My Experience With Audible

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Being an avid reader since childhood, I have always been in the company of books. A large part of the successful woman that I am today is because of my habit of reading. Reading has always been an integral part of my life and that would never change. However, the way that I read has gone through a few changes over the years. From buying books off the street with the limited money given to me to walking out of bookstores with books worth thousands, I sure have come a long way. I don't buy pirated books anymore. My bookshelf was overflowing with books and I did not mind it a least bit. When Amazon's Kindle made an appearance, I dismissed it immediately. As someone who finds it really difficult to read stories in the PDF format and on a screen, I thought Kindle would give me the same feel. Plus, what was reading without the smell of the pages, the feel of turning a page or finding a bookmark to use. I did not want to give up on either of it and I was pretty sure that a Kindle would never be a part of my reading journey.

Then, I won a blogging contest and a Kindle was the first prize. When it arrived, it looked fascinating. I set up my account and read a few samples for the look and feel of the experience. Honestly, it wasn't all that bad. The Kindle Paperwhite looks and feels like paper, so it felt good enough to read on it. Once I finished reading a book on it, I was pleasantly surprised. Although it can never match the feeling of holding a book, this wasn't that bad either. Plus, I could store a large number of books on it and it hardly took up any physical space. After reading around 5-6 books on it, I was hooked. It took me a while to get used to it and now I cannot imagine my reading experience without my Kindle. Wherever I go, it always is in my bag. Not the one to read on the Kindle app on my phone, I need the actual device with me. So, wherever I went, I either went with a book or my Kindle. I stopped differentiating between them after a while.

While buying books, the choice to be made was if I needed to buy a paperback or the Kindle edition of it. The Kindle edition always came cheaper, so the choice was easy at most times. Now, there is an additional choice, the audio book. Since it took me a while to enjoy the Kindle experience, an audio book is something that I thought I'd never enjoy. I mean, why would I want to listen to someone else reading out the book to me. It felt immature and weird. However, being the curious cat that I am, I wanted to give it a try knowing fully well that it would not be something that I'd stick to. When Amazon announced Audible's 90 day free trial instead of a 30 day one, I thought it was time to try it.

Before I get into my personal experience on Audible, let me tell you the basics of how Audible works.

~ You need to install the app and login with your Amazon account credentials.
~ You get a 3 month free trial period, after which you need to pay Rs. 199 per month for membership.
~ The day you start your free trial, you get 1 credit to buy a book of your choice, no matter how high or low the price.
~ Every 30 days, you get a free credit. Yes, even during the trial period. So, 3 free months means 3 free credits.
~ Once your trial period ends, you will be charged Rs. 199 every month. You will continue to get a free credit every month to buy a book of your choice. So by paying Rs. 199 a month, you can even buy a book worth Rs. 999 or more using the credit.
~ If you decide to end your membership, the books you have bought earlier will continue to remain in your library and you can still listen to it.

I joined Audible on January 30th 2020 and got my first free credit. There are many books on Audible and it is difficult to choose which one to buy. Since I had absolutely no experience with audio books before, I had no clue what to expect. Audible enables you to listen to the sample of the books, so that you can check if the narration is good or if you are able to understand the accent, before actually purchasing it. I went through many many samples, did my own research and finally picked up 'The Thirteenth Tale'. This book was very highly praised by Shalini and the sample of the narration was so haunting that it mesmerized me. Initially, it was difficult to focus on listening as I'm someone who gets distracted easily. The very reason why meditation doesn't work for me. While listening to an audio book, it is very important that you LISTEN, not hear. Else, you'll lose track of the story. I used to listen to it mostly at work and it was easy for me to get distracted when I was doing an important piece of work. I had to go back and re-listen to the chapter again. But, with time, the focus got better and I could channel my brain into two. One doing the work, and the other listening. It worked wonders for me.

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Soon, I was listening to the audio book while cooking, cleaning, doing the household chores. I'm not the one to sit and listen to an audio book while doing nothing. My paperbacks and Kindle are for that, where I want to channel my mind into reading alone. But for listening, I always need an additional chore. It wasn't always easy, but with time you get used to the voice in your ears. Audible has definitely helped increase my focus and concentration and I look forward to listening to stories day after day. I usually prefer the audio book while doing my chores or when I turn the lights off and hit the bed at night. I listen to it, until I almost fall asleep. It calms me down and has helped my sleep cycle get better now. Maybe it is the tone of the voice, maybe it is the relaxed environment, whatever it is it is working very well for me.

Pros of Audible:

~ A vast collection of books in multiple languages.
~ Can sample the book before buying, just like on the Kindle.
~ Free credit every month.
~ Books remain in your library for multiple listening.
~ Speed adjustment. You can choose the speed of narration and trust me this is one of the most important feature of Audible.

Cons of Audible:

~ If you are someone who gets distracted easily, then this is not for you. But if you persist, with time you'll get used to it.
~ The books are pretty expensive when compared to the paperbacks and Kindle editions. I saw an Audible book priced at Rs. 799 when its paperback was just Rs. 149.
~ You can go back and front as and when you want when you are on the home page of the book. But, when you get into the individual chapter page and end up touching a different chapter by mistake, it takes you back or front without being aware of the last point of listening. So, if you aren't aware of which chapter you were on, then you need to re-listen a lot.
~ There is a bookmark feature of-course, but you need to click on it every time you stop listening. It doesn't do it automatically.
~ Also, since it is a narration, it will take a longer time to finish the book than it does when you read it. It also depends on the speed you choose.

Tips to make the most of Audible:

~ The most important thing when it comes to an audio book is the narrator. So, always sample the books before buying. Make sure the language is clear and you understand the accent well.
~ You can choose the speed of narration from 0.5x to 3.5x. Choose wisely. I started at 1x at first and was missing a few things. 0.9x works the best for me. Also, this changes from book to book and the narrator.
~ This is one of the most important tip when it comes to choosing an audio book. Pick a book with just one or minimal narrators. It is easier to get used to a single voice than multiple ones. The first book that I sampled was 'Daisy Jones And The Six' and that had close to seven narrators and I wasn't sure who was who and was saying what. A single narrator uses voice modulations to narrate the dialogues of various people and it is definitely better than having many people talk.
~ Since the books are quite pricey and you only get one credit a month, you need to plan smart. This is what I do. I use the credits to buy books of a higher price range, Rs. 500 and above. Anything less than that, I use my personal money.
~ If you hear of books that are difficult to read because of the writing style or the language used, listen to them on Audible.

I exhaust my free trial period on the 30th of this month, but I'm going to continue my membership by paying Rs. 199 every month. With a free credit coming in every month, I think it is a steal. So far, I have bought three books with the credits given to me and three other books using my own money and I have loved listening to all of them. Audible gets a big thumbs-up from me and it has only enriched my reading experience. Having said that, it would always be paperbacks > Kindle books > Audio books for me. But, my reading has now become a mix of all three and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My advice for those looking to give audio books a shot would be this. Go for it, but persist. It is not easy, but after a few chapters you get used to it and there will be no looking back after that.

I'm all for Audible, are you?

P.S: This is NOT a sponsored post.

6 comments:

  1. Audiobooks are tricky... It's not only about the book but also the narrator!

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  2. I love audible books - they are some of the best produced ones!

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  3. It is going to be a month since I started listening to audible books. I am waiting for my credit this month to invest it in Becoming. I am still not sure about the membership, but for now I enjoy listening to the books while doing chores. It improves my concentration and makes the chores easier.

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    1. I started my membership this month and I'm not complaining at all!

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