Why I Am Enjoying Audiobooks So Much In This Season of Life and How You Can Listen For Free!

From as young as I can remember, I loved to read and have always read a lot.  When my kids were young, my reading slowed way down. I read for pleasure less because I had little free time and when I did make time for reading it was usually in the self- help category, trying to figure out something about parenting or reading for spiritual growth.

I homeschooled Jordan and Evan from the beginning till they graduated high school.  During those years we read a lot together.  From about middle elementary school through high school I enjoyed some of the books we read as much, or more, than they did.

We discovered audiobooks for the first time when Jordan was probably in 3rd grade or so.  They were on CD and free from the library.  Most anywhere we go is about a 20-30 minute drive and we LOVED listening to good books in the car. We listened mostly to historical fiction and this was a great way to get more books in, in a way that was just fun.  Sometimes, on a longer trip, when Jay was driving I would read aloud a book to everyone.

During this time, I rarely read books on my own for pleasure.  I read plenty of books about Down syndrome, ADD, and books for spiritual growth, but rarely fiction or just for my own pleasure.

We’re in a new season in our home and I’m finding that I have a little more time for things that I am interested in.  Not a ton of time, but breathing room, more time than I’ve had in a long time for myself.  Most days, for the better part of the day, its just me and Jessie.  We are either running the roads to her activities or home together with me catching up on all the homekeeping tasks.

I LOVE listening to audiobooks (or podcasts) while I clean, pre-treat laundry, or work on anything that doesn’t require much of my mind.  I find that it actually helps keep me on task longer because I don’t get distracted as easily by boredom.

Previously, I had started having the tv on while I cleaned and when tired I would sit for a few minutes (the plan, anyway) but found that I would have a hard time getting started back and losing my momentum.  With an audiobook, if I stop for a break or to eat lunch, I usually get right back to work after my break.

In recent years I have had much less energy and found myself struggling to do all the things and keep the pace that I used to consider normal.  I do NOT like this aspect of getting older.  Listening to audiobooks has helped my productivity greatly! Especially for a long, (or boring project) like cleaning out the cabinets, decluttering (a forever ongoing project!) mowing the grass, pulling weeds, etc.  Sometimes, if I’m really into a book, and Jessie always like the radio on in the car, I will put one earphone in and one out so I can still listen and be safe.  Dedication, yall.  To audiobooks and safe driving 🙂

I listen to audiobooks two ways.  One is free and the other is a paid monthly subscription. I do both and will tell you why.

  1. Overdrive App – I use the Overdrive App to listen to library books for free.  I have an iphone and downloaded the app for free.  You put in your library information with your card number.  The good part is: It is completely free! It downloads right to your smart phone, no late fees (!), no trying to fit in a trip to the library, no child begging to go to the children’s section while I’m trying to look!  The less good part is: The most popular or newer books are checked out and you have to put a “hold” on them.  Once you put them on hold, when they become available they are automatically checked out for you. I keep a periodic check on the holds I have placed while waiting for them to become available.   When it is available, I receive an email telling me the book is now checked out to me and then I go download it.  I have waited several weeks for books before.  The other difficulty is sometimes more than one book on hold becomes available at the same time.  The books are checked out for two weeks and then it is automatically returned.  If I finish a book early (I usually do!) I return it right away so others on the waiting list can get it sooner.  It’s not as easy to tell exactly how much listening time you have left with this app as it is with Audible, so if I get close to the return date, that can make me a little anxious.  You can see how many chapters you have left, but it doesn’t tell the amount of listening time left.  It is completely free though, so I can live with all of these things.  I have been listening to a lot of books this way.  I don’t go more than a few days without starting a new book.
  2. I have a monthly subscription with Audible.  There are varying subscription prices with Audible, and the plan I have gives me one credit per month for $14.95.  One credit = 1 book.  I like everything about the way the Audible app works; the only down side I see with Audible is the cost.  There are tons of books.  Books that the library doesn’t have on audio, if its available on audio at all, I think its there.  If for some reason you don’t use your credit that month, the credit is there when you are ready to use it. When I signed up I got one book as a free trial.  Now, they are offering TWO free books as a free trial!  Go here, to get your free trial.
  3. I haven’t tried this option yet, but I’m sure I will soon.  Whispersync allows you to  add audio narration to some Kindle purchases.  You can go to Whispersync home page to learn more about how this works.  It appears that sometimes Kindle + Whispersync would be a  cheaper option than purchasing the book on Audible, but that isn’t always the case.  I plan to investigate this option more in the near future.

So, the way I listen to lots of books without breaking the bank is to listen to many of them for free and 1 book per month on Audible.  There are, of course, always some books that it would be better to read in print.  Books with a lot of pictures, etc.   The Magnolia Story , by Chip and Joanna Gaines, is one that I probably will want to read in print, cause I’m just assuming, there are probably gorgeous photos.

I have some books in print that I haven’t read yet, that I want to read, but for now I’m having more success with audiobooks.  I am always looking for something good to listen to.  If you have book recommendations, I would love to hear them.  Leave me a description or link in the comments. I’ve recently started listening to the podcast What Should I Read Next  and have chosen a couple of books based on what I heard about them there.  If you’re looking for book recommendations, check it out.

Happy listening!

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