Hello, my lovelies. Today, I want to talk to you about audiobooks. It wasn’t love at first listen, but my relationship with this format has evolved since that first tentative listen. I wanted to share my experiences with you because my reading pleasure has definitely been enhanced by being able to listen to the story being narrated.
As I’ve mentioned before, Flora’s Musings started as a general lifestyle blog back in 2014. However, it’s slowly evolved into a book blog. I love analysing and statistics so here are the numbers:
Looking through my review archives, the majority of my reviews are for ebooks. Out of the 619 reviews I’ve published to date, 69% are for ebooks, 27% are audiobooks with printed books coming in at a lowly 4%. What would your format percentages look like?
I’m a latecomer to audiobooks. Due to health issues, I’ve had to reduce screen time in 2021 meaning that I rarely read ebooks these days switching solely to audios as a way to still get my story fix. As I’m stuck with these health issues, I don’t think it’ll be long before audiobook reviews take the lead on the blog. 😉 However, even before my eyes and migraines came to be an issue, my reading pleasure was enhanced by being able to listen to a story being narrated.
But, what sparked my audio habit?
While browsing the blogosphere, I came across fellow book bloggers Eline @ Lovely Audiobooks and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. They posted some great reviews of audiobooks and helpful advice to fellow bloggers. They tempted me! 😉 I signed up for an Audible trial through Amazon in 2017, taking advantage of a buy now get x months free offer. Although it hasn’t been smooth listening, I haven’t looked back since!
To begin with, my experience was a disaster!
I bought One Fell Sweep written by Ilona Andrews and narrated by Renee Rudman. I’d loved the previous two books and was looking forward to listening to this one. However, my mind kept drifting off when I had the story playing doing my household chores, or I kept falling asleep if I listened to it before bed. This meant that it took me forever to listen to the whole thing as I had to keep going back to listen to whole chapters I’d missed again and again and again!
It was a year before I tried again!
Eline once again came to my rescue. Apparently, my experience with audiobooks was not unique. She recommended that I tried audio versions of my favourite reads. I’d know the story so wouldn’t be upset about missing anything. So over the next year, I bought audiobooks for some of my favourite ebooks. Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton and narrated by Eric G Dove was the first one I bought.
Next on my audio journey, I started adding the narrations to the ebooks I bought.
And later the ones I borrowed through Kindle Unlimited. This way I could read along to the narration using Amazon’s Whyspersync function. Yes, sometimes the voice actor read slower than I did, but that’s when I used Audible’s handy speed setting. Eline had been right, these methods helped me to hone my active listening skills. These days it’s audio all the way!
A good voice actor makes listening to an audiobook a great experience.
Listening to an audiobook should transport you into the story. An accomplished voice actor can do this. However, not every narrator works for every listener. If you don’t enjoy a voice or if it doesn’t match your idea of a character, it can be jarring! If a narrator’s ability to vocalise different regional accents is poor, it can detract from the story. Male actors reading female dialogue and vice versa can also be a bone of contention. However, I’m learning what enhances and detracts from my enjoyment and can buy audios accordingly.
Many of my favourite narrators can bring a story and the characters to life in my mind (and ears).
Kirsten Potter, Matt Addis, and Nicole Poole all spring to mind as great narrators. They each have an incredible skill to create the right voice for a story’s characters. With believable accents and appropriate use of tonal variations to convey the changing emotions in a scene. They are performers, voice actors rather than just someone reading a book.
Audio makes for a really active reading experience, where vivid images of the setting and the characters are created in the mind.
The Audiobook Revolution
The number of audiobooks that I’m downloading is increasing year on year. It doesn’t look like I’m alone.
Audiobook Publishing in the UK trends (2016-2021)
Over the five-year period through 2021-22, revenue generated by the Audiobook Publishing industry is forecast to increase at a compound annual rate of 19.6%. Audiobooks have increased as a share of the total book market alongside e-books. (27 Jul 2021)
Despite my bumpy start, I truly believe signing up for a trial is a great way to test the waters as it were. You can cancel easily any time and the audiobooks you download during the trial period are yours to keep – FOREVER!
Recently, Audible launched Audible Plus. A catalogue of thousands of titles members can stream or download to listen offline, no credits needed free. Basically similar to Kindle Unlimited. I’m not sure if authors get paid for ‘listened to’ minutes, similar to Kindle Unlimited, where they’re paid for page reads. That needs further investigation.
I’ll be writing more about my growing love for audiobooks and Audible. Keeps your eyes open!
Stories have the power to transport us anywhere in time or space … it’s magic!
Living in this modern world full of helpful technology is wonderful. We can experience a story by going to the theatre and seeing a play, or watching a film at the cinema, streaming it to your laptop or watching it on TV. What’s more, there are just as many ways to buy or borrow a book, an eBook or an audiobook.
So, what are your favourite ways to experience a story? Do you have any favourite narrators? Drop me a comment below, I love chatting bookish! 😉
Bye for now,