Despite the fact that I’ve been reading since before I could actually “read” (when I was a toddler I was quite fond of carrying around picture books and “reading aloud” to anyone who would listen, which is to say I would make up stories I thought went with the picture) I haven’t actually listened to an audio book until the last month. I started a new job which requires a 1.5 hour commute each way, and I cannot for the life of me read without getting motion sick. It was the perfect opportunity to start venturing into the world of audio books.
Scribd & Overdrive
The two most popular audio book services I had heard of were Scribd and Overdrive, so I signed up for both. Scribd is sort of like Netflix for audio books, and I was inspired to sign up after reading about how much success Lauren @ Bookmark Lit had with them. A subscription service, for a flat fee of $8.99/month you used to be able to get unlimited audio books. However, as of September Scribd is moving to a credit-based system (1 credit per month included, each additional credit another $8.99 charge), and while they will still have a selection of non-credit using books, the most popular books I’ve found I want to read always need a credit.
Overdrive is a free audiobook service that uses your library card to give you online access to audio books provided through your local library systems. I found out about Overdrive from a coworker mentioning it, and I was able to register online fairly easily and download the app on my phone. The app has more glitches than Scribd, but I think there’s a good selection for it being free (I belong to a few different library systems so I have access to a fair amount of books). Like any library, if the audio book is checked out I have to wait for it to become available (which is easy, as you can set it up to auto-check out to you as soon as it’s available).
It’s Not As Easy As It Sounds…
I was shocked to find that audio books were not the revelation I thought they were going to be. While I love that it fills up my dead time with something productive, I find myself getting easily distracted when I listen to them, and I realize I haven’t been paying attention the past few minutes and have to backtrack. The narrator can also really make or break the audio book experience. I listed to The Queen (A Selection Novella) by Kiera Cass and really found that I didn’t like the narrator’s style (I also find it sort of infringes upon my own perception of the characters’ voices, such as when you watch a movie adaptation and the characters don’t look like what you see in your head).
Another issue I run into that I find myself struggling to decide WHAT to listen to because I want to save the books I’m REALLY excited for to actually read traditionally. I’m a highly visual learner so I feel like I get the fullest experience if I read a book in the traditional format. So I save the books I’m so-so about or only somewhat excited to read for audio, which perhaps has led to my mediocre experience as well, since I’m listening to books that I may not be inclined to enjoy as much to begin with. I’ve been listening to Panic by Lauren Oliver via Overdrive, which is a book that falls into the “medium” tier priority on my TBR. I’ve decided to next try a book by an author I KNOW I love (Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot) to see if that improves my audio book experience.
Am I Beyond Convincing?
I know so many bloggers who use and love audio books, and who manage to keep up on their reading by listening to them during time that would other wise be under-utilized. Do you think that I can learn to like audio books, or was it a pretty instant decision if you liked them or not? Are there certain narrators that you’d highly recommend? Books that are BETTER in an audio format? Am I the only one out there who is (at least so far) underwhelmed by the audio book experience? If you’re a Scribd user, how do you fell about the move to a credit-based system? Do you have a method as to which books you choose to listen to rather than read? Let me know in the comments- I’m in need of your advice!