Audiobook Appreciation Month
Did you know that June is Audiobook Appreciation Month?
I didn't even know there was a thing called Audiobook Appreciation Month until I saw something online last week mentioning it.
Since it piqued my interest, I looked it up.
Audiobook Appreciation Month is an annual celebration of the audiobook format... It’s a time to recognize the value and potential of audiobooks and podcasts—not only as legitimate forms of reading but also as accessible and enjoyable formats. *
Heck yeah, I thought. Let's celebrate the audiobook!
Fortunately, I was already mid-listen to SPARE by Prince Harry. I had been sitting on an absurdly long waiting list for his audiobook at my local library and after listening to the introduction, I easily understood why. Not only is it intriguing and interesting to even a casual royal watcher/observer, but it is also read by none other than Prince Harry himself.
So during the following few days, I decided not to chide myself for indulging in a listen while I cleaned the kitchen, sorted the laundry, ran a few extra errands, cooked more homemade meals, scrubbed my bathroom, or...you get the idea.
Audiobook Appreciation Month is a thing, after all, and I was embracing the celebration of it! If my house ended up cleaner than it had been since the holiday season, so much the better.
I still remember the first time I learned that Audiobooks were a thing. My oldest son was working P/T at a data entry job, inputting information that did not require much thought on his part, and thinker that he is, he quickly learned that he needed more cerebral stimulation while he performed his task.
Which is when he discovered the Harry Potter series...on audiobook.
Audiobooks opened the door to an entirely new world for my son that summer – and not only the one inhabited by muggles and witches.
Just Press Play
Like reading physical books, listening to audiobooks introduces a host of positive side effects into our lives.
Audiobooks engage our minds when our bodies cannot afford to sit still, helping us manage our time more efficiently.
Audiobooks boost our vocabulary and aid in learning how to correctly pronounce our growing terminology.
Audiobooks improve our mental well-being, according to Psychology Today, by helping reduce negative thinking, developing empathy, and providing solid stress-busters.
Audiobooks provide the same mental stimulation as reading physical books, so say scientists.
Audiobooks give your eyes a much-needed break, a benefit when most of us spend 7+ hours per day looking at a screen - an activity that can lead to blurred vision & eye strain, according to Business Insider.
Audiobooks can help you get a better night's sleep, according to research. The blue light from screens (especially before bed) interrupts the body's ability to shut down properly for sleep by fooling it into thinking it is still daytime, which stops the body's production of melatonin - the body's natural way to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Audiobooks capture the imagination, allowing the listener to escape the realities and worries of the day in an engaging way.
Audiobooks pair well with the physical version, helping visual learners train their brains to be more attentive listeners.
Pro-Tips for Newbies
My first audiobook was a DNF (Did Not Finish) because I didn't know what I was doing. I found a title I wanted to hear while I exercised and by the end of my workout, I wanted to throw my phone across the room.
Since that first disastrous experience, I've gone semi-pro when it comes to selecting audiobooks that I will have a good chance of loving. To help you get off on the right foot with audiobooks, here are a few of my tried-and-true tips for selecting audiobooks that you'll be glad you finished.
Listen to the Sample
Narrators can literally make or break your audiobook experience, which was what made my first experience a failure. Take the time to download or listen to the sample before committing to listening to the audiobook. Trust me.
Don't commit yourself to 38 hours of a book you do not know you will like in a format that is new to you. Aim for a short 7-hour audiobook - or even shorter. You want to set yourself up for a win your first time and that is more easily accomplished with a novel you know you can finish.
Ask your family and friends for a book rec - one they have listened to and loved. Invite audiobook recs on your social feeds. And be specific with a genre or setting or time period you know you already like. You'd be surprised at how many people will respond with books you might love.
Listening to an audiobook is much like reading - it's about the journey more than it is about the destination. You'll be tempted to listen at a faster speed, but speed listening is something to build up over time. Start slow and enjoy listening to the story unfold at regular speed.
Temptation to Multi-task
Listening to an audiobook while you perform other tasks takes practice. In order not to miss the story (which is why you're listening to the audiobook in the first place), only do rote tasks at the beginning. Don't devote your precious gray cells to thinking outside the confines of the novel as an audiobook newbie, lest you miss key plot twists and delightful dialogue.
Best Apps for Audiobooks
Think you're ready to give an audiobook a try? Here are some low-cost (or FREE!) options to get you started on solid footing.
Audiobooks from LibriVox are free thanks to volunteers who record and edit the books they read - a catalog currently over 16,000 strong, all in the public domain.
Most libraries offer audiobooks free to their patrons via the Libby app. All you need is a current library card and the app on one of your devices. (Pro Tip: Check with all the libraries in the surrounding areas where you live to see if you are eligible for a free library card as a non-resident. The more libraries you have listed in your Libby app, the larger your selection of audiobooks to check out.)
Similar to Libby, the Cloud Library offers another app through which local libraries can make audiobooks accessible to their patrons.
For as low as $7.95/month, Audible gives you access to thousands of audiobooks in their growing database as a loan (much like a library book). There are also memberships available at higher price points in which you can keep the audiobooks you buy with your monthly allotted credit.
There are a surprising number of full audiobooks available for a listen for free on YouTube. The quality varies greatly, but there are some great free audiobooks for motivated listeners.
Which audiobook titles do you recommend to help audiobook newbies dip their toes in this new-to-them medium?
What's your best advice for beginners about selecting the right audiobook?
I hope you'll add your tried-and-true experiences in the comments for those just starting out on their journey.
*quote from speechify.com