Tips for Audiobook N00bs

June is Audiobook Month, and for the second year, Jen over at Devourer of Books has decided to celebrate with her very own Audiobook Week! All of this week, I’m going to be joining in and posting about audiobooks, including reviews, daily topic discussions, and my own ideas about how we can use audiobooks in different ways throughout our daily lives.

Today’s topic is: Audiobooks for the Uninitiated

Over the past year, I’ve really gotten far more into reading audiobooks than I had ever been before that. And you know what? I never really thought that I would like them enough to read them regularly. I figured, hey, maybe I can listen to an audiobook once in a while, for maybe an hour a few days a week while I’m at the gym. Maybe.

And that “one hour a few days a week at the gym” turned into multiple hours every day. It means that, on average, I finish at least an audiobook a week – which is very close to how many paper books I read in a week, depending on the time of year and what else is going on in my life.

(For example, I’ve finished more audiobooks in the last month than paper books, by quite a few. Because I haven’t really had much time to sit down and read for a while.)

So what are some of my tips for getting more audiobook reading in your life?

  • Start with something that you’re really sure you’ll enjoy. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with audiobooks, because you might never be able to get rid of that bad experience memory. A lot of people start out with an audio version of a book they’ve already read. I personally don’t think I’d like doing that, since I don’t re-read books very often, but if it sounds like it might work for you, go for it!
  • Start with something fairly short. There are lots of audiobooks out there that go on for 15-20+ hours. They’re not necessarily bad … just maybe not the kind of thing that you might want to start out your audiobooks adventures with. Like many people recommend for read-a-thons, you might want to start with something small and quick to give yourself the feeling of success and accomplishment!
  • Make sure that you always have an audiobook at the ready. Whether you carry around a designated music player with you (an iPod, other mp3 player, or even an old-school discman), or a multi-purpose device (an iPhone, Android, Kindle, or whatever) … always have something with you on the go! You never know when you’ll get a chance to listen. A lot of the time I spend listening to audiobooks is time that would otherwise be “wasted” – time standing in lines, walking to and from work or other destinations, or while I’m working out and would otherwise “just” be listening to music (or even nothing at all). This tip is sort of like carrying around a paper book in your purse/backpack at all times – you never know when you’ll get a few minutes to sneak in some reading.
  • Take a minute to think about your regularly scheduled tasks that could be enhanced by listening to an audiobook at the same time. For example, I absolutely abhor cleaning the house and doing dishes. So I try to talk myself into doing these things by thinking about the extra audiobook listening time that I’ll be making available to me by actually getting up off my duff and getting these tasks done. I also, as I said before, listen to audiobooks while doing mundane – but frequent – tasks, like walking to and from places, waiting in lines, working out (especially while running and weight-lifting), preparing meals, doing mindless paperwork … the list goes on.
  • Once you find an author, narrator, or genre that you really enjoy in audiobook format, try to find others like it. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy reading fiction series in audiobook format, as well as contemporary YA. They’re books that I might get around to reading otherwise, but might not, simply because of the time they take (to read a whole series) or the fact that I have so many other books on my TBR pile that seem more urgent (than YA).

In the end, incorporating audiobooks into my life is a lot like incorporating more reading in general – it’s all about opportunity, preparation, and routine. Once you get used to always having a book with you, and always starting to listen when you do certain things, you’ll just get into the habit of reading audiobooks and find it hard to stop!

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