Blogger Confession: Guide to learning to love audiobooks

Posted June 22, 2015 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 41 Comments


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Hi y’all! I know many of you have heard me say these things already (I thought I had actually done a post about it but evidently not).Β  Keep in mind that some of these are very individual to the person listening and it takes time to being able “listen” actively while doing other things!

Here is my guide to learning to love audiobooks.

  1. Start with a book you have already read but don’t have “set” voices for the characters in your head. I read plenty of books that I don’t have the character’s voice in my head so I am sure there is probably one or two that you do too. It is always best to make your first audiobook one that you already know the story. You need to get used to someone else telling that story to you. It may take more than one book to do this. Think of it like learning to read. You are teaching your brain how to get the story in another manner. You are going from visual in one form or another (probably in most of your storytelling-books-words, tv and movies-pictures) to auditory only. That takes some getting used too.
  2. Be OK with the fact that it will take you longer to get through the book. Most of us read faster than we can listen and in the beginning this can be a truly frustrating thing. You have to remember that eventually you will be able to listen to audiobooks while doing other things. So you will actually end up with more reading time. Distract yourself by taking your audiobook on a walk or while you are doing dishes, vacuuming, painting–anything that is repetitious and doesn’t require a lot of focus
  3. Listen at regular speed. You can play with speed later but in the beginning you are going to want to get the cadence of the narrator. Your first couple of books (unless the narrator is dreadfully slow in pacing) should be listened at 1x speed. Later you will find that you can speed it up (maybe) but you don’t want to rush that process. Fall in love with a few narrators first that you trust and love then play with speed.
  4. Listen to samples before picking your first book. If you don’t have a friend that listens to lots of audiobooks then your next bet is to listen to samples. Pick a few books (different series, different authors) that you like then go online to find samples of narration for that story. Most major retailers have audiobook samples so you can test the voice before hand. You want one that is pleasant and easy to understand. You want your first experience to be a good one so be picky about how you start. If you have a friend that has listened to a ton of audiobooks tell them the books you are considering and ask them their favorite NARRATION wise from that group.
  5. Borrow from the library or a friend for your first couple if possible.Β  If not, sign up for first one free at many retailers. Audiobooks can be pricey (more expensive than most books unless you catch sale prices). A good rule of thumb is to borrow your first few to see if the format works for you. You don’t want to invest the money into something that might not work. This way you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  6. Give yourself time. That first book won’t be easy. In fact, you will probably have to rewind, pause, and stop whatever you are doing to get back on track. You may have to set it aside and go back. This is normal for beginning listeners even if you know the story. Again you are learning a new way to get a story and it takes time.
  7. Get good headphones. Seriously this can make a difference in your listening experience. You want headphones that are clear so that the voices are not muffled or static filled.
  8. Talk to your audiobook nerd friends about their tips. Seriously they know you and can give you tips tailored to you! They will also be able to help you with apps, players, and settings that will make the process easier for you. Friends help friends listen to audiobooks!

These are just a few of the things I suggest when asked about how to start listening to audiobooks. There are several other good guides out there too from The Book Nympho, That’s What I’m Talking About, Hot Listens, and Rabid Reads (Links coming later I am heading to the dentist).

Do you have any tips to add? Do you have a link that I can add?


Felicia S
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41 responses to “Blogger Confession: Guide to learning to love audiobooks

  1. I have been thinking about discontinuing Audible because I can’t seem to find the time to listen. Long trips yes, Wrapping Christmas presents, and my favorite-peeling potatoes and cutting up veggies. I have so many to listen to and have credits that I still have to use. When I do listen, I enjoy it a lot. I enjoyed reading your thoughts though .

  2. I love your list, Felicia, such good practical tips. I’d add that it helps to follow bloggers like you who do such a good job of finding narrators, as well as good narrator/writer matches.

  3. I got hooked when, on a long road trip, couldn’t find any good music to listen to. For some reason I had an audiobook, Prey by Michael Crichton. We ended up arriving at our destination and sat in the car for over an hour before telling anyone we were there.
    Years later out of necessity, to keep my sanity at work, took a chance on Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, and the day flew by. Now I listen every chance I get. Folding laundry, mowing the lawn, gardening, bike riding, etc.
    Get something that you are into and just be open to it.

    • They just rereleased all the Michael Crichton books. I picked up Prey since it is one of my favorites by him πŸ™‚

      LOL I do the same—I listen doing just about anything πŸ™‚

  4. When I first started listening to audiobooks, I went ever so slightly outside of my comfort zone and picked some authors that I had heard good things about, but not actually tried. Like Stuart Woods, Iris Johanson’s Eve Duncan Series and Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Series.

    • I love the Eve Duncan series! Those are so good on audio πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Good pick there–I can imagine they hooked you even if they were outside your comfort zone.

  5. I didn’t know about the speed adjustment. I guess that is because I usually listen to CDs from the library. That’s pretty interesting.

    I also have favourite narrators now. Some that I’d listen to anything they narrate.
    So far my faves are Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra. I was actually planning to look up more books that they have narrated. πŸ™‚

    This is a great post!

    • Speed adjustment helps a lot if you are used to a narrator. I listen to most audiobooks at 1.5x speed πŸ™‚

      Rebecca is pretty darn awesome. I think I have listened to Sunil but will have to check!

  6. All great points. For me, a narrator can make or break a book. I highly recommend find a good narrator that you like. All the people that Felicia mentioned will be more than happy to recommend some good narrators. Then you can find an author or story that will get you interested. I started by listening to book I had already listened to, like this post mentions. Helped me a lot. Great post.

  7. This is very helpful! I listen to some audiobooks when I drive, and use my voiceover on my phone for my Kindle books (and read along with it a lot of the time), but I always find myself going back on audiobooks to catch what I missed because my focus was lost (it’s the ADD in me, I guess). I really want to get more into audiobooks, so thank you for the guide.

    • Oddly enough I have that problem with TV (aka why I don’t watch much). I have to actively watch or I find myself rewinding to see what I missed πŸ™‚

  8. Long commutes are best if doing it in the car. I also suggest that you start with books you want to catch up on while you clean or craft or some activity like that. I was thinking of doing a blog post of something similar. Great suggestions!

    • You know in the car is where I listen the least (my commute is only 20 min so I listen to the radio). I do love it on transport runs. You need to do a blog post—DO IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!

    • You do! I also recommend about 10 narrators and tell people that they can listen to any book by them and it will be solid. πŸ™‚ That first one is the one that makes the biggest impression.

  9. FINALLY! Some tips for audiobook newbies like me. I am having such a hard time making the switch! I’m going to bookmark this for future reference cause the transition just isn’t happening and I want it to so bad!!

  10. Those are incredibly specific and helpful hints!! I might have to refer people to this post.

    I wish I could find a time in my life for audiobooks. I can’t even find time for music anymore πŸ™

    • You girl are way to busy! That being said once your graphics take off (and they will) just think of the possibility of listening while doing those πŸ™‚

  11. Excellent tips, Felicia! I started out with “rereads” and found a few narrator’s I liked and followed them to new books and the rest is history. I’d love to know what headphones you recommend for optimum listening πŸ™‚

    • ReReads are the perfect way to get in (or at least I think so). I mean then you can concentrate on the narrator and honestly to this day I get more out of a relisten than reread —I pick up new things πŸ™‚

      I really like SoundPEATS bluetooth headphones. They are a fairly new purchase but they have been worth it. The battery doesn’t last as long as I would like but then again I listen a lot πŸ™‚

  12. I can only listen to biographies (especially by comedians reading their own books) or else I drift off.

    If I’m driving then I start thinking about errands instead and if I’m home I fall asleep. lol

    I should give it a try again though because when I last tried I was using CD’s and there was little flexibility for finding where you left off or going back.

    • I would try with an MP3 type of audiobook then you have stop/start and back/forward. I will agree that comedians make good audiobooks πŸ™‚

      If you need a list of narrators that I trust just let me know πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚