BOEKBABBELS 04/04/2019

How to: audiobooks.

Reading while doing laundry, walking to the bus or on public transport? Audiobooks are a brilliant invention to never let any reader have a dull moment.


I’m not going to start this post by claiming I’m a full audiobook expert. Until a few months ago, I didn’t quite get the fuzz about them. I had tried a couple of times to listen to some books but never could keep my attention to finish them. I only ever once managed to listen to the audio of The Count of Monte Cristo, an hour or two out of the 1400 page book to lure me back into the story. But otherwise, I didn’t think audiobooks were for me.

So I’m not here to give you my complete backlist of hours of listening to audiobooks, because I’m very much a beginner too. But today’s post is for the people who want to love audio books; who have tried before but still find the charm hard to resist! Here are some tips and tricks for you.

Find a book genre that works on audio for you.

Or just listen to the audio of a book you’ve loved reading before!

I started my audiobook journey this time around listening to Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter and what’s better to listen to these books read to you by Stephen Fry? The expression ‘like a warm bath’ has never been more accurate! I was sick when I got my new subscription to Storytel (more on this app can be found here) and was unable to read books in the physical form. So I turned on the first Harry Potter and it made being sick just a little more enjoyable. It was an easy listen and I couldn’t help but want to listen to this audiobook whenever I could.

Since then I’ve tried different genres of audiobooks and some work better for me than others. I’ve tried Dutch fiction, English fiction, a children’s book, and non-fiction.


I really like listening to non-fiction on audio, having a denser subject read to you makes it easier for me to digress it. I’ve listened to a great non-fiction book recently about the subject of not-mothers (Dutch review over here!) and the audiobook made the experience so much more enjoyable.

My English fiction read was a bit more difficult than the Dutch fiction book for me. That’s both a first-language thing (Dutch is easier for me to follow than English at times) and the difference in writing-style for the authors.

At the time of writing this book I’ve listened to 8 audiobooks, some I’ve finished and some I’ve quit. Some because I didn’t like the books and for some, I just didn’t care for the book. But this is still a learning process for me as well!

Enhance the speed of the audio.

It sounds a bit silly. I can’t keep track of the audiobook because I keep getting distracted so I should turn up the speed? Well, guess what, this really works haha.

What I’ve found that listening to audiobooks on the normal speed does cause a distraction. When someone is reading to you, it’s slower than the regular talking speed. Which as a result can cause your brain to drift off to other places.

But just putting the speed up a bit kicks up the speed to conversational. Where it feels like you’re listening to someone talk to you directly. Which makes it a lot easier for your brain to keep up with it.


Don’t be bothered if you miss a sentence or two.

This was my main issue why I couldn’t get into audiobooks, I was afraid to keep missing sentences when I got distracted. But let’s be honest with ourselves, we’ve probably all skim-read a sentence in a book at some point. And that really didn’t ruin the book experience for us either, right?

A book is made up out of a lot of pages and a lot of sentences. I doubt you’ll miss the whole point of the book by dozing off for a second or two. And else there’s always the option to rewind 15 seconds. Just don’t worry about it!

Find the time to listen to audiobooks, there’s really a lot of it!

Where do I find the time to listen to audiobooks? Simple, anytime I have some minutes to spare and I can’t pull out a physical book.

So when I’m painting my nails, putting on make-up, walking to the bus stop, cooking, reorganizing my shelves, working on a coloring book… Do I need to continue? If you really look for those dull moments when you would usually be listening to music otherwise or just silence. You have found the perfect opportunity to put on an audiobook and escape to a fictional world for a while, even if only for a few minutes.

In short

Just give audiobooks another go, find that time, because audiobooks are such a wonderful addition to any reader’s life. Listen to an old favorite or that one non-fiction read you’d been meaning to get around to. There’s a lot of apps and wonderful subscriptions out there these days to get access to a wide array of audiobooks!

Also, lastly. I don’t want to add a discussion onto this post. But if you don’t consider audiobooks to be “real reading”. Please check your ableism and sit down. 😉


The audiobook app I use – Storytel

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  • Reply Laila 06/04/2019 at 09:59

    This is great advice! I started with just listening to books I’ve already read, too. I’m starting to branch out more and really enjoying it! I’ll try the enhancing the speed trick.

    • Reply Marcella de Wolf 08/04/2019 at 08:40

      Thanks for leaving a comment! I never expected to love audiobooks as much as I am, but they are a great addition to your reading life right? The enhancing speed really works for me, hope it does the same for you! ?

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