Audiobooks? Not me! No way!
I understand. I never thought I would be able to enjoy an audiobook either. I thought I would be too distracted by the world around me when listening that I would miss the important parts and not enjoy the experience.
Then one of my dearest friends gave me My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult on CD, suggesting that I try it. This friend has never steered me wrong so I downloaded the CD’s onto my iPod and began listening to the book as I took my dog for his walks. Astro’s walks became longer and longer as I became entranced by the book. I hooked my iPod up to my car radio and started listening as I drove. I found myself suddenly calm during traffic jams and often disappointed when I arrived at my intended destination.
But all good things come to an end and I finished My Sister’s Keeper, eager to start a new audiobook. I searched Amazon and found some new CD’s to load onto my iPod. But the CD’s were expensive and loading them onto my iPod was a lengthy, complicated and frustrating experience.
Audible Makes a Big Difference
Then I discovered Audible. Audible.com is a website owned by Amazon and sells audiobooks you can download onto your computer or mobile device. The process of getting an audiobook onto my iPod suddenly became a whole lot faster, easier and cheaper than using CD’s. One of the great things about listening to an audiobook on your mobile device is that you will be able to start up where you left off. With a CD, when you eject it from your player, you lose your place in the book.
Audible has over 85,000 titles available, including books, magazines, newspapers, podcasts and speeches. You can buy the titles individually, which are cheaper than CD’s, or you can become an Audible member. By being a member, you buy credits which can be used to purchase titles. Generally one credit buys you one audiobook, regardless of price. A few titles are two credits, but I haven’t come across any, other than the Twilight series books.
Audible offers two types of memberships, each with two different payment plans:
- A Gold membership buys you 12 credits which you can use in 12 months. You can pay monthly at $14.95 per month and use one credit per month or pay $149.50 at once and use the 12 credits any time during the year.
- A Platinum membership buys you 24 credits to use in 12 months. You can pay $22.95 per month to use two credits per month or $229.50 at once and use the 24 credits anytime during the year.
If you buy a yearly Platinum membership, your credits can cost as little as $9.56 each. This means audiobooks such as Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars can be yours for $9.56 instead of $26.39 for the CD’s at Amazon or $23.95 for the audiobook at iTunes.
If you want to buy an audiobook with cash instead of using Audible credits, you will automatically save 30% off the list price if you are an Audible member.
A membership at Audible includes special offers that they have several times a year. During April, Audible is offering a deal where if you buy four audiobooks you get a $10 credit towards the purchase of a future audiobook. Another deal that Audible is offering in April is half price on over 1000 unabridged books.
But won’t I get distracted?
As far as being able to concentrate on a listening to a book while driving, I have had no problems following a plot, including when I was navigating complex roundabouts in England. The tasks must use two different parts of my brain because I am able to do both without either function suffering. I will often listen to my books when I am doing household chores such as cleaning, folding laundry, cooking or ironing. A good audiobook makes these tasks infinitely more enjoyable!
If an audiobook is exceptionally good or short, I can finish the book in under a week. If the book is slow or lengthy, I might need two weeks to finish the book. If I were to sit down and read the book, finishing the book would take much longer.
If you find a narrator who transports you into the book, search for other books the narrator has done. A fine narrator can make a significant difference in your enjoyment of an audiobook. I often find myself more engrossed by an audiobook than a regular book due to the power of the narrator. I recently listened to What is the What, by Dave Eggers, which was spectacularly narrated by Dion Graham. His lilting Sudanese accent made the book seem all the more real to me. I felt as if I were accompanying him on his journey from his struggles in war-torn Sudan to his struggles in acclimating to life in the US. Amazingly, his American accent was perfect as well. An effective narrator such as Dion Graham can make you forget that only one person is narrating the book.
I belong to a book club that chose Cutting for Stone as next month’s selection. The book is 688 pages and 21 hours long as an audiobook. I only started listening to the book yesterday and we meet in ten days. I have no doubt I will be able to finish the book in time because I can listen to it on Audible. If I had to sit down to read the book, I just couldn’t get it finished in time.
What kind of books are available?
The first year I joined Audible, I listened to forty audiobooks, half fiction and half non-fiction. The variety on Audible is impressive and, like their parent company Amazon, they suggest books for you based upon what you have read in the past. You can also search for books in different categories, explore best sellers, or discover customer favorites.
How do I get started?
You can get started for free by visiting audible.com. Amazon has an offer for you to get two free audiobooks with a trial membership to Audible. Free audiobooks from Audible Or you can get a membership for half price for the first three months, $7.49 instead of $14.95. Half price three month membership
You can set up a new Audible account or sign in with your Amazon account.
To listen to an audiobook, you must download the audio file to your device. You can listen to your books on your computer, an MP3 player such as an iPod, or on your smartphone. Audible apps are available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows, but not the Palm Pre. If you have an iPhone, you can listen to your Audible audiobooks through iTunes or through your Audible app.
Downloading the audiobooks couldn’t be easier. When you purchase an audiobook, it goes into your Audible library. The good news is that once an audiobook is in your library, it doesn’t expire. No matter when you bought the book, you can wait to download it onto your device until you’re ready to listen to it.
Once you are ready to listen, just select Download Now. You have a choice of four different types of files. The highest, Enhanced, gives MP3 quality sound but is a bigger file, meaning longer download times and more space on your device. You can download an audiobook from your library to your smartphone directly by using the Audible app or on your iPhone by downloading the audiobook to your computer using iTunes and then syncing your phone with your computer.
Downloading an Audible book can take just a few minutes or up to about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the book and your Internet download speed.
You can also listen to Audible audiobooks on your Kindle. Last week, Amazon announced on its homepage that owners of the Kindle 3 would be able to download Audible books to their Kindles over Wi-Fi. Owners of previous model Kindles can also listen to Audible books on their Kindles, but they need to download the Audible files to their computers and then sync their Kindles with their computers.
Maybe I should give audiobooks a try…
Go ahead, download your free audiobooks today from Audible. Is there a book you have been meaning to read but just can’t get around to it? One all of your friends have been recommending but you just haven’t had a chance to get it? Check out Audible to grab your free audiobooks and see if you enjoy listening to books .
Please post in the Comments section below if you try Audible audiobooks and how they work for you!