A Beginner’s Guide to Audiobooks #1: Basics

I absolutely love audiobooks. I started listening to them when I had a trail subscription on Storytel and I instantly fell in love with listening to books. But to be quite honest, I had no clue how to get my hands on an audiobook before that and I felt like audiobooks just weren’t for me. Obviously I proved myself wrong, because by now I’ve listened to a whole lot of incredible audiobooks. I wouldn’t say I’m experienced or know it all, but today I’d like to share my “guide” to finding and listening to audiobooks. This is only part #1 of a series, as the post turned out way longer than expected! I hope you’ll enjoy the series and that it’s useful for you!

Where to Find Audiobooks?

One of the obvious places to find audiobooks would be Amazon. Whenever you’re on a book’s product page, there’s a list of formats to choose from: Kindle, paperback, hardcover and audiobook. Instead of audiobook it could also say Audible, and that’s it’s free with a trail. Don’t worry, though! If you click on it, you’ll go to the audiobook page and you can buy if for the regular price.

Any other online bookstore will sell audiobooks as well. Barnes & Noble sells CDs as does Book Depository. Although the latter doesn’t have all that many. Since audiobooks have ISBNs just like eBooks and physical books, your local bookshop should be able to order them for you as well. (But don’t quote me on that, I’ve never tried!)

Pricing

 Audiobooks can be extremely expensive. There’s a few exceptions, but most audiobooks start at $15 and easily go op to $50 if not $70. The regular price for A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin is $76,23 (!) on Audible. However, it’s also over 37 hours long. Not all audiobooks have this outrageous price, though. I actually got A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas for less than $5 on sale today! I think most YA are priced around $20, with exceptions of course.

The reason for these high prices? Definitely production costs. I can’t tell you a lot about it, unfortunately, but if you’d like to know more: this article can help you out.

Subscription Services & Free Trials

The cheapest way to listen to audiobooks, is through a subscription service. Audible is probably the most know since it’s from Amazon. For a long time I didn’t think you could get it in countries that don’t have their own Amazon, but I appear to be mistaken! Anyway, for $14,95 a month you get one credit per month for an audiobook of your own choice.

The one I use most is Storytel. For €9,99 a month you can listen to an unlimited amount of books! They don’t have as much as Audible, but it’s still a really great service. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if you can listen to Storytel everywhere. I’ll make sure to look it up for the next part of my series!

Both of these services provide free trails, which is perfect if you’re just starting out. I think you can also check out what audiobooks they have so you can find one you’d like to listen to before you commit to anything. Next week I’ll be doing a subscription/services comparison between Audible, Storytel and Scribd (which I’ll talk more about in that post!)

Narrators

Narrators are one of the most important aspects to audiobooks. They either make or break your experience and overal opinion on the book. That’s why previews are so important. The above mentioned services all provide previews for their books so you can listen to a clip before committing yourself to an audiobook you won’t enjoy because of the narrator. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with not liking a narrator! Sometimes you just don’t like someone’s voice and you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to listen to them for a long time. Don’t feel bad about it, it’s just the way it is. Same goes for books, right? Your friend can absolutely love a book while you dislike it. No harm done! Same goes for narrators.

Abridged vs. Unabridged

Maybe you’ve been looking for audiobooks and found the words “abridged” and “unabridged”. The difference between these two is that one is shortened and another is exactly the same as a physical book. Abridged literally means “shortened without losing sense”. So in this case, when an audiobook is abridged, it means that the story is shortened. I couldn’t find any abridged YA audiobooks while searching for them, but I do have another example. Say you’re listening to a book you also own physically. If the book is unabridged, you could take the book of your shelf, read it and continue listening to the book where you stopped reading. If the audiobook was abridged, that would be really weird because it’s shorter than the actual book, but it’s still the same story. Does that make sense? I hope it does. Most audiobooks are unabridged, so the narrator is reading the author’s exact words.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Also, if you have any more questions about audiobooks, leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!

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  • dominique_x

    Interesting blogpost. I started listen to audiobooks some months ago, but I do not listen that much anymore. I think it’s quite expensive, especially if you buy one ‘book’. Maybe if I am going to the gym of if I am going to cycle/walk more I will get another subscription, because that were the only times I listened to audiobooks. I really like listening to audiobooks, but I prefer reading physical books. Do you also listen to audiobooks which you’ve already read as a physical book?

    • I’m glad you found it interesting! Audiobooks are definitely expensive, so I’m glad there are subscription services to lower those costs a little. ;’)

      I totally understand not getting a subscription until you can actually use it! I wish I was subscribed to Storytel when I was still traveling and walking a lot, it definitely would’ve made things less boring! Somehow I only started listening to audiobooks when I lived back home and stayed home most of the time. It can get quite boring if you have nothing else to do!

      Today was actually the first time I got an audiobook that I already owned physically. A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas was on a massive sale so I decided to get it. I only once listened to a book I’d already read on Storytel because I was planning to reread it but got so sick I couldn’t read so I listened to it. Other than that I always try to listen to books that are on TBR. 🙂

  • Elizabeth Hunter

    I’ve done free Audible trials but it just seems like a lot of money for a book. And I read alot faster than most audio books, so I tend to end up buying the book. Listening is nice for long car trips, but I still prefer reading.

    • Audiobooks are definitely expensive. The main reason I didn’t listen to any books before a year ago is because of their ridiculous prices. I also read much faster than when I listen to audiobooks, but speed isn’t always a priority for me. Actually reading will always be #1 for me, but audiobooks are a nice change to the usual reading. 🙂

  • Lara

    I love the idea of audiobooks, but I’ve never really listened to any because of the prices and because I don’t want to commit to a subscription in case I don’t like it that much (although I guess I could just do the free trial and then cancel).

    Also libraries often lend out audiobooks as well. Sometimes you get a bunch of CDs and my library has an app where you can download eBooks and audiobooks and then it will just delete them from the app when you’ve had them for the month you’re allowed to ‘borrow’ them for. It’s really cool! You don’t even have to go to the library to do it which means I can keep borrowing books when I travel. Other peoples libraries might have things like that set up too.

    Great post! I’m looking forward to the rest of this series and getting to hear about the different subscription services.

    • I completely understand not wanting to commit to a subscription! I think I’ve ever had a subscription for more than two or three months at a time. I usually just pay for a month when I feel like I’ll have lots of time to listen or when it’s convenient or me to listen to a book instead of reading it.

      I completely forgot about libraries! I think the Dutch library has it too, but I haven’t been there for so many years, I don’t really keep up with their services, hehe! Thanks for the comment, I might look into it some more for my next post. 🙂

      I’m so glad you liked the post! I’ll make sure the comparison post will be useful. 😉

  • Oh oh yes! I love audiobooks! I’m basically always listening to one. 😜 I tend to get a lot from my library’s overdrive system, because it’s free.😂 I also have an audible subscription when it’s on sale. Although it’s not right now, but I’ve got a good stockpile to go through! I particularly love fantasy on audio because I find I tend to skim details when I’m reading them myself but audios help me absorb all the details. Which is SO helpful.

    • I always forget libraries exists so I haven’t actually checked if the libraries close to me offer audiobooks 😂 And audiobooks really do help with absorbing details especially because I read like way too fast for my own good and miss important details, heheh! 🙈