Sunday, February 10, 2019

Audible: Upping my book game

Before last year I hadn't really given audio books much thought. I very much enjoy reading but find myself distracted by any number of other media sources and life happenings which puts my read count at a much lower level than I'd like. Then I threw my hat into Audible's ring to give it a shot. A monthly subscription offered by Amazon, it is free for 1 month which gives one a single book credit and the knowledge that you can cancel at anytime and actually keep the books you've acquired through the service. That was enough to get me to try it and I'm now hard pressed find another service that I pay for that I enjoy more.

It's been about a year with the service now and I've gone through 10 titles, mostly on my drives to and from work where I have time to just sit and listen. I've burned through a few autobiographies by faves Bruce Campbell and Alan Alda (read by them too), experienced the first two books in the Altered Carbon series (which were superb! - I'm reading the physical edition of the 3rd one now), ripped through a trilogy by Robert Sawyer about a bridging of earths, one our own, the other one where Neanderthals were the developed species. I've gone through another Mass Effect tie in book (and just started a second) and got around to seeing what the fuss was about with The Hand Maid's Tale.

The service (at time of writing) is $14.99/mo which gets you 1 book credit for the month and discounts on the others. I tend to stick to the credits as the audio books by themselves tend to be a bit pricey for my tastes... but they do hold sales where you can pick up titles for a few dollars a piece. As I said above, the service allows you to keep the books even if you stop the subscription and they also offer an option where you can trade in books you didn't enjoy at any point for another book credit. You can listen to the service on any internet connected computer with a browser player on their site or download their app for phones which then allows you to download the book in full for listening without streaming. The two connect to the same service for tracking, so you can simply pick up where you left off regardless of where you're listening.

This is of course if you're okay with what audio books are. I've been telling a number of people about my new found past time and a lot of them come back with "I'm not sure I'd enjoy listening to a book". Which I get. But I feel it's worth a try. One thing I will note, however, is that each book offers a snippet/preview for you to test. These can be key in determining if you like the person narrating the book. I've had the pleasure of listening to some books read by the authors who really put the extra effort in. I've also enjoyed some titles read by those who love their craft, who put so much into each character and portraying the scenes within rather than just reading the book to you in a deadpan sort of manner. However, I have run across switches in readers and just plain terrible readers who make you feel like you're in a lecture rather than unraveling a wonderful tale. This is exactly why I opted to read the physical book for Richard Morgan's Woken Furies (third in the Altered Carbon series) as the third audio book switches readers after the second book and after testing it, followed by some online research I've learned it's quite hard to get through on most reviewers accounts. In this regard one needs to be careful. I feel like one bad audio book would ruin someone's view of audio books for a long time.

All of this aside, I very much enjoy the service and plan on continuing to expand my "read" base with great titles that I've otherwise have yet to sit down and read in the traditional manner simply because of how busy life can get. In closing, I'd highly suggest anyone reading this to give it a shot.