Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How I Find Audiobooks (aka My Audiobook Obsession)

Because transparency is a thing, I want to tell you I am not sponsored by Audible, Overdrive or Book Outlet. They don't know who I am or that I'm writing this post. They haven't sent me anything or asked me to talk about them. I am giving my opinions about these services and businesses all on my own without any compensation. 

Audiobooks have sucked me in. You might know this. I mention my audiobook selections in wrap-up videos and sometimes do reviews on them as well. In the past year or so I've read quite a few and collected some I really want to check out in the future. What has sparked this obsession? For me, it is the genius that is audiobooks and how easily I can get my hands on them. My absolute favorite thing about audiobooks is being able to "read" while I do something else. I can listen to them while I drive to work or while I'm doing housework. They make mundane tasks a lot easier to handle and can make time pass a little quicker. I've listened to them while I work out sometimes too, but I find I need my eyes to be occupied during that battle for mental distraction.

A few things to mention before I go any further. I am wholeheartedly trying to reduce my TBR pile (and failing miserably if I’m honest). However, when I’m being good audiobooks are my way of picking up something that isn't on my TBR pile without adding a physical book to my collection. I also have a smartphone which is required for a couple of the apps I'm talking about and I have a CD player in my car. All of these things make it fairly easy for me to listen to audiobooks on the go or at home. Because I have them on me so often, I've had questions from family and friends about why I like audiobooks so much and how I get my hands on so many. I have a few ways of adding to my collection. I either pick them up from my local library, purchase a CD set (usually on Book Outlet) or purchase them through Audible!

1) Library and Overdrive -

In my area I have a nice-sized library system and I have access to so many audiobooks. I am so fortunate my library system has a wide variety of books in general and these are usually CD sets I can listen to in my car or at home through my computer. These make audiobooks very easy. To purchase these sets is very expensive so having access to them through the library is amazing!

Plus my library has Overdrive which has a large selection of audio files. Overdrive can be downloaded on most devices or a computer. Then you can borrow ebooks or audiobook files for up to two weeks. You can borrow books without visit the library. There is nothing to remember to return at the end of the lending period either. You simply lose access to the content after your time is up. Honestly, the best part of this service for me is it makes the files very portable. I can move around the house or walk my dog while I listen to the books on my phone.

2) Audible-

I am glued to this service almost as much as my monthly Netflix subscription or my library card. It wasn't always so though! To say I was skeptical of Audible, is a gross understatement. I was decidedly not on board for a long time. In fact, I checked out the whole shebang over a year ago and declined to sign up. I was just starting to listen to audiobooks then (I was only infatuated not wholly obsessed) and was sure it wasn't worth it.

A few things I love about Audible:
  • Audio Samples - Every book listed on their site has a sample to listen to. I really love this feature. If you listen to audiobooks, you know some narrators are much better than others. Listening to roughly five minutes of the book gives me a good sense of the tone of the book and the voice of the narrator. 
  • Sales - I've only belonged to audible a few months and already they had sales where every audiobook is half off. There are lots of sales, special offers and there is a daily deal just like ebooks.
  • Trophies and Statistics – As you listen more, Audible rewards you with different trophies for your “reading accomplishments” For example, when I listened for two hours straight, I received the Marathon trophy. Plus Audible gives you statistics about how much you’ve been listening according to day, month or year.
Disadvantages to Audible
·        Expense – It does seem expensive to spend $14.95 a month for a single audiobook when I can pay about half of that for Netflix and binge watch nine seasons of Doctor Who in a month. I would argue it is worth it if you really enjoy audiobooks, but I’ve considered canceling it quite a few times. I have a queue of audiobooks to listen to and may eventually unsubscribe until I catch up.
·        App Issues – While I do like listening on the app, it is a little cumbersome. There isn’t a way to shop easily on the app and you cannot complete purchases on it to my knowledge. This is a little annoying, but mostly I use it for listening and I have no trouble with that aspect of the app.

3) Audio CD Sets -

These are the most difficult and can be the most expensive way to obtain audiobooks. I usually only purchase these if they are on Book Outlet or somewhere similar. Discounted sets are hard to find but it is exciting when you find a set of something you are interested in, it is very exciting!

So that’s how I do it. I find great audiobooks all over the place and really enjoy the search. I hope this helps you in your search for audiobooks in the future.

Happy Reading and Listening! 

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