Guest Post: The Beginner’s Guide to Audiobooks by Melanie Simmons

Posted March 10, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 32 Comments

There are some topics I can’t talk about as I simply know little about the content, audiobooks are one of them. So one day I got the idea to ask Melanie if she could write about audiobooks as I thought it would be interested to learn more about the topic and also share it with my followers. I haven’t listened to audiobooks so far and am not sure if I will like them, but I am determined to at least give them a try. First let me give a big thanks you for Melanie for stopping by on my blog today and writing this helpfull guest post about audiobooks. I hope you find it as helpfull as I did.

The Beginner’s Guide to Audiobooks

Guest post by Melanie Simmons

First, I would like to thank Lola for having me and letting me share my love of audiobooks with you. I’m a huge audiobook junkie. Last year, I listened to 97 audiobooks. I love them because I listen while I drive, do housework, do other chores, tedious projects at the office, while getting in some exercise and many, many other ways. I get bored really easy and audiobooks really help me keep my sanity when I have tasks that would otherwise bore me. It has also really helped me with bad traffic. Let’s just say, I’m less likely to have road rage now. LOL

Now, I wasn’t always an audiobook fan. There are a few things to consider when trying out your first audiobook:

  • I highly recommend getting a book you’ve already read and know the story. This will help if you miss something in the audio, you still know what is going on and won’t miss anything. This is usually the number one complaint of first-time listeners.
  • Make sure the narrator is good. Hopefully, if you read the reviews of the audiobook, the reviewer has also reviewed the narrator as well. Some sites, like Audible, have specific ratings for narration. You can also ask someone who is already an audiobook junkie if they have some narrators to recommend. Most bloggers who review audiobooks are also really good about giving comments about how much they like the narrator in their reviews. There are some that don’t, but most do.
  • Make sure you aren’t doing tasks that would require too much concentration. While one of the best things about listening to audiobooks is the ability to multitask, be careful when you’re starting off. For example, I wouldn’t listen if you’re traveling in unknown areas with high or chaotic traffic that could be distracting. A route that you know or long road trips on the highway are great. Yardwork is another great time to listen. Housework can vary depending on how much your family distracts while you’re working.
  • Abridged versus Unabridged: Abridged audiobooks are exactly what they say they are, shortened versions of the original. Personally, I’m not a fan of abridged audiobooks. I’ve only listened to one and it was a book that I had read before listening. It was not available as unabridged, so I had no choice. There are parts that were missing that I remembered from the book. I don’t know how I would like it if it were a new-to-me story.
  • Autobiographies narrated by the author are a good time. I’ve listened to a few of these include Carrie Fisher, Betty White, Kevin Smith and As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (which is a must read or listen for any fan of the movie). I felt like I was being told the author/narrator’s life story as if they were right there with me just talking to me.

There are studies that say you don’t retain as much when listening to audiobooks as much as reading. I think it is a learned skill, which is why I make the recommendation to start with books you already know. When I first started, I had a harder time recalling the stories. After some time, I learned when I could listen and when I needed to pause the story for a bit to finish up my task. Apps with bookmarks help too. I’ve also been known to use the voice memo feature on my phone. Read more about “Your Brain On Audio Books”

You can also learn more about where to buy audiobooks, and there is always the library. Also, don’t forget to checkout more the type of apps you can use to listen to your audiobooks.

Lastly, to help you get started, here are some of my favorite series on audio and my favorite narrators of 2015. The series list is a little old, but still holds true today. There is a lot of UF and PNR on this list. If you’re looking for something else, let me know, If I can’t give you some ideas, I can maybe point you to someone in the audiobook world who is more well versed in that genre than I am.

Melanie SimmonsAbout Melanie
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I review for Hot Listens and Rabid Reads. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.

You can find melanie here:
Reviewer at Hot Listens
Reviewer at Rabid Reads

Do you listen to Audiobooks and why or why not? If you listen to audiobook, when do you mostly listen to them and do you have any more tips for audiobook newbies?

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32 responses to “Guest Post: The Beginner’s Guide to Audiobooks by Melanie Simmons

  1. Ani

    This is a wonderful guide! In fact, as I was reading this post, I was thinking to myself, “Hey, that’s what I’ve been doing too!” Because I really DO agree that it’s much easier to listen to books you’ve already read and know the story if you’re new to audiobooks.

    And then I ventured into listening to one autobiography so far, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, which was all sorts of awesome! Since then, I’ve been putting other autobiographies on my audiobook TBR.

    Thank you for sharing this!
    Ani recently posted…text: Cover Crush: SWAT series by Paige TylerMy Profile

    • I plan on doing that as well when I finally give audiobooks a try. It sounds like a good way to get started on audiobooks. So this guide was really helpful for me as well πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for writing this awesome guest post! It’s was great to learn a bit more about audiobooks, one of these days I have to give an audiobook a try.

  2. I TOTALLY agree about making sure to read audiobooks when doing tedious tasks that don’t require too much brain function. I love audiobooks for when I’m cleaning, organizing, walking the dogs, etc. but I can’t listen to them while I’m doing homework or working on school because I will miss EVERYTHING. These are great tips, Melanie! And I pray for the day when my computer stops showing audiobook as incorrectly spelled lmao!
    Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger recently posted…Evernight by Claudia GrayMy Profile

    • It’s good to know which type of tasks to avoid while listening to audiobooks and which task work well with listening to them. I thought Melanie’s tips were great and I’ll keep them in mind for when I finally give audiobooks a try!

  3. Love this guest post and I always enjoy checking out Melanie’s audiobook reviews. For me, it’s the narrator that makes or breaks and audiobook, which is why I try to sample the audiobooks before I purchase or accept them for review. I also make sure the audiobook is unabridged.

    I love listening to audiobooks when I’m making jewelry, or doing housework. Also, if I want to unwind, I’ll put on an audiobook and pick up a coloring book.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…Necessary Risk by Tara WyattMy Profile

    • Thanks Angela, I appreciate that. I agree with you. I actually quit an audiobook this year from a favorite author because I disliked the narrators so much. I actually picked up the physical book from the library today. I’m going to finish reading it. I just so couldn’t handle those two reading to me any more. Most of the time, I can push through and then just avoid that narrator going forward, but not this time. I also agree, I’ve only ever listened to one abridged book, only because no unabridged copy was available. I hated it. Never again. I’ll just read if that’s my only option.
      Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Marked in Flesh Audiobook by Anne Bishop (REVIEW)My Profile

    • I’ve read quite some audiobook reviews already, but not yet listened to an actual audiobook myself. I always enjoy Melanie her audiobook reviews and how she ‘reviews’ the narrator as well. I didn’t realize you could sample audiobooks, that’s handy!

      Oh colouring does sound like a good activity to combine with listening to an audiobooks. I might have to give that a try!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Melanie! I am quite a newbie still when it comes to audiobooks, and I have mostly listened to books I’ve already read – it’s a great way for me to do a re-read πŸ™‚ As I get better at listening, though, I have also listened to some new-to-me books in a series I already enjoy, and that has worked well, too.
    It’s always good to have an expert give some good advice πŸ™‚
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: Someone Else’s Love Letter – Deborah BlumenthalMy Profile

    • It does sound like a fun way to do a re-read by listening to the audiobook, I am planning to start with an audiobook of a book I already. Just not sure which book. I am an audiobook newbie so Melanie her tips were great πŸ™‚

  5. What a great post you have here Melanie!! I just adore Audiobooks, and this is great advice for those just getting started. Like you I love listening for many things. Mostly when I am at work (there is about three hours I am alone, so its great to listen to books in narration) and then especially when I work out. I have occasionally listened to audiobooks that I have read before, but only books that I LOVE and want to try it in narration. The library is brilliant for audiobooks, but I also have really loved whispersync, a great way to save money on audiobooks!! I am definitely going to check your list of fav narrators and see which ones we have in common…and which ones I need to check out. Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. I have way too much trouble staying focused on audiobooks. But everyone always mentions using them while driving, and I hate that I never thought of that in the past! For three years I spent at least 5 hours a week in total driving. I could’ve been listening to audiobooks that whole time! Maybe I would’ve been able to focus in that case since I was always driving the same routes and didn’t have a bunch of other distractions.

    I had no idea there were abridged versions though. That seems weird to cut out parts of the book. I would hate that. I mean, every scene is important! (Or at least it should be!)
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Rises the Night (The Gardella Vampire Hunters Book 2) by Colleen GleasonMy Profile

    • I think I might have trouble with that as well, I think we talked about this on your blog once. I seem to absorb things better by reading than listening. But I still want to give audiobooks a try once. I don’t drive, but I think audiobooks would be great for long commutes. You can’t read while driving, but you can listen. I am sure the time goes by much quicker that way.

      I agree the concept of abridged versions is so weird. I don’t get why they would do that. I didn’t knew the difference until Melanie explained it, but I had seem the term unabridged and abridged around.

  7. I live for audiobooks now. LIVE FOR THEM. I first got into them by listening to the Harry Potter books while I was pregnant. I was so sick all the time, I couldn’t concentrate on a book, so I would lay around and listen to them instead. I started up an Audible subscription by getting THE MARTIAN and I’ve been hooked ever since. Sure I have not listened to a few books that I couldn’t stand the narrator or couldn’t get into the story, but overall, it’s been a great experience. I listen to audiobooks while exercising, cooking, cleaning, and in the car. They’re a great way to get extra book “reading” in.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Teaser Tuesday: Contradictory NatureMy Profile

    • Audiobooks do sound nice for when you’re sick. Sometimes I have such a bad headache that listening sounds more appealing than reading, maybe I’ll have to try out a audiobook once I have a headache.
      Are the Harry Potter books good as audio? I do want to give audiobooks a try even though I am not sure if they are for me, but I figured I can at least try them. Melanie does gives some good tips here, like starting with a book you already know. I plan to try that, just not sure which book i want to try first.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Kaiserschmarrn RecipeMy Profile

  8. I guess I did it right when I first started as the first several I listened to were for books I read. Actually, many of the audios I’ve listened to are ‘re-reads’. They are a small percentage of my review books, but I was glad when Audible and Riptide as well as individual authors started requesting b/c now I have audios to keep me entertained during certain chores.

    Very nice guide, Melanie! Thanks!

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