I Am An Audiobook Junkie. You Can Be One Too.

I am a recent convert to audiobooks, and it sounds like I’m not the only one.There are a ton of articles out there talking about where to get your audiobooks, suggestions for when to listen, and recommendations for the best books. Here’s my story.

The convenience of being able to consume a book while driving, cooking, cleaning, bathing, working, etc., is too good to pass up, but for me, it wasn’t an easy thing to add to my routine. I often just forgot to press play and the wasted opportunities piled up. My commute went from a solid 40 minutes to about 5, (which is great, don’t get me wrong) and so I felt like I just didn’t have a lot of opportunities to listen.

The key to introducing audiobooks into your life is to make it a habit. I suggest starting your day with spoken word entertainment. I know I’m talking about audiobooks here, but my day always starts with a podcast. It was the easiest time to remember to press play and helps me wake up. I switched from having my phone alarm scare me into an upright position to using a S.A.D.-busting light-up alarm clock complete with chirping bird noises. It’s been great, and starts my more relaxed morning routine. Once I’m up, I grab my phone and turn on a podcast. Most of the ones I’m subscribed to are between 30 and 50 minutes, which is perfect. I can get one complete episode in while I’m getting ready (including time I’m in the shower) and it’s better than the radio. After this I’m happily grinding coffee beans, packing my lunch, and I’m out the door.

For the next 8 hours, I’m at work. Your job will likely be different than mine. While I’m often at my desk, I interact with a lot of people throughout my day. There are meetings, phone calls, and emails. I run reports, compare statistics, read articles, write articles, etc. You would think that as a librarian, nothing could be more natural than listening to an audiobook while working. And some days that is true, but often I find that I can’t concentrate on what I’m hearing while also trying to do basic math or sentence-wordifying (case in point). So some days I have my headphones in, and others I don’t. It’s just the nature of the beast. If you can make use of the time you’re at work to take in a good book, then all the power to you. If you work 7 hours a day, and an audiobook lasts anywhere between 7 and 25 hours, that’s a heck of a lot of reading you’re getting done.

Here’s a tip. Have an audiobook in your car. I find that books on disc work best because then I don’t have to fiddle with any of my devices, but you do you. The point is that if you have something there, every time you get in the car, you’ll listen to it. I don’t listen to anything but my audiobook in the car (with a few k-pop exceptions) and even with my 5 minute commute in mind, I can easily finish a book in a single 3-week checkout. Pick something that you can do in small chunks if your drive is as short as mine. I tend to pick something lighter, usually written by a celebrity. Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe is highly recommended.

If you take public transit or work from home, you’re laughing.

Now that you’re pesky work day is done, think about all the opportunities you have for audio. Cooking dinner. Doing dishes. Folding laundry. Walking your dog. Cleaning whatever else in your house needs it. Grocery shopping. Gardening. Shoveling. The list goes on and on. If you’ve gotten to this portion of your day having listened to something in the morning, and at work, and in the car, pressing play now will come naturally. Lather, rinse, repeat for 2 weeks, and science tells us that you’ve likely developed a new habit.

Now that you’re an audiobook junkie like I am, you’ll need a stable source of content. Obviously I recommend using your local library. They should have books on disc, perhaps Playaways, and almost certainly a digital collection of eAudiobooks, likely through OverDrive or 3M. Just ask. Staff will be happy to help.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for there or don’t want to worry about holds lists or due dates, I would recommend Audible. There are other services out there, this just happens to be what I use. For around $15 a month, you can get 1 audiobook per month. There are also packages for 2 or more per month, but check for sales and Daily Deals to help build your library.

If you still need more, have I already mentioned podcasts?! They are great. Subscribe to a few or many. There is something for absolutely everyone, they’re free, and new content is usually added weekly or bi-weekly. Stuff You Should Know, Book Riot, Serial… the list goes on and on. Check them out.

It’s possible there are typos, missing words, and/or grammatical errors in this point. Apologies, but I was listening to an audiobook while typing.