Audiobooks are becoming more and more popular as a way to read books, and for a good reason. They can be a great way to fit some or more reading into your busy schedule. But if you’re new to audiobooks, on the fence about trying them, your experience was not good, or you don’t know how to get started, keep reading. Here are twelve tips to help you start listening to audiobooks today!
Tip One: Use your library.
While there are popular subscriptions services like LibroFm, Audible, and Scribd, do not get a subscription straightaway. This is especially important if you are new to audiobooks or your past experience was not good. There will be too much pressure to buy the “right book,” and if the one you selected isn’t working for you, you might feel pressure to continue listening because you paid for it. Instead, check out your first couple of audiobooks from your local library. Libraries are an excellent resource, and it’s a low-pressure entry point because you can get library books for free!
Tip Two: Consider listening to a book you’ve already read.
Wait, wait, I know what you’re thinking. You want to read more books, not listen to books you’ve already read. I get that, but familiarity with a book will help make it easier for you to follow on audio.
When you’re just getting into audio, it might feel overwhelming trying to catch every detail. So listening to something familiar will help you feel more relaxed and help you learn how to listen.
Consider revisiting a book you’ve read a loved a year or two ago that is still front of mind, but the details aren’t so fresh — or maybe revisiting the previous book in the series before starting the latest book.
Tip Three: Find an audiobook that interests you.
There are so many great audiobooks out there, and it can be tough to pick just one. But try to find one that looks interesting to you or is in a genre that you usually enjoy reading. This is where staying in your comfort zone is not bad, especially if you are new to audiobooks or your past experience was not good.
Tip Four: Check out the narrator.
Once you’ve found an audiobook that interests you, look at the narrator. Undoubtedly, narrators can make or break your audiobook listening experience. Before committing to a book, listen to samples before buying or checking out from the library.
Found a narrator you love? Excellent! See if they have any other books you’ve liked in the past or books of current interest. Not so sure about the narrator? See if there are any reviews from other readers on the audiobook’s page.
Tip Five: Listen with headphones.
This might seem like an obvious tip, but it can be a game-changer, especially if you’ve been listening to audiobooks on speakers or with the volume on high from a mobile device. Listening with headphones will help you hear the words and details more clearly, which can be helpful when following along. Additionally, it will also help minimize outside distractions so that you can focus on the book.
Tip Six: Set aside some time to listen or pair it with a task or activity.
Audiobooks can be anywhere from a few hours to over twenty hours long, so you can set aside some time to listen or pair it with a task. If you’re setting aside time to listen or using audiobooks to relax and unwind, find a comfortable spot where you can sit or lie down without being interrupted.
If you want to pair it with a task or activity, that’s an excellent option too. It can help make mundane or otherwise mindless tasks go by quickly. For example, consider pairing it with your workout routine, during your commute, or during extended drives. Audiobooks can also be paired with doing chores such as vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, and cooking. You can also pair audiobooks with hobbies such as puzzling, knitting, drawing, and painting.
Tip Seven: Set a goal or challenge yourself.
If you love reading challenges or setting goals, consider doing the same with audiobooks! For example, you can set a goal to listen to a certain number of books in a year or participate in an audiobook challenge. There are tons of different ways to go about this, so have fun with it and be creative!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
-Read an audiobook that is outside of your comfort zone or norm.
-Start with a shorter audiobook and work your way up to longer ones.
-Read (or listen) to a book that has been adapted into a movie or tv show.
-Participate in an audiobook buddy read.
Tip Eight: Follow along with the book.
One great thing about audiobooks is that you can usually follow along with the physical book or e-book. This can help you keep track of where you are and make it easier to follow the story. Also, if you’re new to audiobooks or your experience was not good, following along in the book can help make it easier to keep track of places, the characters, and the overall plot.
Tip Nine: Make use of the speed options.
Most audiobook platforms or apps will have a speed option which can be helpful if you want to listen to the book faster or if the narrator’s speaking pace is too slow for your liking. Play around with the different speeds to find what works best for you. For example, I like to listen at a slightly faster pace because it helps me stay more engaged, but some people might prefer to listen at a slower pace to take in all the details.
Tip Ten: Take breaks as needed.
Just like with regular reading, your mind might start to wander after a while. Plus, listening to audiobooks can be taxing on your ears and brain. When this happens, don’t be afraid to take a break. Get up and walk around, or do something else for a few minutes before coming back to the audiobook. If you start feeling lost, frustrated, or confused, take a break for a little bit and come back later when you are fresh. It’s okay if it takes longer to listen to an audiobook than it would take you to read the book because you are listening and not reading. Remember, our goal is to enjoy the story, not feel like you are struggling through it.
Tip Eleven: Consider a subscription.
Once you’ve gotten more comfortable and confident with audiobooks, you can consider getting a subscription with an audiobook service provider. Don’t forget to pay attention to sales that do not require the use of credits — some for $5 or less. This is a great way to get more bang for your buck, snag some bestsellers, and work alongside books you already have on your shelves and the ones you check out from the library.
Tip Twelve: Try something new.
This last tip is really for all readers, not just those new to audiobooks. But it’s especially important for audiobooks because there are so many different formats and genres available. For example, if you are someone who only reads non-fiction, why not try listening to a fiction book? Or, if you’ve never been big on audio, maybe start with an abridged version. Abridged books are typically shorter than the regular versions and are meant to be listened to. There are also a lot of excellent short stories and novellas that are perfect for audiobooks. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You might just find your new favorite book or narrator!
Audiobooks are an excellent way to “read” more without feeling overwhelmed by physical books or e-books. By following these tips, you can quickly get started with audiobooks and reap the many benefits they offer!