Have you ever been curious about audiobooks? Have you ever given them a try? No matter the answer, here’s a quick introduction to the format and a small guide to getting familiar with it.
Finding time to read can sometimes prove to be a challenge, no matter how much of a bookworm you actually are. Life gets hectic and chores tend to pile up every now and then, with no time in between for our favorite hobbies. Luckily a while ago someone out there invented audiobooks.
Once the world caught up with the trend in the 2010s, publishing houses started investing in actors, sound effects, and a bigger production value on a much grande level. Today, there are more than a dozen different platforms and streaming services offering access to an array of different titles which can, together with your local library, help you read more than you ever did before.
While they may seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re not used to the format, audiobooks are a wonderful tool that can help you discover and rediscover your love for literature. If you fear that your comprehension might suffer from listening to a text instead of reading it straight from the page, it might surprise you that a study published in 2016 came to the conclusion that there is no significant difference between the two. So knowing that here are five tips for sinking your teeth into audiobooks … or in this case, your ears.
Start with Something Short
The standard 350-page novel roughly translates to an 8 to 10-hour long audiobook. This might seem long and daunting at first, so why not start with something shorter for your first try?
There’s a huge number of stories, novellas, and short books that can give you a feel for the format before you decide to take a full plunge. Pick something light and fun for your first try and you’ll quickly come to see that audiobooks aren’t so scary after all.
Mix It Up with Manual Handiwork
Listening comes naturally to us. So much so that it doesn’t interfere when we have to concentrate on other tasks we do simultaneously. You can hold a conversation while washing the dishes, or listen to music while preparing lunch. Thus, it might be the right time to introduce reading into the mix.
The best perk of listening to books instead of physically reading them might be just the fact that they allow you to multitask. Gone are the times when you had to choose between relaxing with a new novel and running errands. With audiobooks, you can do both at the same time.
If you press play on a good book right before you have to do the laundry, go to the store or clean your house, you’ll find yourself looking forward to those mindless tasks that are as boring as they are necessary to finish. You can listen to audiobooks anywhere and everywhere and your obligations might seem less challenging.
Explore Subscription Trials and Public Domains
If you’re still not sure whether audiobooks are for you or not, before deciding to invest your money in them, it would be handy to try them out without charge. Fortunately, there are many online services that offer free access or trial memberships to their vast audio libraries.
Check out your local library and see what they offer in the audiobook department. Try a subscription trial on Scribd or Audible, or look for titles in the public available for streaming on YouTube without crossing the line over to piracy. Once you start your search, you’ll be surprised as to how many options there are without costing you a penny.
Experiment with Different Genres
Some genres are more accessible than others, both in print and audio. If you’re having trouble listening to, for example, denser books or complex topics, experiment with a couple of genres that interest you before settling on the type of read you’ll enjoy listening to the most.
Memoirs and non-fiction books are great places to start, offering you a quick gateway into interesting subjects and giving you the feeling of having a conversation with someone, rather than making your way through textbooks. On the other hand, contemporary fiction, classics or even fantasy, horror, and sci-fi can prove to be easier to approach when they come as audio files. Simply play around until you find something that fits.
Try a Full Cast Narration
The great thing about the popularity of audiobooks is the ways in which they’ve evolved and still continue to do so. While in the beginning, we could only expect a straightforward narration from one single voice actor, nowadays full cast titles are becoming more of a trend.
When every character comes to life through amazing performances, you’ll feel as if you’re watching a movie rather than reading. Having multiple narrators helps you separate the characters in your head and the text will come to life the same way a play does when being performed on stage. It’s a different way of consuming literature, that’s for sure, but it also brings your entertainment to another level you won’t reach with physical books.
If You Can’t Concentrate – Play Around with Speed
Almost every audiobook provider will offer you the possibility of changing the playback speed. This may seem counterintuitive in the beginning, but keep in mind that the standard narrator will read at a slower pace than the way we humans usually speak. Every word, sentence, and paragraph have to be pronounced perfectly and in order to do so, the flowing of the lines will have to be a bit less rapid.
Voice actors pay special attention to their articulation and make sure that the recorded sound is clear and the text is comprehensible. However, this might also mean that you will have trouble concentrating on the words if you’re used to people talking quicker. In order to find the pace that suits you best, play around with the sound reproduction options the different apps offer you. A bonus perk is that the quicker the narration, the faster you’re done with the book.
With the advice out of the way, it’s time to put your headphones in and choose your next read. You certainly won’t regret it later.
Illustration: everything bagel/shutterstock.com
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