired to hold open a book at night, or even your eyes, and would love for someone else to read it to you? This is why audiobooks are perfect! It’s just so lovely to have someone read to me again.

They’re portable! I used to hate it when I went out without a book and had to wait for someone or found myself with more time on my hands than expected. With audiobooks, I don’t have to worry if I haven’t brought a physical book with me — they’re right there on my phone. I mean, I could read an eBook, but if I have my earphones with me, I’m more likely to start listening. And it means that I can multitask too, for example, get my book shopping done while listening to another book. Shh. I know I have a problem.

Audiobooks make otherwise-boring novels exciting. If the book has a good narrator, even if the story is pretty dull, I’m almost certain I’ll enjoy it. Audiobooks were a godsend during my high school years, as I wasn’t really a fan of all the classics we had to read because I found them difficult to get into and to follow. Now, I choose to listen to audiobooks when I’m not able to get into the novel I’m trying to read or if I’ve heard that listening to the story provides for a more satisfying experience. For example, I’ve heard that Sleeping Giants isn’t a very thrilling novel to read, however, the audio experience is phenomenal. I just love great narrators.

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The Downside of Audiobooks

They take longer to get through than actually reading the book. Depending on the size of a novel, it’s fairly standard for me to be able to finish it in around three hours. However, a typical YA novel is usually around 8 or 10 hours to listen to, which is a significantly longer time. If I were only to listen to audiobooks, I’d undoubtably get through my TBR slower, but because I choose to listen to audiobooks while also reading a physical book when I’m not on-the-go, it increases the number of novels I get through.

Sometimes the narrators are awful. I once tried to listen to Heart of Darkness for school and the narrator sounded like he was at least 200 years old and spoke approximately four words per minute. It was like being stabbed over and over again — it was that painful. Sometimes the narrators are terrible simply because they don’t sound excited enough. If the narrator sounds like they’re bored reading the book aloud, I’m probably already asleep.

Falling asleep while listening to them. Not because they’re boring, but because you’re tired or in bed. I love to listen to a chapter of an audiobook before I fall asleep, and I’ve been listening to podcasts or ASMR or audiobooks every night before bed for years now, and I’m not sure I remember how to fall asleep without them. However, sometimes I fall asleep before I manage to hit pause, and then next thing I know, I’ve woken up and finished half of the book. Finding where I was up to before losing consciousness can be a complete nightmare!

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How to Get Free Audiobooks

If you don’t want to subscribe to an audiobook company, which can cost anywhere between $8 and $20 a month, then there are lots of options to get free audiobooks. Here are my top tips…

Join a library! Most libraries have Borrow Box, or another system similar for downloading eBooks and audiobooks — all of which are free. The range varies from library to library, but they all tend to have a good collection. All you have to do is download the app, put in your library details (usually the library card number and your pin) and huzzah! Free audiobooks!

Check out LibriVox. I first stumbled across LibriVox by searching for audiobooks on the Podcasts section of the App Store on my iPhone. LibriVox offers audio files of books that are in the public domain, which are most classics and some other texts. If you’re struggling to get through a school text or just want to read more classics, I definitely recommend checking out LibriVox for free audiobooks.

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Top Audible Tips

There are a lot of audiobook platforms and services out there, but I’ve decided to stick with Audible because of the wide range of titles on there and the accessibility. I love how easy it is to navigate their website and their app, and how simple it is to download the audiobooks I want. But if you’re new to Audible or thinking of getting a membership, there are some extra features I’d like to share with you!

One free credit. If you’ve ever investigated getting Audible, you should know that your first audiobook is free, which is great! When I first signed up, I still wasn’t 100% sure that it was something I wanted to commit to, and listening to my first audiobook without any lock-in contract made me realise that this was something I wanted in my life. And if you don’t ever want another audiobook, that’s cool too!

AudibleListener Basic Discount Membership. For some, the $14.95 membership price per month is a little too expensive. For that price, members get one credit per month to use whenever they please on whatever audiobook they choose. But if you’re thinking of cancelling your membership because of the costs, I definitely recommend opting for the AudibleListener Basic Discount Membership, which makes it $7.49 a month for the first three months — basically half price. If you want to opt out at any time, it’s really easy to do so!

Kindle and Audible Deal. If you like to read and listen to your books, then it’s really easy to download the Kindle version of the novel and then get a discount on the audiobook. What’s better is that you can easily switch between the two by using whispersync on Kindle so you never lose your place.

Sleep timer. Like some other apps, including Podcasts on iPhone, Audible allows you to set a sleep timer, which you can set to listen to your audiobook for 8 minutes, 15 minutes, and 15-minute intervals thereafter up to one hour, as well as at the end of the chapter. If you only want to listen for a certain amount of time and don’t want to have to pause your audiobook before falling asleep, then this tool works wonders. There’s nothing more soothing than listening to someone tell you a story before bed.

Speed it up. If the narrator is talking too slowly or you want to get through your audiobook faster, then it’s really simple to adjust the speed of audio on the app. I’ve listened to quite a few narrators that speak too slowly, so listening on 1.5x or even 2x makes the listening experience so much better.

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My Top Recommendations

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Audiobooks I Want to Listen To

Let's Talk

What are some of your favourite audiobooks? Where do you like to listen to audiobooks? Do you have any other tips for audiobook listeners? What do you think I should listen to next? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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20 thoughts on “The Reader’s Guide to Audiobooks & Audible

  1. Hello!
    I love audiobooks as well (as long as the narrator is good!) I absolutely agree that they are a perfect way to read a book while I’m doing something else relatively mindless, like cleaning, driving, or crafting. However, you seem to multi-task very well, while I don’t! If I am doing anything that requires brain work, or if my mind wanders a bit while I’m listening, I’ll find myself lost and have no clue where I am in the book.
    I have an Audible membership right now and it’s awesome 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    Sophie

    • I’m so glad you’re a fan of audiobooks too! As long as I’m not having to talk to someone or read something at the same time, I’m usually okay! It’s the worst when your mind wanders and you have to rewind the audiobook 😭 YAY FOR AUDIBLE! Happy listening 💜

  2. I am actually currently in the process of reading my very first audiobook ever (Code Name Verity) and YES it’s been so slow and I keep falling asleep listening to it because it’s so soothing. I am really enjoying the experience though but I probably won’t be able to listen to too many because it takes way too long. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  3. I’ve only just started getting into audiobooks myself, although thus far, I do enjoy crime novels, however, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is also pretty good.

  4. I love audiobooks. They’re about the only medium I’ll finish a book through right now lol. I just listened to thee aven Boys and it was good! At first I didn’t really like the narrator but the more I listened it was fine. I ended up loving the book ☺

  5. It took me a long time to get used to audiobooks (I actually have a post coming out soon about the experience) but since I started commuting to work, I listen to them all the time! I’ve really fallen in love with them and I’m now using them to tackle certain series I’ve put off for years.

    I liked that you mentioned it can take you longer to read it! I’ve always wanted to read The Host and when I checked the audiobook, it was over 24 hours! Oh my! That’s too long. I’ve learned that if a book is over 10 hours, I tend to enjoy it less and I should probably stick to the physical copy.

    • Ooh I’d be interested in reading your post! I think I’ll be doing the same – it’s so much easier to listen to something that actually sit down and read it sometimes! WOW! That’s a long one! Some of the HARRY POTTER audiobooks are about that length, not to mention the complete works of SHERLOCK HOLMES, which is over 100 hours! It’s crazy! 😅

  6. I really don’t think audio books and I don’t mesh well. I am kind of a terrible listener, and I’m definitely more of a visual person, for one. I have tried audio books in the past (had an Audible membership) and I would zone out after a while and forget I was listening to a book! So I would have to rewind. Again. And again. And audio books are already longer than if I were to read it myself, so add on top of it the extra time I would spend rewinding back to parts that I missed the first time around! >_< Maybe when I have moved out of my family home and have to do chores, and want to multi-task…..

    Cass @ Words on Paper

    • Aww no! Audiobooks are definitely not for everyone, and if it’s taking you a lot longer to read a book, let alone remember to pay attention, then it’s really not worth it! Maybe one day you’ll be converted to the Dark Side 😂 Until then, happy physical reading! 😜💖

  7. I’m a really auditory person, but for some reason I just can’t do audiobooks. I thought I’d love them because I need to be doing a bunch of things at the same time, but for some reason I just retain absolutely nothing when I listen to them, haha. The only one I’ve listened to fully is Gemina, which I LOVED but it was a re-read(??) so I already knew what was happening, haha. I listened to bits and pieces of Ari and Dante because of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I do want to give Sleeping Giants a go because I’ve heard so many good things and since I’ve read the book I won’t have to worry about things going over my head, haha. I’d like to try Harry Potter too!

    • Oh no! 😱 I really really want to listen to GEMINA – I’ve heard such amazing things! Ah yes, I’d love to listen to ARI AND DANTE too. I hope you love SLEEPING GIANTS as much as I did! I can’t wait to get around to listening to the second book 😍💕

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