Are You An Audiobook Fan?

This Thanksgiving week I’m already starting to worry about Christmas presents for my family – though I’m thankful that for both my sons, books are always an awesome idea – but what about someone who wants to read more but just can’t seem to find the time? (yes, hubby, I’m talking about you!)

After chatting with members of my book group, I discovered that many, if not all, prefer audiobooks these days, as it gives them much more flexibility and allows them to fit more reading time into their busy schedules. Now, apart from listening to many an audiobook in the car on long drives, I have to admit I’ve never really been a huge audiobook fan. Although I’ve enjoyed listening to them, my preferences has always been for paper or an ebook. Once I started mulling over the audiobook gift idea, however, I soon realized just how popular they are these days.

Consumer demand for audiobooks has been steadily rising over the last few years, with estimates indicating that over half of all Americans listen to audiobooks (see Publishers Weekly report here). Not surprisingly, mystery, thriller and suspense titles are the most popular genres.  Part of the appeal to listening rather than reading a book is that audiobooks apparently stimulate our “echoic memory” or the process by which sound information is stored while we wait for the next sounds to make sense of the whole (click here for the link to the article in The Guardian)… Who knew?!  Anyway, the upshot is that I’ve obviously been a luddite for too long and I need to open my mind to the benefits of audiobooks – especially as a gift that I can also enjoy:))

So TKZers, I’d love to get your input on the pros and cons of audiobook options. First of all, are you an audiobook fan? If so, do you use Audible or another service? What would you recommend? One thing I do know is that it’s all about the voice/narration – so if you love audiobooks for mysteries and thrillers, who provides the best narration? What audiobooks are on the top of your must read/listen list?

Thanking you all ahead of time for your guidance and recommendations…

Happy Thanksgiving week – and if you live anywhere like I do, travel safe in the snow!


31 thoughts on “Are You An Audiobook Fan?

  1. I listen to audio books daily, to and from work, and pretty much whenever I’m in my car alone. I began listening to audio books during long weekend drives to and from college many years ago, when they were recorded on cassette tape.

    Technology is wonderful and I download books now from the library. It’s fabulous. It’s free! There as an app the library told me to download on my phone and with it I have access to… hundreds of thousands (?) of books, e-book and audio. I never have trouble finding what I want to listen to.

    But I see a difference between listening and physically reading. Audio books are, to me, like watching a TV show. It’s entertainment. I read most books for the same purpose but for some reason when I’ve read a paperback or a hard-cover book, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Strange, but that’s how it feels to me. I also seem to remember the story much longer.

    The narrator plays a huge role in my level of enjoyment for an audio book. I cannot recall the man’s name but the narrator for Daniel Silva’s work is my absolute favorite. The narrator for M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series is also fabulous.

    • Thanks Carl – I did have the library app at one stage so we could listen to audiobooks on one distance car rides. I keep meaning to read Daniel Silva’s books so maybe the audiobook option is a good one!

  2. Although I’ve put 15 audiobooks up for sale, I’m not an audiobook listener. Too easily distracted. I’ve also had trouble finding those “rising number of people who listen to audiobooks.”

    If any TKZers would like a free review copy of any of my audiobooks, I’m happy to offer you one as a Thanksgiving gift. You can reach me through my website.

    • Terry – I do wonder about the distraction factor. Could easily imagine losing the thread of the story on an audiobook while listening and trying to multitask (which I’m not very good at anyway!)

    • I don’t read as much non-fiction except for book research so maybe I should try that as audiobook option – I have to reload the Overdrive app again (thanks for reminding me what it was called!)

      • Overdrive app has been replaced by Libby. It’s the same platform, but a newer app.
        Also many libraries have additional eBook/eAudio platforms, so ask your local public library. Ours offers Overdrive/Libby, RB Digital (I love the readers on Recorded Books!), and Homegrown eBooks (NC Publishers)

  3. Since Mrs. Attaway’s kindergarten class and Miss Miller’s first grade, I’ve enjoyed being read to. Heard many stories–every day, we had a reading time. Imagined and learned new things. Formed friendships around whether or not we liked the Sugar Creek Gang and, later, Nancy Drew. (Loved the Sugar Creek Gang; Nancy Drew was for sissies.)

    So audiobooks is a natural like for me. In fact, though I have a background in radio news and talk shows, I am volunteering with a non-profit group to narrate books. Will go on, I think, to read audiobooks.

    When I was professionally active, I traveled a lot–hated every minute of it because I was away from my family a lot, and tacos never just taste right anywhere but here. Listening to stuff on my recorder while leaning back and closing my eyes contributed to my mental health and relieved the constant fatigue.

    So, yeah, I plan on listening to a lot of audiobooks while eating tacos in these years. Trying to settle on which device to use.

    But the important thing is the story, be it fiction or non-fiction.

    • I love reading aloud but now my boys are teenagers I don’t do this anymore – but I can imagine being transfixed by the right narrator. Maybe we need to find a good audiobook to listen to over the winter break while we’re sitting by the fire:)

  4. I enjoyed audiobooks on long trips to and from the beach with my mom. Lots of cozys and older romantic suspense like Phylis Whitney. With both the beach house and Mom gone, the road trips are a past memory. These days, it’s the treadmill at the gym. My iPod is so old I can no longer load library audios to it so it’s free iTunes podcasts. Usually anecdotal stories like the “Real Ghost Stories” podcast. Otherwise, audiobooks are too slow to replace the book, itself. I’m a really fast reader, and I can finish several books in the same time.

    The really successful self-published authors certainly believe in audiobooks. It’s rare to see one of their books without an audiobook as a possibility usually on the first day of sale. I need to do some Thanksgiving grocery shopping, but when I come back, I’ll put up some links of tutorials on creating your own audiobooks.

    “Writer Beware” just put up a warning about audiobook rights theft. Scary.

  5. I’m not yet a convert to audio books but mainly because I’m not in the car that much (work from home) so don’t have occasion to listen like if I had a long commute. That said, I have a romance writer friend who ONLY listens to audiobooks now, doesn’t read paperbacks at all. My small publisher doesn’t offer audio book production so I will be handling that myself (though not the narration; I will be hiring a professional voice for that)

    I would add one name to the discussion which is Findaway Voices. They offer a variety of deals including royalty-share and also will put your audio books on various platforms outside Amazon (Kobo, BN etc), which I understand you can’t do if you give Audible an exclusive.

  6. I have never been a fan of audio books. I am a visual, preferring seeing to hearing. I’m that way with everything from instructions, directions, to reading. I process what I see far better than what I hear.

    My daughter, however, is a farmer’s wife and she listens to audio books in the tractor while working in the fields. She goes through several books a week when they are farming.

    Wonderful that we have choices to fit every taste.

    I haven’t explored audio books for my own work. A few things I’ve read mentioned prices much higher than I can currently afford. So, maybe down the road when my writing budget is a bit bigger.

  7. Like you, I haven’t embraced audiobooks and basically for the same reason. I’m very visual…have to ‘see’ my story (part of it, anyway) before I can begin it. And I’m not in the car alone very much.

    All of my books are available for audio, although I have yet to listen to on…just can’t bring myself to read or listen to a finished book. lol

  8. Like Terry, I can’t listen to audiobooks without my mind wandering. I do think they’d be great in the car on long rides, but I haven’t tested that theory yet. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I tried audiobooks, starting with Harry Potter, but I couldn’t do it. I need to hold books in my hot little hands. I like being able to skip back a couple of chapters if something doesn’t add up, or re-read a sentence that is simply superb.

    That, and all the voices sound the same to me. I’ve only come across one series of audiobooks that was more like a radio play than an audiobook: each character in the book was voiced by someone different, including the narrator. That made it enjoyable, though it’d be very expensive to make audiobooks like that.

    However, on road trips, husband and I love listening to lectures on different subjects. Listened to sevearl not that long ago: the history of espionage; ancient Greek mythology; and astrophysics. They make the trip go by faster, and I don’t struggle to keep up with a story and characters.

    My mother, on the other hand, loves audiobooks and goes through several a month. She downloads them from the local library (I’m guessing it’s an app) and listens when she’s driving, or when she’s in bed (morning or night).

    Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

  10. Not an audiobook fan for myself, but I know several people who are. I do better with audio in non-fiction, but my brain just doesn’t process story that way, I need to read it. I have a few books out in audio, but have never tried to listen to my own because hearing my story in someone else’s voice would probably freak me out. 😉

    On the other hand, I’ve found that an audio book of a story I know well, on very, very low, is the best sleep aid I’ve ever found. I can make myself focus just enough to keep the mind from careening around in a zillion directions, but it’s familiar so I don’t get sucked into trying to follow the story.

  11. I listen to books in the car. I picked up 3 to cover my drive back and forth over thanksgiving.

    The problem is if I haven’t finished a book by the time I get back it seems to take me forever once home to get to the end.

  12. I listen to 4-5 books a week.

    Began 15 years ago with a Walkman cassette player! It was the idea of listening while quilt-making which got me started.

    My name is Jay and I am a multitasker.

    I DO NOT listen to books while driving. Even though I live one hour from a major town, lucky to pass a dozen vehicles on the way. It’s impossible for me to fully concentrate on the book.
    I DO listen while walking, cooking, house-keeping, gardening etc.
    You don’t have to purchase audiobooks. My local library provides all I need via several digital apps, but also when I see a new title coming out, I place a hold on MP3 discs (even if they’re still ‘in processing/being acquired’) and when they arrive, convert them with WMP on my computer and send them to iTunes.
    I work in the library, have ‘listened’ so widely am able to pair happy patrons with ideal authors, as well as inform my own writing by getting hard copy to study deeper the books which really impress me. I could barely read one physical book a week, but audio almost gives me an extra life on the side.

    You don’t need to buy audiobooks, though I do subscribe to Audible from time to time and grab titles I’m desperate for which haven’t been generally released here in Australia. (There’s some great Writing books up there… another guilty pleasure of mine).

  13. I wish I could listen to audiobooks, but I’m partially deaf, so they don’t work so well for me. My husband loves them, and listens to them all the time.

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