5 Tips For The Audiobook Newbie

I feel like if you’ve read my blog for at least a couple of weeks and/or months, you probably have heard me talk about audiobooks and more importantly: how much I love them. Which, is a lot. I love them so much, I actually wrote an entire blog post trying to convince you guys to give them a try too. That’s real love, I’m telling you.

But what if you’re still a bit insecure about how to go about finding the right audiobook and what you should keep in mind when trying to decide on which one to get? That’s what we’re here to talk about today!

Caro actually asked for tips as part of the questions she sent me for my little Q&A and I figured it would make for a great standalone post rather than just a question I answer quickly, so thank you for the inspiration, Caro! I appreciate it a TON.ย 

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Take Advantage Of Free Trials

If you’ve wanted to give audiobooks a try but didn’t want to spend money on something you might not end up liking, I highly suggest taking advantage of tree trials! A good number of services have them these days and they’re a great way to try something without having to invest money into it straight away. Audible offers a free trial with a book of your choice, Scribd has a month-long free trial and you get to listen to multiple audiobooks (plus, they also have ebooks) and for any of fellow German readers, BookBeat offers a two-week trial where you can listen to multiple books too.

Something I really like about Audible is the fact that you can return an audiobook if you end up not enjoying it and you won’t lose that credit. You’ll get it back and can choose a different book instead! I definitely made use of that offer a couple of times when I realized that a book just wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped.

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Listen To Samplers

Whenever I would go about picking a new audiobook to listen to, I would often check the sampler to see if I liked the narrator and the way they told the story. Samplers are a fantastic way to get a feel for the audiobook itself and the atmosphere that is being set. The sampler for The Wicked Deep was what actually pushed me to pick up the book and read a couple of months ago. I had heard some praise for the book but couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to read it or not, that sampler was the deciding factor!

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Pick A Narrator You Can Listen To For Hours On End

Sometimes audiobooks can be pretty long (like 18+ hours) and in those cases, especially, it’s important that you actually enjoy listening to the person reading you the story. You don’t want to have a bad narrator negatively impact the way you feel about a book you might otherwise love. However, sometimes there are books out there that you just have to read yourself because the audiobook just doesn’t work, and that’s fine too!

I’m 100% someone who makes sure they enjoy the way someone talks and that I enjoy listening to their voice before I commit myself to them – be it for an audiobook or even a channel on YouTube. I figured it might be helpful to recommend some narrators I’ve come to really enjoy over the years so you guys have a starting point of sorts, so here are some of my favorites.

  • Fiona Hardingham (Ember Quartett, The Conqueror’s Saga)
  • Will Patton (The Raven Cycle)
  • Lauren Fortgang (Grishaverse)
  • Steve West (Ember Quartett, Strange The Dreamer)
  • Nancy Wu (Warcross Duology, Flame In The Mist Duology)

I’m sure there are more fantastic narrators out there but whenever I see any of these names attached to an audiobook I’m interested in, I don’t even have to listen to the sampler, I’ll just get it right away because I know I enjoy their style!

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Speed Up Your Audiobook

The very first audiobook I ever got was Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe and was read by Lin Manuel Miranda (the reason I got this audiobook, basically) and even though I really enjoyed Lin Manuel as a narrator, I often found myself bored with the story. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I realized all I had to do was speed up the audiobook and suddenly I was much more engaged with the story and ended up finishing it too (I’d been close to DNFing it before, not gonna lie).

Most services will give you the option to speed up your audiobook and if you find yourself struggling with the story, try speeding it up before giving up entirely. Obviously, don’t do it to a degree where you can’t keep up anymore but try around and see how fast you can go – you might even be able to go faster a bit down the road. I’ve gone from like 1.5x to at least 2x the speed for most of my audiobooks without losing any of the reading experience.

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Listen To A Favorite

This feels like a bit of a universal tip for various areas of your life, but it’s true! I remember often hearing people suggesting to watch shows or movies you already know in the language you want to learn because you already know the story so you’re not struggling to keep up with what’s happening in a brand new story. You can take the time to take in what’s new about this experience: the different language.

So, for any audiobook beginners who want to see if audiobooks are for them – try looking up your favorite book on any streaming service and consume it that way. Personally, this has also become a favorite way to reread books for me. It makes the story I’m reading fresh in my mind and keeps me engaged throughout.

Grab Your Coffee And Let's Talk!

How about you guys? Are you audiobook lovers like me? Have you never tried them before? Or have you been thinking of trying them but need a little push? I can work with either and if need be, I can annoy you – ahem, I mean convince you, to give them a try, at least!

For my fellow audiobook lovers, do you guys have some more tips to offer for audiobook newbies? Anything I forgot to mention above? I’d love your input in the comments below! And also! What are some of you guys’ favorite narrators? Please leave them down below too! ๐Ÿ˜€

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38 thoughts on “5 Tips For The Audiobook Newbie

  1. This is SUCH a great and very useful post, thank you so much for taking the time to write this down โค I have never tried an audiobook before, even if lately I have been tempted to, I am a bit nervous about the whole experience haha. I'll remember your tips for sure and I will have to check out Audible at some point to see if that would fit me! Thank you so much for this! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never tried audiobooks before really (although I’ve listened to some of the Harry Potter audiobooks in the background of doing other things in the past) but I really want to give them a proper go. I think they’re a great idea! This is a great post, with some great tips!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great post! I love audiobooks. I borrow them from my library and I have an Audible subscription. Audiobooks changed my reading life drastically because I can listen to them at work, during my commute, or when Iโ€™m doing mundane tasks. I think newbies should try play a game on their phone like candy crush or something that doesnโ€™t require mental energy. It helped me get to the point where I can listen to an audiobook and do house chores.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ooh this post is a blessing. i looove podcasts (and reading, obviously) so i’ve been meaning to get into audiobooks??? but it’s just never happened?? but now i have tips in hand

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The first book I listened to on audiobook I left it on the normal speed, but I was also following along in the physical book and I quickly realized I was reading the book way faster than I was listening to it. Now I listen to audiobooks on 1.8.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve found that on speeds that would have been to fast for me about a year ago, is usually what I listen to them now on. I think that the more I listen to them, the easier it is to listen to them on a faster speed.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a brilliant post Swetlana. Iโ€™ve been meaning to try audiobooks for a while now but I keep putting it off because Iโ€™m never sure where to start/which narrators would be good for me to listen to. I canโ€™t believe I never thought of listening to samples before (seems obvious but that completely slipped my mind) and Iโ€™ll definitely be checking out the narrators you mentioned. Some of the books theyโ€™ve read are favourites of mine, so maybe Iโ€™ll start with an old favourites and hopefully it will give me a better chance of enjoying the whole experience.
    Again great post. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love audiobooks. While they’re not my primary favorite (Hardcovers/Paperbacks still nab that spot), I enjoy reading from a different experience. However, how do people listen to them on speeds faster than 1.5 (my speed limit)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your speed limit, as in the app won’t allow you to go faster or that’s as fast you like to listen?

      For me, whenever I’d listen to an audiobook and read along in my physical copy I would skip ahead because the reading was too slow for me. I just try around until I find the perfect speed for me, it usually depends on the narrator and story too. Sometimes I can even go over 2x the speed. xD

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great tips, and super useful for even people who have been listening to audiobooks for a while! I still consider myself a newbie though, cause for the first couple of books I read I didn’t even dare to speed up the speed because I was afraid I won’t be able to keep up with it. On a more boring story though I have learned to increase the speed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love audiobooks! I just started to listen to them recently, and let me tell you, they make doing chores around the house so much easier! However, like you mentioned, if the narrator is not working for you, it can kind of influence your experience with a book. Thanks for a great post! I enjoyed reading it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Awesome post! I love audiobooks! I recently subscribed to Scribd and so far I’ve listened to six or seven books. I also ended up listening to some of Cassandra Clare’s novellas so those were quite short haha. These tips are great. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love both this post and audiobooks! I listen to mine on 1.5 to 2 times the speed depending on the story, the language and narrator. Now, most of the time, it’s x2 but when i find myself struggling to keep up I get it down to x1.5. Anything less than that and i find myself zoning out from the story and getting bored no matter how fast paced it is!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m very proud to have inspired this post, especially as I could really use those tips for my Newbie self ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•

    I’m a big fan of free trials & so glad that I gave Scribd a try (even with their restricting), as I at least got to listen to two audiobooks ๐Ÿ™‚ And thanks for mentioning BookBeat, I had no idea this existed ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Generally I loved all the tips you shared & love that you also included a list of narrators that you personally enjoyed ๐Ÿ’—

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I adore audiobooks too! These are all great timps, though I mostly get my books from the library for free. Speeding up books totally changed audiobooks for me, and made them something I adore, though some people I know give me a bit of flack for doing it haha. I think my favourite narrator is Julia Whelan, but there are so many out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had access to a great library, to be honest! I live in a rather small town and our local library isn’t that great if I’m being honest so I get mine either through Audible or Scribd! Don’t let people give you flack for speeding up your audiobooks! I find that when I listen to them on the original speed I’m THIS CLOSE to falling asleep. xD


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