I love reading but I never have time to pick up my book. I say that so many times, it is frustrating. I always have a big pile of books waiting to be read, friends often pass books to me and I do get round to them eventually but in the meantime, the pile keeps growing.
Real books are far better. I have heard myself saying that to people over the years. I am the only person in this family who doesn’t have an e-reader. I bought one for the kids and they have been the secret to keeping them reading, even my husband has one and he will be the first one to admit that he is not a big reader at all.
I like the idea of having a book in my hands. There is something about turning the pages, getting the end that I love. I also like to go back through a book when I have finished and relive favourite moments.
Of course, I have heard of Audible before but in my mindset of wanting real books, I can honestly say that it is something that I have never considered. Listening to books? Why would I want to do that?
In reality, though, I want to read books, I want to keep up with the books I missed, recommended books and the latest books, but I am not managing to do that, so maybe it was time to consider something new.
So, when Mumsnet asked for bloggers to review Audible, I thought why not? I was genuinely interested to see how I found it.
Audible has a library of over 200,000 books from a wide range of genres and you can set up a monthly or 12 monthly subscription which gives you credits to exchange for books. In addition to credits, there are discounts on additional books and they offer monthly and daily deals. Audible is an Amazon company, so you need to set up an Amazon account to join, I already have one, so it took seconds to sign up. When you first join, you choose your membership plan and start downloading. In order to listen to the books, you can download the Audible app (which is free) and listen through your phone, iPad, Kindle fire, computer, iPods and more.
When you first sign up to Audible, you are entitled to a free trial and you get your first book for free. Downloading is easy and you are ready to start listening. I already had a couple of books in mind to read and top of my list was The Break by Marian Keyes. Before long, I had the chance to start listening and I’m going to be honest, I was hooked. It is strange to begin with, but I love it. I started listening in the car on a longish journeys and then while I was waiting for appointments.
At home, I listened while I was eating lunch and even when I was working. Listening to the book adds more character as both books I have now read were narrated in an engaging and enjoyable way which really helps add to the story. In exactly the same way as reading a book and not wanting to put it down, I didn’t want to stop listening and in a few days, The Break was finished. And I had the exact same feeling that I get at the end of reading a good book, a sadness that it was over but a satisfaction that I had finished.
Quickly, I lined up book number two which is a very different book called Then She Was Gone by one of my favourite authors Lisa Jewell. I am halfway through this book already and can’t wait to see how this thrilling book ends.
Audible also has a few nice additional features. The app is very easy to use and includes information about the amount of time you read each day, awards badges and has a sleep timer which is so useful as it then switches off automatically which is great if you are listening at bedtime. Whispersync for Voice is a really nice feature. If you download compatible books to your Kindle (that have the audible Whispersync feature) and have Audible, the books can be read and listened to and you can switch seamlessly between the two.
You will also be given recommendations of books based not only on your past Audible purchases but also on books you have bought from Amazon in the past. David Walliams books came up on my recommended lists as I have bought them all in the past and that also made me think that Audible could also be useful to keep the children occupied too as I could play stories for them in the car on long journeys too.
In terms of pricing, if you go for the monthly subscription, it does seem quite expensive as it is £7.99 for one book and £14.99 for two per month. However, one credit buys one single volume book whatever the original price. So to give you an idea, The Break is brand new and costs range from £9.99 and above, plus you have the ease of being able to download and start listening to it immediately. You can cancel the monthly subscription at any time online, it is really easy to do and there is no commitment.
If you choose an annual membership, there are two options; £69.99 for 12 credits for the year or £109.99 for 24 credits over the year. The second option is the best value and works out at just over £4.50 per book. I am going to suggest this to my husband for Christmas as I would love to have a year subscription now that I am an Audible convert.
And I am converted. I was quite cynical going into this review. I wasn’t convinced I would like listening to books but I really did. It has enabled me to read a whole book in the time that it would have probably taken me to read one chapter if I was reading the actual book. Any spare minutes that I have or that time when I am in the car is now the time when I listen to a book, it’s brilliant. It is also perfect to use at bedtime when you want to wind down before going to sleep. It just makes reading a lot easier and helps me to make time to read.
I also love the fact that you can access such a wide variety of books and that your book is ready to listen to within minutes of buying it. I would love to carry on with the subscription as I have a long list of books (in addition to the ones on my bedside table) and I am going to go and nag my husband now and persuade him that it is the perfect gift as it is a gift that will keep on giving him lots of peace and quiet.
Find out more about Audible and take the free trial to see for yourself.
This post was a collaboration with Audible and Mumsnet. All opinions are my own.