I love reading to my boys and am always a little hesitant to give up that role to audiobooks. It’s always worth it though. The stories are loved, and we get to listen to more books! Mostly we listen in the car. We are in the car a lot. We are often driving around on adventures, visits or errands and most of our drives are between 30-60 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to listen to podcasts, have some wonderful conversations, and listen to audiobooks.
I am always amazed at how well they listen to books in the car. They actually are a captive audience. Quite a few times we have sat in the car after we arrive at our destination listening to the end of the chapter because it’s just so good.
It’s kind of hard to take photos of us listening to audiobooks so here’s one of my favourite photos of Mr 4 in the car… just before he turned 3.
Audiobooks are often read by truly talented actors/actresses or readers. Better than Mum, that’s for sure! Their voices carry the story, they draw you in and make you laugh and gasp and cry. We’ve listened to Matilda read by Kate Winslet. We’re currently listening to Henry Huggins read by Neil Patrick Harris (oh my goodness!!). My wishlist includes The Wizard of Oz read by Anne Hathaway (who cares that we’ve already read it, we’ll listen again!) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland read by Scarlett Johansson.
Let’s talk about the different ways to get audiobooks.
CDs (we also have cassettes and even a vinyl audiobook). These can be bought from the shops or borrowed from the library. Our problem is that our car doesn’t have a CD player so we are restricted to listening at home, where children are a lot more distracted. Long books can also require quite a few CDs.
Look at this beauty! I used to listen to it at my Nan’s house.
Digital – all of these options allow you to download the digital file to your device rather than streaming which means you can download over wifi and not use your data when listening in the car.
Borrow – from the library. Our library uses two apps – BorrowBox and OverDrive that allow you to borrow audiobooks from the library system. All you need is a library card and a device. It’s free, which is great, but the books often have wait times and short borrow periods (ours are two weeks). Check your local library to see what service they use for audiobooks.
Free – from LibriVox. LibriVox (you can get the app), has a range of audio recordings of public domain books. These are free! They are, however, recorded by numerous volunteers, so the quality varies quite a bit and some books are read by numerous readers. We have enjoyed listening to some of the Thornton Burgess Books read by John Lieder. Next year, we will listen to Just So Stories (read by Kara Shallenberg) for Ambleside Online Year 1 and then I don’t have to pronounce all the names!
Buy – from Audible. Audible is Amazon’s audiobook service which you can listen to using their app. You can use Audible either with or without a subscription. A subscription provides you with credits to put towards books, and a 30% discount off books that you buy. You can always buy audiobooks outright with or without the subscription through Audible or from Amazon. The books are yours to keep, even if you cancel your subscription.
Getting the Most out of Your Audible Subscription
Firstly, sign up under a deal. Generally the best deal includes two free books and a 30 day trial. You can claim the free books and then cancel the trial before the end of the month, and the books are still yours to keep. These books are completely free!
Here’s an (affiliate) link to this deal!
Secondly, you can manipulate your membership to find extra deals. If you choose to cancel your subscription (under My Account), Amazon will ask you why. This is the key to finding the deals. If you select, “too expensive” they will offer you three months at $7.49. This is a great way to get three more books (through credits) at a much cheaper rate. If you select “too many credits” (you need at least one credit to choose this option), then they will offer you a $20 voucher which you can claim. You can also pause your account for up to three months. This enables you to keep your current credits and vouchers without paying the monthly fee (you won’t get any new credits during this time). You can continue to purchase books during this time. And remember that they have a money/credit back guarantee if you don’t enjoy a book.
Thirdly, take advantage of the sales and deals. Create a wishlist on your account and you will receive an email any time one of your books goes on sale. Follow blogs and Facebook pages that do the hard work of finding sales for you (my favourite is the Read-Aloud Revival for children’s books). Unfortunately sometimes the discounts are not available in Australia – boo! One of the best ways to find discounts is through the Kindle store where the audiobooks are often attached to the Kindle book at hugely discounted rates as part of their Whispersync for Voice feature.
Some of our favourites:
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