Since June Is Audiobook Month – and you know that’s a BIG deal in my world – I couldn’t let it pass without a little celebration! So for the month of June, Saturday’s Fun Question Posts have been taken over by audiobook related themes. And I’ll be giving away ONE AUDIBLE AUDIOBOOK of your choice at the end of the month (see rafflecopter below to enter). This is open in the US & Canada only (since I don’t think you can get Audible books International).
Anyway, join me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question (about audiobooks) that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…
How do you listen?
There are so many different ways to get audiobooks to listen to and, in my experience, they all come with a slightly different listening experience. For a great list of ways to get audiobooks, check out this list from Hot Listens. Here I want to talk about how I listen and the advantages and disadvantages of the different formats.
This is by fair the main way that I listen to audiobooks. It certainly isn’t the cheapest way – even with a membership you’re paying a decent amount for those audiobooks. So why do I still buy most my audiobooks this way?
1.The convenience! I can buy, download, and listen to my audiobooks all from my phone app. They have an app for iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. And it’s so easy to use, with lots of great features.
2.The features! This may sound like a stupid reason, but I love the things I can do with an audible download that I can’t do with any other audiobook format (that I know of). I can create bookmarks, complete with notes. The chapters are all separately listed for me so I know which one I’m on and how long it is. I always know exactly where I am in relation to the end of a book or chapter. Here’s some screen shots to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I have a Windows Phone so your app might look a little different, but the options should be about the same.
3.WhisperSync This is an awesome feature where you can read a book on your Kindle (or Kindle App) and then pick it up with the audiobook and then pick it up again with the eBook. I only do this with rereads because I hate switching mid-format for the first go around (see more about my format OCD), but it’s a great feature and you can get really great deals on your audiobooks if you buy the Kindle book first. Sometimes I buy the kindle book when it’s on sale for like $0.99 just to get the audiobook deal!
This is probably tied for second as a favorite way to listen to audiobooks. I’ve never bought a playaway and have no idea what they cost, but many of the libraries I use have them and I’ve found that I love them. So to me using a playaway is virtually free, which is a great plus. Here’s some other great things about them.
1. Playaways are super light-weight, self-contained audiobooks. I love using them when I go running because I don’t have to worry about dropping my phone or the weight.
2. Playaways are so easy to use! They have just a few buttons and you can change the speed of the narration. You’re choices are 1/4 speed, 1/2 speed, regular speed, 1x speed, and 2x speed. This is something you can do on audible if you have an iPhone and maybe even an Android, but not a Windows Phone, so it’s a real treat for me. There’s a couple different styles of Playaways that I’ve encountered, but they’re extremely user friendly.
There’s a few things I don’t love about Playaways though. They don’t keep me from using them, but you should be aware if you’re planning on trying them out:
1. You have no idea where you are in the overall book. There’s a counter, but it’s for how far you are in the current chapter, not the book. So want to do a status update on Goodreads? You’re not going to be able to include your percentage. Want to know if you should keep reading because you’ve only got a couple chapters left? Better Google to find out, because this little device isn’t going to tell you!
2. Cheap batteries won’t cut it. The website says that a AAA battery should give you 20 – 30 hours of listening. Well I tried cheap, dollar store batteries and they died after 4-6 hours! And when they start to get low, they just turn you off right in the middle! Not cool! But when I bought name brand batteries that problem went away. So it’s not a free library listen, but pretty close!
3. It’s not bluetooth and has no external speaker. These babies are for earphone use, which is fine 90% of the time for me. But I do like to listen to an audiobook in the shower and I have a bluetooth speaker that I use – but I can’t listen to my playaway (though I’m thinking about getting an adapter…). You also can’t just hit play and listen to it straight from the device, like you would a cell phone. You have to use headphones or some sort of speaker/adapter that plugs into the headphone jack. You can work around these issues, but it’s going to take a little bit of money on your part.
This is tied with PlayAways as my 2nd favorite way to listen to audiobooks. Like playways this is a library thing for me – so when I think OverDrive, I think FREE! And really free – no batteries to buy! OverDrive is also what you use to claim the SYNC Free Audiobooks during the summer, so those are great! So besides being FREE – what do I love about OverDrive?
1.It’s pretty convenient! Like Audible, I can find, download, and listen to these audiobooks all from my phone app. They have apps for iPhone, Android and Windows phone (and maybe more, IDK).
2.Lots of devices.I love that you can have OverDrive on several different devices and the libraries sync – so I have one on my desktop, one on my tablet/eReader, and one on my cell phone.
So what don’t I like about Overdrive? There’s not much I don’t like, but a one big thing worth noting.
1. It’s not quite as easy to use. I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping my place in a book while I’m listening and even getting the books onto my phone in the first place from the library can be really hard. From what I can tell, this is all about your library though, and not necessarily OverDrive itself. Just now I was going to try and take some screen shots by quickly checking out a book, but I couldn’t get it to work. And I use it fairly frequently, so either I just don’t know what I’m doing, the library I use has issues, or it’s not user friendly. Not sure which is the problem though!
I rarely listen to audiobooks on CD, but it is a way to listen. CDs come in different formats – some use multiple CDs becaue they are recorded in .wav format and others use just one because they are .mp3. Personally I’d prefer .mp3 because you can load them onto your portable devices, but if you want a CD that’s probably not how you want to listen anyway. What I do like about CDs:
1. Easy Car Listening. If your car has a CD player, this is probably the easiest way to listen to an audiobook in the car. If, like me, you have a cassette player, you probably also have one of those adapters for your CD player, making it a super easy way to listen in the car, just the same.
2. You can hold a physical copy! If you want something physical that you can use for giveaways or to have the author sign, this is pretty much the only way your going to get it on audiobook.
3. Older audiobooks. Libraries tend to carry a lot of audiobooks in this format (the older ones especially, since I think they’re moving away from them too), so it can be a good way to get free audiobooks.
There’s really just one BIG reason I shy away from listening on CDs, though:
1. They just aren’t as portable. I don’t even have a portable CD player anymore (besides the one for the car)! One of the main times that I listen are when I’m going for walks/runs – and that means this is a big time that CDs just won’t work for me.
So if it’s not painfully clear from this post, I kinda LOVE audiobooks and I’m using the month of June to celebrate them with y’all by offering 1 Audible Audiobook to you!
How do you like to listen? Did you learn something new today?