I love listening to audio books, both in my native language, and In German. I listen to them when I’m running, when I’m cooking dinner, when I want to curl up on the sofa and relax, and when I want to take my mind off work!
When I used to commute to London every day, I had 1.5 hours of time, which I often used for listening to books or podcasts – I just needed to be careful not to listen to anything really sad whilst on the train, or anything that got me so involved in the story that I missed my stop – yes it did happen once! I had to wait half an hour in the freezing cold for the next train to take me back to where I needed to be!
I also recommend audio books for my students who are learning English. People often go straight for the visual media such as films or tv series, and they forget about audio books. However, if you’re going to be listening to a language in real-life situations where there are no visual clues or subtitles, audio books and podcasts are a great way to practice because you have to rely entirely on your ears.
Whether you’re learning a language, or just listening to audio books to relax, here are 10 things that I like about listening to books in this way. Also, if you’re in Germany or the UK, I have a way for you to get a free book from Audible – see the further details at the bottom of the post. I am an affiliate for Amazon, but I only promote things that I love. I am an Audible member and I’m really happy with the service.
1. You can relax and let someone read to you
Did your parents or grandparents ever read to you when you were a child? Even though I could read quite well from an early age, I always looked forward to story time, during which my Nan would read to me. I also had a big collection of audio books, at that time on cassette (that shows my age!, and I enjoyed listening to them as well.
If your eyes are tired from a long day in front of the screen, or you just want to sit back and relax, audio books provide a way for you to do that.
2. You can take your book anywhere
You don’t have to remember to put it in your bag – if the book is on your phone, the chances are that you will always have it with you. It doesn’t weigh anything and you can get it out if you find that you have a spare half hour. It doesn’t take up any more room – apart from the memory on your phone.
2. You can take several books around with you
I love the fact that I can have two or three books on the go at once and I don’t have to decide which one to take with me. As long as I have space on my phone, or a good connection/data package for streaming, I don’t have to decide which books to take on holiday or on a long journey. They’re on my phone, so I can read whatever I want.
4. You’ll improve your vocabulary
Whether you’re reading in your own language or learning another one, it’s always good to learn new words, see how they are used and how different writers use the language to draw you into their world or help you to understand their characters better.
5. Audio books are practical for blind people
I can read Braille, and I think it is especially important for children to read Braille so that they can learn to visualise the words and how they are spelled, but when you’re on a packed train, it’s easier to take out your headphones than a massive Braille book. Braille books often tend to be heavy, so when I’m on the move, I’d rather not have to do some involuntary weight lifting!
6. You can read whilst doing other things
Some tasks are just boring. I don’t find housework mentally stimulating, so I always like to listen to something whilst I’m doing it. My brain keeps occupied with the book or podcast while my hands do the housework. It makes boring jobs less boring!
7. You don’t just have to read fiction
Audio books aren’t just stories. If you want to learn about a hobby or read books for professional development, there are plenty of non-fiction books in the Audible library too.
If you have a list of business books that you would like to read, why not read one of them in English instead. Alternatively, you could subscribe to an audio magazine or podcast that delivers timely news and information about one of your areas of interest.
8. Audio books are not always something that you have to buy
As well as the offer for the free audio book (more details at the end of the post), many libraries also offer audio books that you can borrow, either as a cd, or as a temporary online download. This means you can enjoy the books without having to spend anything, and you haven’t wasted your money if you don’t like the book.
9. The ability to search
Gone are the days of hunting through shelves for something that you might like to read. Services such as Audible provide a good search facility, so that you can find out what else an author has written, or what else a narrator has read, if you particularly like their voice. You can also use book blogs or websites to find the most popular books in the genres that interest you, and Audible will send you recommendations based on the books that you have already bought. Also, Audible and some libraries give you the chance to listen to part of a book before deciding to buy or download the whole thing, so that you can decide whether it’s something you want to read. Some authors write in a style that I don’t like, and some narrators drive me crazy, so I like to try before I buy!
10. It’s fun!
If you can’t wait to find out what happens in the story, or you are really interested in what’s being discussed, you will be motivated to keep listening. There have been nights when I’ve stayed up way too late because of the book that I was reading – I wanted to find out what happened next. I guess this is only true if you enjoy reading, but I can definitely say that I’ve had fun escaping to other worlds for a while so that I could learn what happened to my favourite characters.
Your chance to get a free audio book from Audible
If you’re in the UK or Germany, you can get a free ebook if you sign up for an Audible subscription. Whether or not you continue with the monthly subscription, you get to keep your audio book, and you can choose from 200,000 titles on a wide range of subjects. You can then download the Audible app on your phone and take your book with you wherever you go! (Books have to be purchased on the website – you can’t do it on the app).
Link for the UK
Link for Germany
1. This offer is open to people in Germany and the UK. Remember to use the correct link for your country.
2. You are eligible if you haven’t had a free audio book from Audible in the last year.
3. If you don’t want to pay, you must remember to cancel your subscription within the first month. You will still be able to keep your free book.
4. If you like the service, you will continue to receive a credit each month, which can be used to buy a book. Buying books on subscription is often cheaper than buying them individually.
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