A few of you may remember that back at the start of the year I was lamenting over the fact that I couldn’t get audiobooks to work for me. I struggled to focus and just generally had a terrible time listening to them.
Fastforward 6 months and I’m flying through audiobooks. I finally figured out how to get them to work for me. Considering that a lot of people seemed to have the same struggles I did, I thought I’d share what works for me.
I listen to audiobooks on my old iphone. The books (plus the podcasts I’ve downloaded) can take up a lot of space which I don’t have on my usual mobile so the old one has become an MP3 of sorts. It’s handy, I have it most places. It doesn’t take up much space, and I’m familiar with it.
Back when I first tried audiobooks I was using Overdrive on my laptop. That wasn’t as good, mostly because I was limited to particular places and times to listen. I didn’t enjoy that.
My library has catalogues that offer audiobooks on two apps: Overdrive and BorrowBox. Overall I much prefer Overdrive, with its bookmarking, better layout, and general ease of use. BorrowBox is okay, but not as good. The only time I use it is if it features a book I can’t find on my library’s Overdrive catalogue.
What to listen to first?
I feel like selecting a good book is key to getting into audiobooks. You need something with good narration that is easy to understand (I much prefer British like accents), maybe something fast paced that keeps you interested. I started with Harry Potter and The Queen of the Tearling.
If that doesn’t work, podcasts may be useful. They’re not books per se, but they are audio stories that last a little shorter and can help you adjust.
Speed it Up
The ability to speed up the audio is what kept me listening. When I tried audiobooks in the past I found that the narrators talked too slow compared to my reading speed and I was getting bored/ distracted. It was only this year I realised I could speed the audio up (smart, I am).
When I first start an audiobook, I leave it on 1x speed for a bit and slowly crank up the speed. I take a few minutes/ hours to get used to the new speed before cranking it up. Usually I end up listening to the book between 1.25x and 2x, depending on the speaking speed and accent of the narrator.
When to Listen?
Figuring out when to listen was probably the hardest part of all. I didn’t think I could focus on two things at once. It really depends on what you’re doing. If I need to focus (like while studying, or writing blog posts, etc) I can’t listen to an audiobook. But I can do mindless/ menial tasks while listening to audiobooks.
At first I listened to audiobooks while falling asleep. Then I trained myself to listen and multitask by playing random puzzle games on my phone while listening to audiobooks. Next was driving (only to places I’ve been before/ know the route) and cleaning/ organising. Recently I’ve also started colouring while listening to audiobooks which is actually great (until I start focusing on colour choices and not the book haha)