I didn’t used to like audiobooks at all. But in the past couple of years, I have gotten really hooked on them. I have two children and I teach them and I cook a lot of food and am just constantly very busy, and audiobooks have been a wonderful way to get my reading fix and also be productive in other ways. It helps motivate me through hated tasks (like washing the millions of dishes I generate).
Audiobooks are a totally legitimate form of reading, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. For the blind or visually impaired, for example, you either have to know Braille or be read to. Braille books are a big and expensive investment, whereas audiobooks are readily available from libraries for free.
If audio is an option, I will always pick audio these days over a physical book. It is so freeing. If I’m taking a long car trip, I’ll pick out books on CD from the library; generally speaking, though, I prefer a digital download over CD, because CDs are only convenient in my car and not so much in the house. Ask your library if they have electronic checkouts via Overdrive or a similar format. Mine uses Overdrive. It’s easy to download the app and add books to it. It saves your place, too, even if you have to return a book unfinished and re-check it out. My mom, on the other hand, prefers CDs because she spends so much time in her car for work, and the digital downloads aren’t convenient for her.
Audible can get pricey, although I have ten books from them. (For some reason I got multiple free downloads. I don’t know how that happened, but who’s complaining? And I also got in on some good deals for the others.) I do really like the Audible app, though. It is excellent, and if you have any Audible books at all, I highly recommend the app.
Another favourite resource of mine is Audiobooksync. (@audiobookSYNC on Twitter) It’s a summer reading program geared towards young people, with two new audiobooks to download for free each week over the summer. Not all of them are of interest to me, but I’ve gotten quite a few that way. You can look at the lists from past years to get an idea of what types of books they offer. There’s quite a variety. You will need to have the Overdrive app on your computer to download these, and then you can transfer them to your device or burn to a CD. (I assume it is possible to download them via Overdrive on a phone or tablet, but I haven’t tried that personally, so don’t quote me on that.) Here are some of the ones I downloaded this year:
And, of course, there’s LibriVox! (@librivox on Twitter) There are, as of today, 11,201 books to choose from, with many new ones catalogued each month. They are all free, public-domain works (at this point, that means pre-1923), and read by volunteers. Sometime I’ll probably do a roundup post of LibriVox listens that I’ve particularly enjoyed. The quality is mixed – volunteers, not professionals, remember! – but for the most part all the readers I’ve listened to have been pretty decent, and some are truly outstanding. Yes, I’m definitely going to be doing a dedicated LibriVox post soon.
Tell me your favourite place to download audiobooks, your favourite audiobook(s)/narrator(s), or whether you prefer CDs or digital downloads! Or just tell me anything you want to say about audiobooks!