The joy of audio books September 28, 2015

When I was a teenager I tried listening to an audio book once or twice and I remember that I absolutely could not stand it, on both occasions. And I stuck with that belief for several years. Audio books just were not for me – that’s what I always thought. And then, only a while back I found out how very wrong I was!

What I did not know back then is that it makes a whole lot of a difference, what kind of audio book you pick out. Is it an a bridged or unabridged version? Is it one where scenes are acted out as a play and with background music or not? One where the narrator changes voices for characters or not? What narrator reads the audio book to you? And most of all – what kind of books do you want to listen to in the first place? These are some of the considerations that depending on your personal taste can make or break the experience of listening to an audio book.

For me, audiobooks can never be a substitute for reading itself. But they are such a nice complementary thing to have! Especially when you are sick with a cold and want to have your eyes closed while you’re lying in your bed. Or while you are doing chores like ironing or gardening. You can listening to them on your daily commute to work, in the car on while traveling. The list goes on and on. And I am so happy that I gave audio books another chance after all these years ignoring them in total.

You might wonder, isn’t listening to an audio book more expensive than normal reading? Well, I guess it can be, depending on what audio books you like and how many you listen to every month. There are subscription services that give you one audio book to choose from each month, and there are also a lot of audio book sales going on. I borrow mine from my local library of choice, so besides my normal library fees I can listen to them for free. If you live in the US, you should also check out Librivox. An amazing collection of free audio books in the public domain that are read by volunteers. There are also other websites featuring public domain books and audio books, like Project Gutenberg. Just remember that the audio book has to be public domain in the area or country where you currently are, for you to be able to enjoy it. Copyright laws need to be followed and you need to check your local copyright law for a particular book before you even consider it. Librivox, for instance is tailored for people living in the US. So in case of doubt, check the audio book selection at your local library. Many libraries are offering an online service now, where you can borrow e-books and audio books online that go straight to your tablet and they expire when the lending period is up. So you do not even have to bring them back in person, once you are finished and avoid additional late fees. Even if you think you do not like audio books, you should think about giving them another try.

If you excuse me now, please, I want to catch up with my current audio book…

Photography by © epicantus / Pixabay

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