I looooove reading. I love reading fiction, non-fiction, long-form, short-form, anything! From a very tender age if you found me somewhere in the street, there was a high chance that I’d have a book with me. I remember vividly going to visit my sister at summer camp and vanishing from sight to go read 20000 leagues under the sea inside my dad’s car. Reading the same book at the beach. Going to the library to read Star Wars. Staying up until 8:00 a.m. trapped in the magnificent adventures of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Traveling hours by train submerged in the world of The Dark Tower. Bringing a book about how to cultivate your character through the use of Stoic philosophy or mindful meditation while I went out to party…
Books are wonderful. They are a gateway for the imagination to worlds of fantasy, alternative futures or very possible ones, they bring you near the smartest and wisest of minds, they help you learn and improve languages, they put you in contact with new ideas, they make you actively reflect and question as you read, they cultivate your mind, and with books there’s not a moment of boredom.
But books by their very nature require your full attention. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could read books while doing other stuff? Hell yeah! That’s where audio books come in. With audio books you can listen to books while you do boring tasks that require a low cognitive effort like washing the dishes, making the laundry. Or even when you’re going for a walk, doing the commute or when working out at the gym. I thoroughly enjoy listening to audio books while on the go. They make the go way better.
One of the reasons I was drawn to write this article is that I’ve noticed that some people are either ashamed to admit that they listen to audio books, while other people look down on the whole thing. As in, you don’t read books if you listen to audiobooks. Stop the Hating I say. Listening to audiobooks is OK, nothing to be ashamed about, nothing to look down unto. I count listening to audiobooks as reading 1. In fact, there are some audio versions of books that are just beautiful jewels of awesomeness: Leap First by Seth Godin, wonderful, Artemis with Rosario Dawson awesome, any book by Simon Sinek read by him inspiring (such an awesome communicator that man is), The Stormlight Archive with both male and female voices just genious! Having voices over a book adds a complete different dimension and flavor to the experience. It brings writing into a different medium with a beauty of its own.
Where can you find audiobooks? Audible is probably the most established player in this area. It offers a great service with an affordable monthly subscription that gives you credits to buy books every month. But there’s lots of other players as well, Google Play Audiobooks for instance, and smaller players with different subscription models: Storytel which offers free access to as many books as you want for a monthly subscription, or Nextory with a similar offer.
I’ve been using Audible for years and they have a free 30 day trial so if you haven’t experienced audio books yet that’s a great way to get started. Try some the next time you go for a walk or the next time you have to do the dishes, vacuum cleaning or laundry. Beware though. To hear someone narrating a book is a strange experience at first but you quickly get used to it. Just don’t give up after the first 5 minutes. Give it an honest try and you’ll love it.
Enjoy your audio books! Take care!
It is not exactly, exactly like reading. You are definitely more focused when you’re reading than when you’re listening. In fact, I’ve sometimes found myself lost in my own thoughts while listening to an audio book but… Potato potato. You can always jump back 30 seconds and you’re game.
Written by Jaime González García , dad, husband, software engineer, ux designer, amateur pixel artist, tinkerer and master of the arcane arts. You can also find him on Twitter jabbering about random stuff.