Mmmmm. Darcy. Every Austen gal’s dream.
Man–his and Elizabeth’s romance was one wild ride. And I can relate, actually. (But not with a dude. Don’t be ridiculous.)
Like our favorite Austen couple, audiobooks and I–we used to hate each other. We used to scoff and spit at each other. Probably plotted to kill each other, too, at one point or another.
But all it took was me running into charming little Audible–handsome, soaking wet and just off a swim in the lake–to change my mind.
I’ve already gotten down and dirty with why ebooks ultimately win the battle over hard copies. Now let’s throw another eligible bachelor into this crazy love triangle and talk about why the damn hell I thought I wouldn’t like audiobooks and what in the blazes changed my mind.
Why I Thought I Wouldn’t Like Audiobooks
Forgive me, audiobooks, for I’ve been a damned fool.
1. I thought I wouldn’t be able to pay attention.
I was afraid that I’d go on listening to a book for a full 5 minutes before realizing that I hadn’t paid any attention and would have to scramble to rewind and find my place again. But if you think about it, can’t this happen all the same when you’re actually reading, too?
2. I didn’t think I’d get the whole “romantic” experience of reading.
I thought having a narrator would be distracting and subtract from the intimacy of the whole thing. And while I still love a book in my hands, it turns out that having the right narrator doesn’t distract from the romance of “reading” at all. (I get mushy about reading, guys, what can you do.)
3. I thought it was cheating.
That–for some reason–if you’re just listening to a book instead of looking at the words on the page, you’re not doing it right. You’re taking a shortcut or you’re not fully appreciating the work the writer put on the page. Which is actually pretty stupid.
Though personally, as a copywriter and creative writer, there is a tiny something to this. I write my words with the expectation that they’ll be read internally by the end user–not communicated by someone else through the spoken word. (I’m not a screenwriter, and if I were, I’d probably write things a bit differently. They’re 2 very different art forms.) See what I mean? I want to enjoy a book how I think the writer probably intended it, which is why I still love looking at words on the page. But does this mean I can’t enjoy audiobooks at all? Hell no! More on that below.
4. I just didn’t see the point.
Why not just read with your eyes instead? Another pretty close-minded point of view by my younger and less-wise self.
Why I Actually Love Them
He couldn’t resist my spinach-spotted smile. I couldn’t resist his charm. And we fell in love.
1. I can pay attention, and paying attention gets easier.
You get used to listening to audiobooks the more you practice. By the end of my first one, On the Beach by Nevil Shute, I realized that I’d gotten way better at holding my focus on the spoken word for long periods of time. And if your mind does wander away from your book for a few seconds, the 30-second rewind feature will have you back where you need to be in a pinch.
2. A good narrator can change everything.
You did a fine job, Simon Prebble. Though Mr. Prebble is the person I’ve heard read a book (On the Beach), I can already tell that listening to audiobooks with good narrators is going to be quite the adventure.
It’s hard to describe why–just give it a try. You might find yourself delighted at the added dimension a good narrator can bring to a book. (Rosamund Pike narrating Pride & Prejudice sounds irresistible to me and will probably be my next pick.)
3. While I still would like to see the words on the page, audiobooks can be a huge helper for books that are hard to understand.
I don’t know if I’ll ever give up seeing words on the page. After every chapter of On the Beach, I’d go skim the ebook version just to feel like I was really absorbing it all. Then what’s the point, you may ask?
Well, often I find myself having to read most parts of a book 2 or 3 times, paragraph by paragraph, to feel like I’ve really got a good grasp on it. But if I listen to the book first, all I need to do is go through and do a quick skim to make sure I’ve got everything. I still don’t feel like I truly have gotten the whole essence of a book with just one Audible listen, but maybe that’ll change as I get more listening experience under my belt. All in all, I’d say time spent “reading” ends up being nearly the same either way, so I definitely don’t see this system as a waste of time.
Inflection, tone of voice, and pronunciation can all help make sense of things when you’re reading a book that’s difficult to understand. I find Jane Austen books to be quite difficult, which is why I’m looking forward to listening to them and understanding them on a whole new level.
This is probably the #1 way I’ll use my Audible subscription–getting books by Austen, by Dostoyevsky, and other books that tend to trip me up and stretch my reading comprehension level.
4. There’s plenty of reasons to listen instead of read.
Long walks. Long drives. Any mindless, repetitive action like peeling a bunch of pistachios for the pistachio-chai muffins you’re making. (They were delicious). And my favorite–help with reading comprehension to use in combination with the book’s text.
Another great thing about audiobooks? If you’re just feeling too tired to use your eyes to read, you can just sit back, close your eyes, and hear a good story.
And that’s how I’ve learned to love Audible. I’ve been putting off giving audiobooks a try for literally years, and I’m glad I finally opened up and gave it a try. Because I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself and how I enjoy literature in the process and now I’m going to get shitloads more of those difficult books crossed off my TBR list.
More Info On Audible
Here’s Audible at a glance so you can decide whether or not you’re ready to sign up for a free 1 month trial. (Shortcut: you are.)
How does it work?
There’s 2 plans–Gold and Platinum. A Gold membership gets you 1 credit a month while a Platinum gets you 2. Credits can be used to buy books–usually 1 credit per book. Some cost 2 credits, but I think that’s pretty rare.
You can also just buy a book at regular price without a membership, but this doesn’t make sense if the book you want to buy costs more than $14 (which it probably does–audiobooks ain’t cheap!) or you just can’t stand the thought of commitment.
They list the price next to how many credits a book costs for this reason–you don’t have to have an Audible membership to buy. But it’s almost always more economical that way.
How much does it cost?
Gold membership: $14.95/month (and you can roll over up to 6 credits–but I love Audible so much that I don’t ever see myself using their rollover feature)
Platinum membership: $22.95/month (and you can roll over up to 12 credits)
Can I listen on all my devices?
Of course you can. It’s 2016. They have apps out the yin-yang–I’m sure your platform is supported, too. There’s also this cool thing called Whispersync–if you have the Kindle version of the book too, the 2 versions will sync up and you can pick up on one where you left off on the other seamlessly.
What if I don’t like the book?
Ah, I am so glad you asked. Audible will refund you your money or credit, no questions asked. And if that’s not a sparkling example of good, honest business, I don’t know what is.
What’s the selection like?
Pretty damn good, far as I can tell. Almost every book I’ve searched for, they’ve had it.
What am I waiting for?
I don’t know, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give it a whirl you eager, bookish thing, you.