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If you’ve been trying to figure out how to listen to audiobooks effectively or how to get into audiobooks, this beginner’s guide to audiobooks is for you.
Learning how to focus on audiobooks will transform your reading life, especially if you get hooked on some of the best audiobooks of all time.
7 Tips to Start Listening to Audiobooks
#1. Listen to a book you’ve already read and loved.
In the beginning, take the pressure off about retaining every detail as you listen to an audiobook. Your comprehension and focus while grow and develop the more you practice, like a muscle.
When you start listening to audiobooks, listen to a book you’ve physically read and would like to reread.
#2. Listen to a book with a full cast and high-quality production.
If you’re going to listen to fiction, consider listening to a full cast production, especially if the book has several characters, rich world building, or dual perspectives. Usually, the higher the quality, the more immersive the book will be.
When you’re just starting to listen to audiobooks and you want to make audiobook listening a habit, you want to pick books that feel more like a cinematic experience.
#3. Find the speed that works for you.
When you first start out, you may have trouble listening to audiobooks. It may feel unnatural to listen to a speed higher than 1x or 1.25x. But as you progress in your audiobook, play around with the speed.
It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes listening to a book on 1.5x or 1.75x speed actually helps grab my attention.
When the narration is slow, my mind is prone to wander. I typically start a book around 1.25x and slowly move up to 2x speed.
If you’d like to increase the speed of your audiobook to fit in more books but you just can’t enjoy listening at a faster speed, don’t worry.
You can train yourself to enjoy a faster pace—it may just take time. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your audiobook, not rush through it!
#4. Sample the narrator.
I always say the narrator can make or break a book. If you’ve ever wondered how to get into audiobook narration but have trouble focusing, sample the narrator first.
Don’t waste time on an audiobook with a narrator you don’t like—I promise it will just annoy you as you continue! Sample the narrator before you purchase or download an audiobook.
The right narrator just might make you fall in love with audiobooks. Along these lines, if you find a narrator you love, research what other books they’ve read. You may end up finding your next read that way!
#5. Invest in bluetooth headphones.
When I first got my bluetooth Sudio earbuds, they were a complete game changer. I could move about the house, clean and tidy, go on walks, rock my babies, and even shower while listening to an audiobook!
If you want to listen to audiobooks but you prefer a quiet house, this is the way to go. It’s 100 percent worth it to invest in comfortable bluetooth earbuds.
#6. Start an audiobook when you have a chunk of time.
If you’ve historically been someone who would like to get into audiobooks but just can’t seem to focus on them, my best advice is to start the book when you have a chunk of time to really focus.
Don’t start the first 10 percent of your audiobook multitasking—unless it’s a really mindless task. Focus for the first 10 percent, even if you need to go back and listen again.
Once you’re familiar with the pacing, the narration, and the story setup, you’ll most likely have more of an interest in the book, and you’ll be able to focus much easier for the rest of your listening experience.
#7. Integrate audiobook listening into your daily routine (hobbies and tasks).
When people tell me they’d like to read but they just don’t have time, my first advice is audiobooks. The benefit of audiobooks is that you can add them to your life without cutting out anything!
Consider how you can make audiobook listening a part of your daily routine. Maybe you commit to listening to a book while you get ready in the morning or while you clean the dishes.
Set a timer and listen while you fold laundry, or commit to listen during your thirty-minute commute, slowly chipping away at the audiobook throughout your day.
RELATED: 8 Tips on How to Read More as a Mom
You can also integrate audiobook listening into your self-care. Listen to a book while you work on a puzzle, paint your nails, or knit.
You can even listen while you physically read the book, which is my favorite, most immersive way to listen to audiobooks—especially if you really love physically holding a book.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Listen to Audiobooks
How do I listen to audiobooks for free?
If you’ve wondered how to listen to audiobooks (free), I have a few suggestions for you.
My favorite way to listen to audiobooks for free is through the Libby app, where you can download free ebooks and audiobooks from your library. You just need a library card! Libby is the newer library reading app by OverDrive.
How to listen to audiobooks on Spotify? You can listen to free ones in the public domain, if you already have a subscription. LibriVox is also a way to listen to free public domain audiobooks, read by a variety of volunteers.
The free NetGalley Shelf app will show you how to listen to NetGalley audiobooks. You can stream the books immediately from the app.
How do you actually listen to audiobooks?
Have you wondered how to listen to audiobooks from library? I regularly listen to audiobooks through my library via the Libby app.
I also listen to audiobooks through Libro.fm, a monthly subscription–based company that shares profits from your audiobook purchases with your chosen bookstore, giving readers the power to support local bookstores!
What to become a Libro.fm member?
If you use the code MOLLIEREADS, you get two audiobooks for the price of one when you start a new membership!
What equipment do I need to listen to audiobooks?
You really only need any device (smartphone, computer, tablet) with an internet connection to listen to an audiobook.
If you want more freedom to listen on the go, headphones are a wonderful addition to the audiobook listening experience.
Can I listen to an Audible book without a subscription?
You can listen to an Audible book without paying a subscription. Without a subscription, you won’t be able to listen to unlimited audiobooks or use credits to purchase audiobooks, and you’ll have to pay full retail price for the audiobook.
Listen to the Best Audiobooks of All Time
If you’re interested in learning how to start listening to audiobooks and make it a habit, make sure you have a list of the best audiobooks of all time, and add to that list as you discover narrators you enjoy.
Having other audiobooks in the queue will motivate you to keep going! Knowing how to listen to audiobooks effectively takes practice and a personalized approach based on the type of books you read, the voices you like to listen to, and the speed that works for you.