Why Audio Books Are Awesome

Here are my 3 reasons why audio books are awesome:

One: The Performance Factor

Adding audio books to my repertoire has only enriched my reading life. The performance almost always enhances my enjoyment of the book. Check out two of my favourites, the Amelia Peabody mystery series, which feature Barbara Rosenblat’s hilarious vocal characterisations and Graham Green’s The End of the Affair, narrated by the swoon-worthy Colin Firth.

Two: Expansion of Reading Timen

Audio books have upped the number of books I can get through. While I’m reading a text-based book, I usually have a different audio book on the go, effectively doubling my reading quota. I read books on the couch or in bed, but I listen to audio books in the car (alone) or while I’m ironing, walking or exercising, which brings me to…

Three: Exercise Motivator

Exercise and I have long had a rocky relationship, but audio books have smoothed the path. I rarely look forward to rising at 5:15 AM for that walk, but my eagerness to get back to the audio book draws me out of bed–even if it’s dark and raining. It’s like having a PT (personal trainer) on my mobile phone. Okay, actually it’s not, but it does get me moving…

Buts & Howevers…

My one issue with audio is that it can slow me down. I have had a couple of books where the plot was so deliciously good that the performance frustrated me. I wanted story, and I wanted it fast. I ditched the audio in those cases, got the book and greedily zoomed through to the end. It is worth noting that many audio apps have a speed control to help with this problem.

Aren’t Audio Books Expensive?

If the thought of audio books conjures up an image of bulky, expensive CDs, I’ve got good news for you. With the new generation of audio books, it’s “out with expensive CDs, in with free apps”! Anyone who has a smart phone, MP3 (iPod) or a tablet can download a free app and start listening. No CDs to handle and store, and no worries about scratching–it’s a digital file on your computer or in the cloud.

Instead of shelling out over $45 for a clunky CD set, sign up for a monthly subscription and get top shelf audio books that cost less than the average (Australian) price of a printed paperback!

When Your Browser Becomes a Bookshop

There are a few great web-based services available, like Audible.com or Audiobooks.com, where premium audio books cost members about $14 each. You can usually find a trial offer that gives you your first book free. You get a credit each month and you can pick from tens of thousands of titles. Heavier readers can access meatier plans.

I’m on a plan for one audio book a month from Audible.com, which is linked to my Amazon account. It’s been a breeze. I signed up for a plan that gave me the first 3 months for ~$8 a month. After that, it reverted to the normal price of ~$14/month. On two occasions (out of a total of 36 so far) I didn’t like the performance, but I was able to return the titles and pick something else with zero hassle.

Readers who are staunchly anti-Amazon may like to try Audiobooks.com. Their service features the ability to sync across devices. For example if you listen on your smartphone in your car and your laptop in your office, the Audible.com app will automatically make both devices find the last spot you listened to. (Losing your spot on audio is a lot more problematic than losing your page in a book!)

The Big Question Is…

Is one audio book a month enough? Actually, no. I could easily fit in two (or more!), but I’m trying to exercise some self-control here. Really, I am! When I don’t have an audio book to listen to, I supplement my listening with free podcasts about books, publishing, writing, and more. (Watch for an upcoming post on my favourite podcasts for readers and writers.)

Too bad the podcasts don’t count towards my reading count!

Got a favourite Audio Book?

Leave a comment so I can add it to my To Listen To List!


7 responses to “Why Audio Books Are Awesome”

  1. Great post! Thanks for the title recommendations. I love audio books and have just posted my favorites on my blog. I listen to them all for free by borrowing from the public library. 🙂


    1. Hi Marcia, You’re right! The library has audio books too. My library doesn’t have a great collection. Are you able to borrow the digital audio files or the old-fashioned CDs?
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. Hi Ali, You can borrow both CDs AND audio files. From your local library website, you can usually type your card # in and then download free titles from the statewide collection onto whatever kind of device you have.


    1. Thanks, Marcia. I’ll have to do a little revisit of my library’s website. I was talking to a librarian friend the other day about borrowing ebooks. It didn’t occur to me to ask about audio books. It’s a brave new world, isn’t it? Thanks for following, too! Cheers!


  3. Thanks very much for your kind words about my boss, Barbara Rosenblat. Perhaps some of your readers would enjoy Barbara’s brand-new Kindle book, AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR: The Art of Recording Audiobooks. It provides an interesting insight into the relationship between narrator and listener.

    (By the way, you don’t need a Kindle to read a Kindle book. Amazon has free apps that allow you to read it on any computer or mobile device.)


    1. Carol, Thank you so much for commenting, and please pass on my admiration to Barbara. I’m a BIG fan. I will be heading to Amazon immediately. I’ve wondered about the art of audiobook recording for a long time. Cheers!


  4. I’m sending her a screen shot of our exchange here — thank you!


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