If you have been following my blog or Instagram at all you know reading is a HUGE passion of mine. M is only 9 months old and we read to him all the time, we are always going to the library, listening to story podcasts or audiobooks in the car, and he has his own books that he likes to “read”. Plus, I love to read for myself. In fact, one of my new year’s resolutions was to read 24 books this year, which so far I am right on track with 5 books scratched off the list.
When I talk to my friends, post on Instagram about how much I love reading or write a blog post about what I am reading I get a lot of the same comments. “I used to love to read but I don’t have time for it anymore. How do you have time to read?” One word… Audiobooks!
When you are a mom you pretty much feel like you have no time for anything! You are driving in the car, doing the dishes, doing laundry, making dinner, etc. Who has time to curl up with a nice book and read? Audiobooks are such a great way to get reading done while you are doing all the other “mom” chores of the day.
If you are new to audiobooks they can seem intimidating. It was hard for me the first time I listened to a book because I am so in love with the smell and feel of books. But honestly, when I was able to finish a book in a week while still getting my chores done, I was hooked!
Here are a few tips if you are new to audiobooks.
- Start with something short and easy. When I first started audiobooks I was intimidated. Some of the audiobooks out there are crazy long. For example, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was 27 hours long. That can seem pretty monumental when you download your first audiobook. When I see a book is 15 hours or longer I get a little scared. (Do I really have time to finish this book?) If you are hesitant to start audiobooks try some middle-grade fiction or books you’ve read before but have been meaning to re-read. Don’t start listening to an audiobook that is too long/intimidating because chances are you will listen to thirty minutes and then not listen to another audiobook, and that would be so sad!
- The narrator is VERY important! This may or may not come as a shock to you… But the person reading the book to you is important. There have been times I’ve literally returned the audiobook to the library after 30 minutes of listening because the narrator was so annoying. If you don’t like the narrator, don’t suffer…pick something else. But don’t be scared, there are tons of great narrators and they can make a good book even better! (Jim Dale is AMAZING!) Also, you can check audible for story and performance reviews, which can be a lifesaver.
- Speed it up. It took me such a long time to learn this trick about audiobooks and to actually like it. I am naturally a slow reader, I like to get the picture in my mind’s eye and really enjoy the imagery. But a friend of mine suggested to just bump up the speed a little bit and see how I feel about it. It turns out I really like it a lot! Audiobooks can be pretty slow, depending on the narrator. So bumping up the speed helps it feel more like a conversational pace instead of the slower “you are getting sleepy” pace. I don’t typically go above a 1.5x, my go-to is usually 1.25x. Like I said, I am a slow reader, but there are people out there that like to listen to it at a 2x or 3x speed. But I don’t know how, to me, it sounds like the Chipmunks.
Have I convinced you to try an audiobook? Still, need a little convincing or don’t know where to find audiobooks? Well, let me share with you a few of my favorite places to get audiobooks.
I love Overdrive because it is FREE! The only downside to Overdrive is that it is through your local library so you are limited to what the library has. There can be long holds on audiobooks and the longest you can check out the audiobook for is 21 days.
Having said that though, Overdrive is my most used source of audiobooks. In fact, most of my book club use Overdrive and each person who chooses the book for the month has to make sure there are enough copies for everyone to get an audio copy before the next meeting.
Overdrive/Libby is an app you can get on your phone, tablet, etc for checking out and listening to audiobooks from the library. I’ve only really used Overdrive but now Libby is by Overdrive. I have NO IDEA why they have both. The cool thing about Libby is you can sync all your family’s library cards to one account. Meaning you will not have to log in and out to put something on your child’s card instead of your card. Also, with Libby, it is easier to use with a nicer cleaner interface similar to Audible. A few other nice things about Libby; you can easily bookmark books you want, you can see your history of previously checked out books, and you don’t have to download the books if you don’t want, you can just listen from the app, which is nice because they can take up a lot of space.
The way it works is just like a library. You can check out a specific number of books per library card and you can use it to place holds on specific books you want. And then you wait for the book. Depending on your library the hold lines can be pretty long. Most libraries only get a few audio copies unless the book is SUPER popular.
I haven’t really used Libby much, I just found out about it actually a few weeks before I started this post. So, I will let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you read ebooks Overdrive has ebooks in the app and Libby can send the book right to your Kindle.
If you decide to get a membership through Audible it’s about $15 a month which gives you one book a month. They also have more expensive plans that allow you to get more books throughout the month. If you’re interested though, try the free month and get a free audiobook of your choice. Make sure you cancel before your 30-day trial is over. Sometimes when you go to cancel the free trial, they will offer you 3 months at half off ($7.00/month) which is kind of hard to pass up.
Audible is super easy to use, you just download the app and pick out your books. The books never expire, because you own them. If you don’t want to try a membership that’s ok too. You can buy Audible books from Amazon. This is super awesome when Audible has a great sale, sometimes you can get audiobooks for $2-$5 each. Then they just go right into your app and are all ready to go, no membership required.
Books on CD
I use this option the least, pretty much only if there are no other options. But I am sure once M is a little older we will probably use this a little more because it is really easy for kids to use. Because the kids’ section of the library often has “Read Aloud” books where the child listens to the CD and follows along with the actual book. But keeping track of CDs sounds a little daunting, and you only listen at one speed. But, it is free, which everyone loves.
I know other moms with older kids always have a book on CD in the car, in their room during quiet time, or in the bedroom before bed because it is easy to just turn it on a listen. I mean you just put it into the cd player and press play…very straightforward.
For book club, if I can’t get the book on Overdrive I have checked out the book on CD. I would upload the CDs to my computer and import them to my phone, then delete all the files when I was finished (to save space). But this is such a hassle. I would almost rather just get the book on Audible than have to mess with this whole process. And now that most cars have an aux or USB portal it is just easier to plug the phone into the stereo and listen to the books that way.
I love audiobooks. Whenever anyone tells me they just can’t fit reading into their daily life I feel like I shout at them, “AUDIOBOOKS, AUDIOBOOKS ARE THE ANSWER!” Do you listen to audiobooks? What are your biggest struggles? What do you love about them? And what have been your favorite books you’ve listened to on audio?