Blogger Confession: Listening to Audiobooks at a Faster Speed

Posted May 7, 2014 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 56 Comments


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Listening to Audiobooks at a Faster Speed

Someone asked me the other day how I listened to so many audiobooks and the simple answer is: the only time I listen to an audiobook at 1x speed is when I am in my car.Β  I am going to share my tips for listening faster in Windows Media Player, iTunes (Quicktime), Overdrive (for PC), and Audible App.

As far as I know faster playback is not available for Audible on PC, Audible on Cloud, Overdrive App on Phone, Audiobooks.Com App on Phone

NOTE: Previous versions of Overdrive App on Phone (Android) and iPhone can change playback speed but Playback speed cannot be adjusted in OMC 3 for Android at this time.

NOTE:Β  Also Audiobooks.Com app does have playspeed adjust on some phones and not others. It doesn’t work on mine so I can’t write-up a how to (Sorry).

Windows Media Player

First, your audiobook will need to be in MP3 format.Β  I know that most audiobooks either come on CD or downloaded from the web. If you are doing it from CD, I suggest taking the time to rip the CD to your desktop. I take it a step further and merge the files into one file with MergeMP3 (very cool free tool)

  1. Open up Windows Media Player
  2. Load your Audiobook
  3. Right-click on the play button and select fast playback (you can also hit ctrl-shift-g)

Window Media Player

iTunes (Actually Quicktime)

  1. Open Quicktime (as far as I can tell this is not available in iTunes)
  2. Open your audiobook (you might have to switch file type as it defaults to movie)
  3. Hit Play
  4. Click Ctrl-K (Or click on Windows and show AV Controls)
  5. Playback Speed is in the bottom right hand corner



Audible Phone App

  1. Download the Audible App from your favorite app store (I think it is in all of them)
  2. Download your Audible Audiobook
  3. Hit play
  4. In the upper toolbar next to Now Playing you will notice a button that looks like a gas gauge. You can select .5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x(what speed I listen to the most), 3x




Overdrive for PC

  1. Download Overdrive for PC (
  2. Download your audiobook from your library
  3. Press Play (I wait for all parts to download)
  4. In the bottom left hand corner you will see a button that looks like a gas gauge. Click that to change your play speed

Overdrive PC Console


Hopefully this helps y’all!

Felicia S
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56 responses to “Blogger Confession: Listening to Audiobooks at a Faster Speed

  1. Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog

    Great post! I’ve been listening to them on 1.25 on my Overdrive app (iPhone), but I was thinking of increasing it a little. I just want to be able to enjoy the narration too.

  2. Nice and tricky πŸ™‚ I got burned with the last audio book I listened to because the narrator had a nasty habit of slowing down to emphasise serious things when I really wanted them to speed up to increase the tension. I wish I had known about this then.

    • That is what made me do it the first time. I was listening to one that read slower than I could outloud. It drove me batty. Otherwise I liked the narration but the pacing was off!

  3. I enjoy being able to listen to a book faster using audible for example. It really helps if the narrator is just too dang slow, or the book isn’t moving along quick enough for me. I wish audiobooks and the library overdrive app would allow this too.

    • I wish the overdrive app would do it on my phone so I tend to listen to my library books on my pc where it does work. They need to update the android version–darn it!

  4. This is a fantastic post Felicia I listen to audio on my my smartphone and usually set it at 1.5x. Maybe someday I will do 2. I love audible’s app and have been using Smart Audiobook App which lets me set speed and sleep mode.

  5. I can perhaps see this for casual listening where my only concern is getting through the content. Although I can’t imagine listening to music or watching movies at 1.5X or faster and really enjoying it. As a word of caution, when I crank up the speed, the entire nuance of the performance goes out the window. I can’t legitimately judge the performance aspects of the audiobook. The same is true with a lot of the production elements. If I want to be taken seriously as a reviewer (by publishers and narrators), then I will listen at the intended speed of the performance. If I only desire to be a casual listener, then whatever works.

    • We will agree to disagree. I don’t think I am getting any less out of the story or the narrators performance by listening at a faster speed. Their emotions and delivering of the story still comes through. I don’t do it with a new narrator or on books that a faster speed “ruins” the voices. However, since many of my readers are casual listeners/readers (and the audience that I am mostly talking too/want to reach), I think this article will work for them.

    • It is handy dandy when you want to find out what happens. I can listen to parts of an audiobook on 1x speed but there comes a time when I just have to know what happens πŸ™‚

  6. Those are some great tips from one of my go-to audiobook pro’s. I don’t usually speed up my listens, because already I find that I miss stuff & have to go back, but I’ll definitely keep this post in mind for the future. I’ve been listening more than I’ve been reading lately, so hopefully I’ll get the hang of faster speeds one of these days. πŸ˜‰

    • I couldn’t have done it when I first started listening to audiobooks, it would have driven me batty. Now though I get into a rhythm with audiobooks and once I am used to the narration I can listen at a faster speed.

  7. Sweeet! I’ve only been speeding it up on Audible because that was the only way I knew how to do it – now I have to check out my ipod ones I’ve loaded from overdrive. I totally have to listen to them sped up too otherwise they narration can be too slow and would drive me nuts.

      • No, sorry I meant I need to figure out how to speed up the libraries overdrive books on my ipod. I’ve figured the audible phone app one out immediately and hence why I’ve been using it more instead of the free library books.

        • You should be able too on the ipod for overdrive. There should be a gas gauge looking icon on the toolbar next to the sleep button (should be the 2nd button in). It isn’t available on android (newer overdrive) yet but on iDevices it should be πŸ™‚ At least that is what the website says LOL

  8. It would sure make the book read a lot faster. But as I don’t do audiobooks, I have no opinion. Still, to have James Masters talk into my ears would be something lovely …

  9. Interesting! That is a good way to get through audiobooks faster. I’ve found that I can only go up to 1.5 speed max or the narrators just sound too weird to my ears. I don’t know if I’ve gotten the Overdrive for iphone app to work yet for speed adjustment…must pursue further!
    Thanks for this informative post!

    • It doesn’t work for all audiobooks and I think the initial speed up is jarring. That being said, once you get into the new pace it is pretty easy. I can’t do it with narrators that already speak fast or fast pacing though πŸ™‚

  10. Now for me I think it would drive me crazy to listen to a chipmunk reading the book. It would have to be something I would have to get used to and I’m not sure if I could. LOL I was curious if this is a popular way of listening to the book?

    • LOL It doesn’t sound like a chipmonk to me but I have been doing it for awhile. I don’t know if it is popular or not. I think it works for some but not others.

    • Your fairly new to audiobooks so I wouldn’t suggest it right off the bat. I think you have to be really comfortable listening to them first.

  11. Some great info. I listen to some of audible books on a faster speed but sometimes it drives me nuts. Does the quick speed ever bother you?

    • YES! If it is already a fast paced book or a narrator that speaks in a very high or low range voice then I have to listen at normal speed!

    • LOL I forget the opposite when I am starting a new book or new narrator. I am always like oh wait, I need to slow it down to get the rhythm first!

  12. Jen

    Ugh I always want to do this but overdrive app on phone won’t let me and that’s the only way I usually listen to audiobooks. Sometimes one the computer and sometimes on the cd but mostly phone.

    • YEAH! Clearly I am not the only one with an android! Evidently we are the overdrive losers πŸ™‚ I miss that feature on my phone app!

  13. I was so excited when I realized that I could speed up audiobook narration, but then I tried it and my brain couldn’t keep up, haha. I pretty much always listen in the car though, so maybe I should try when just walking? I take it that you find you are able to concentrate better and therefore follow better when not driving?

    • I think the best way is to listen to an audiobook on regular speed for at least an hour (I always do) and then speed it up. I am already in the story by then and have the narrator’s pacing down. It just doesn’t work for all books though. Some are already pretty fast or the narrator’s voice is just not a good fit.

      • I tried speeding up Dreams of Gods and Monsters and it worked great! I only have a few hours left on it and I’ve been feeling anxious to get through it, so this is the best solution. I already know that I love the narrator but had been thinking that it felt like she was speaking slower than previous books. This is going to help me so much to make some more progress πŸ˜€

  14. I started listening to audios on Audible at 1.5X the speed – it definitely makes a difference! I just wish there was a way to speed up the cd player in the car! πŸ™‚

  15. I didn’t realize you could do I tried listening to James Marster narrate Summer Knight and started laughing..I couldn’t do Though for the real boring ones that might not be a bad idea. πŸ™‚

    • I think it depends on the audiobook. There are some that work really well in faster speed and others that don’t. πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried those in faster speed because I love his voice LOL

  16. Great tutorial Felicia! I was going to do this for a guest post from Jennifer for audiobook month, but you beat to the punch… LOL.
    You did a great job πŸ™‚
    My favorite speed is 1.5. It’s amazing the difference it can make when you adjust the speed, especially when you can hear the narrator inhale before every paragraph. I never use 2.0 or higher, I don’t feel it enjoyable past that point, the voices sounds to whinny to me.
    Great job πŸ™‚