Even the most devout bookworm occasionally struggles to find the time to sit down to read. Is it just us, or are there always a million things competing for our attention? Luckily, there’s an easy solution without skipping a beat: audiobooks.
1. You can listen on the go.
Pop in your headphones and take your audiobook with you on a walk, to the gym, or on your morning commute. Enjoy a story as you power through physical tasks and chores. Chill out with a novel as you eat lunch. Whether you’re folding laundry or gardening, an audiobook can provide the background soundtrack without competing with the task at hand.
2. The time investment is defined up front.
Most of us don’t know our exact reading pace. Though you may be able to make a good guess based on the page count, each book is different, so it can be a bit tricky — and typically, you don’t actually need to know. But one of the most underrated benefits of audiobooks is that the duration is highlighted right off the bat, so you can pick according to your schedule and your preferences.
If you enjoy listening for extended periods of time and you want a lot of bang for your buck, grab a 27-hour epic, like Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. If you’re new to audiobooks or you want a quick story you can easily wrap up in a week, try a shorter, three-hour tale, like The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.
3. The narration speed isn’t fixed.
With a physical book, your pace is limited to your reading speed. With an audiobook, though, you can play with the narration and tailor your listening experience to your needs and preferences. Basically, you can find your listening sweet spot.
Speed things up and listen at a faster pace — a great option for powering through more content or for spicing up a lagging narrator — or slow things down and really sink into the velvety storyline. Listening at a reduced speed may also help you process the information more effectively, especially if you’re new to audiobooks and still developing your active listening skills. (You can also check out these additional tips for listening.)
4. It can be a group activity.
Reading a physical book is an adventure you take alone. (Unless, of course, you’re reading out loud to someone or reading in tandem with a book club … but you get what we mean.)
Audiobooks, on the other hand, give you the opportunity to share an experience with other people. Got a family road trip coming up? Put some life into the drive with a story you can all enjoy together. Working on a puzzle with friends? Play a book and pause for discussion when something seriously juicy happens.
When you listen together, everyone is equally involved — and it can help make a solitary act more social. This in itself can help us feel more engaged.
5. The right narrator makes it entertaining.
Finally, consider the sheer pleasure in listening to something soothing and melodic, or the zest that can come with a powerful, passionate voice. There’s an audiobook narrator (and a book) for just about everyone. By listening to samples, you can find the right one for you.
Don’t underestimate the power of an accent or an all-star cast if you’re struggling to get back into reading. Sometimes the pleasing sound of a story told aloud is all you need.
Check out our list of celebrity-narrated audiobooks for more inspiration.
About the Author: Kelsey Fritts
Kelsey is a writer, editor, anthropologist, and bookworm. She's also the author of two young adult fantasy novels. When she's not out exploring in nature or playing with her ridiculously spoiled dog, you can find Kelsey curled up with a mug of hot cocoa and a novel—likely one by Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, N.K. Jemisin, Margaret Atwood, or Ursula K. Le Guin.