Not sure about audiobooks? Don’t think you’ll enjoy them? Try these tips for a gentle introduction:
Step one: Visit your local library’s website
Download an audiobook from your public library’s digital collection. All you need is a smartphone and a library card. Earbuds are recommended but optional! The library system’s website should tell you which service they use, such as Libby or RBDigital.
Step two: Check out the audio version of a book you’ve already read and enjoyed
Think of it as A/B testing. You know you like the author’s writing style and that the story kept you interested. What’s new is how the story is being delivered to you.
Step three: Be patient
It might be awkward and uncomfortable at first. Listening to a book can feel too passive, or you find that you don’t retain information as well as if you read the story. If you’re a fast reader, you might think it takes forever for the narrator to get to the end of the chapter.
Step four: Get active
Once you get through a couple of chapters, see if you can listen and comprehend while doing other things. At first, your attention might drift and you tune out when you’re working with your hands, exercising or commuting. Don’t let that discourage you! It will take time to develop the skill of listening to audiobooks while focusing on other activities.
Step five: Keep testing
Let’s say you finished listening to your first audiobook and you’re not sure it’s for you. Download another book from the library that you’ve read and enjoy, but change things up a little. Try a book from another favorite author. Her writing style might be better suited for oral storytelling. Perhaps you would respond better with an audiobook that was performed by a different narrator. Or, it could be that you need to start with shorter books.
Allow yourself some time to explore audiobooks before you give up. Remember, it took practice before you could read effortlessly at your current speed. Despite your best effort, it’s possible that listening to stories is not your ideal form of entertainment. An audio version doesn’t have to be your first choice, but it’s a good alternative when reading isn’t an option.