Thursday, 9 June 2011

Audiobook Love Week - Thursday: Audiobooks for the Uninitiated


Audiobooks for the Uninitiated

Whether you just started listening or have a long history with audiobooks, you probably have some suggestions for those new to audio whether for narrators, titles, or ways to experience the medium. Write a post, make a list, get creative.

My thoughts

I have been looking forward to this topic ever since I knew it was apart of the Audiobook Love week line-up, as I am keen to see what advise other audiobook listener are giving out…  To find the participants list go HERE

As mentioned earlier in the week – I came into the audio world through visually impaired family and friend and I remember audiobooks in the early days, it was like fingernail on chalkboard for me.. I didn’t get it,  and most of that had to do with the equipment rather than the format itself.

I am talking the days of Walkman and chunky earphones, cassettes that I have to threat so delicately or my temperamental cassette player would chew it up and spit it out.

Year later down the line – the entire audio process is as easy as easy can be. The hardest part is finding the time and the book that will hold your interest.


Right from the outset

  1. You don't have to listen to audiobooks – EVER, there is no reader template that we work from that say, Print (check), eBook (check ) audiobook (check) chalk drawings (check). Unless real life as YOU know it demand that you do it or it’s a natural progression to your reading pleasure or you may just fall into it –  but however you come to it DO NOT force yourself.
  2. Audio is not and will not be for everyone – that said, be fair to the format. Don’t rubbish it unless you can concretely say it is not for you and back it up with a reason.
  3. Be clear on the reasons why you want to go the audio route – are you a reader with time issues, is it a format that makes things easier for you, you could just be testing your reading boundaries, as well as you may be a situational listener (car listeners only – but no where else)  etc, etc, etc
  4. Have the same parameters as you would have with any other book format – however bear in mind that audio demand that you add a few more and you need to be aware of this even before you start. Namely narrator, length of book, abridge/unabridged and your own personal attention span and level of patience.
  • You are going to meet “The Narrator” and all the issues that goes with him/her. This is the person who will be taking you on this journey and that person have to work for you or it could go down hill within the first 5mins. other narrator type factor are regional accent, natural speech pattern, multiply narrator etc…
  • Length of book – This is quite self explanatory but also factor into this where and when you will be listening and of course the genre. From personal experience I normally factor in another couple of hours for romance book as I have small ears in and around me….
  • Some people like myself are naturally fast readers and can read a book faster than I listen to it – so realistic options needs to be address here as well, or you may have listen to a first book in a series and find you cannot wait on the audio to carry on the series and may just go print with the second book – but know that there is no hard and fast rule to this thing.
  • Abridge/unabridged  - Know the audio terms before you buy. 

Now that I have given you my four core ground rule here are my suggestions

  1. Start with what you know – listen to a book you have already read – DO this a  few times and see how you get on, with timing, understanding and general enjoyment of the whole process
  2. Go for short stories or novella type books in the initial stage – in whatever genre that appeal to you.
  3. Pace yourself  -this is not a marathon. I mix and match the formats  as I get bored easily with too much audio and at these times i go for the ereader, find what works for you and make it happen.
  4. Use the sample option that is available on most audio retailer site. It give you a chance to experience the narrators voice as well as let you get a feel of the speech pattern, regional accent etc, etc.
  5. Your equipment – a good earphone  makes a hell of alot of difference.
  6. I always hope a readers first audio experience is a good one, if not don’t give up. Give it a while and try again or if you are a back in the saddle quickly sort of person – try another narrator with a quick pacing read.
  7. Your library is your friend and this is a good and inexpensive place to make baby steps into the world of audiobooks.
  8. I am all for small business and the little man – but I highly recommend going with more established retailers in the initial stage of getting into audiobooks. Once you have you gotten your bearings – start exploring.




This post is apart of the Audio book love week hosted by Jen – Devourer of Book

3 Speak To Me:

Mickey on 9 June 2011 at 16:28 said...

Great suggestions!! Duh, I should have totally written some of those in my post. Start with rereads, short stories.. to get the hang of it. Makes sense! I love audio books :o)

Mickey @ imabookshark

Jen (Devourer of Books) on 9 June 2011 at 20:43 said...

Great suggestions!

Just Mom on 10 June 2011 at 01:40 said...

The abridged/unabridged suggestion is most important - I didn't know to check that when I started and I definitely feel "cheated" if a book is abridged.