How to Listen to Audiobooks (plus where to get free books)

Listening to audiobooks is an easy way to get some more reading in. If you’re not a fan of listening to books, I’d like to share some tips on how to listen to audiobooks so you can get the most out of them.

How to Listen to Audiobooks Effectively

Some people are traditional and will not deviate from printed books if their life depended on it. I know because I used to be one of them (and then I got rid of all my books and had to start over but that’s the story for another day🙃). Today, I’d love to share with you some tips I’ve gathered over the years for listening to audiobooks.

Audiobooks Vs Reading

The debate has raged throughout the ages…or at least, as long as there have been audiobooks.

  • Is listening to audiobooks the same as reading?
  • Do audiobooks count as reading?
  • Is reading or audiobooks better?

There are those who claim listening to an audiobook is not the same as reading, yet the numbers of books on tape is growing exponentially. On the other hand, there are those who are able to read literally hundreds of books each year because they listen to audio books.

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A few years ago, I would have emphatically said listening to a book is “cheating”, but now that I’ve been bitten by the audiobook bug I’m firmly on the other side. Funnily enough, when I asked my teenage son if there were benefits to listening to an audiobook, his response was that listening to a book is the same as reading it.

The science bears out: listening and reading books hit the same markers as far as our brains are concerned and has many of the same benefits. I won’t reproduce the research since this article Audiobooks Vs Reading: The Rules Are, There Are No Rules does such a great job of presenting the details.


Tips on How to Listen to Audiobooks

1. Have an open mind.

If you’re going to reap the benefits of listening to audiobooks effectively, you have to get rid of prejudice. Don’t think of all the reasons listening to a book is not the same as reading it. Instead, allow yourself to consume the piece of work in an audio format. This will allow you to concentrate on the book which leads into my next point.

2. Focus.

When you first start listening to a book, you need to practice concentration. Do not allow your brain to tune out the book as you go about other tasks. Zero in on what the narrator is saying and try to visualize it. When you first start listening to audio books you may have to let that be your only task until you get used to focusing on the narrator and not allowing the book to become background noise.

3. Figure out the speed that works for you.

If you’re a fast reader, one of the first things you’ll notice is that it may take you longer to listen to a book than it does to read it. Or, it may be the opposite, maybe you find the audiobook speed too fast. In ether case, modern devices give you the option to select your playback speed. Figure out the speed that works for you and stick to it. You may need to play around with different speeds to find that one that works best for you.

4. Get a good playback device.

The app you’re using to listen to your audiobook makes a world of difference. I once had to listen to a book on an app that would not save your progress and it was super difficult to get back to where you had left off. Needless to say, that was one of the worse experiences I had when trying to listen to an audiobook. Ensure that the app you choose to listen to your audiobooks is user-friendly.

5. Listen to a sample before you commit.

This is a key thing. Audio books are read by someone who is not you (seemed kind of obvious but I just had to say it😃). If you don’t like the narrator’s voice, it’s going to spoil the listening experience for you. On the contrary, a great narrator can greatly enhance your audiobook listening experience.

6. Make notes.

A great way to get a lot out of any book–audio or not–is to take notes. With audiobooks, you may find it easier to make jottings of key points instead of writing detailed notes. These notes will later give you a clue as to where you may have other actions to take based on what you had listened especially if the book was nonfiction.

Can You Listen to Audiobooks for Free?

Okay, so I know the price for audiobooks can be somewhat daunting, especially when you consider that you’re not certain it’s something you’ll enjoy. If that’s you, I have a list of resources for you to listen to some audiobooks before you commit to the medium.

Librivox: you can browse their catalog of Christian fiction. As a note, all Librivox books are in the public domain but I’m sure you’ll find a few books to whet your appetite.

AudiobooksNow: this subscription service offers a 30-day free trial and then you’ll get 50 percent off your first purchase.

Audiobooks: before you commit to this monthly service, get three audiobooks when you sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Audible: get 1-2 credits to purchase an audio book when you sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Christianaudio: sign up for their newsletter and get one premium title free every month. They also offer discounted books regularly. Christianaudio also offers a 4-credit 30-day free trial.


Audiobooks Are Not Cheating

Listening to a book is just as valid as reading it. Instead of thinking that listening to a book is not really reading, why don’t you try listening to a book today?

I hope this post gave you some ideas on how to listen to audiobooks to get the most of your reading, er, I mean listening. How do you feel about audio books? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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