Here’s why I love Audible for travel, commutes, and even just cleaning my apartment. I’ve been a member for over two years now and I’m probably going to be a member for life. FYI, no this isn’t sponsored but there are affiliate links sprinkled throughout. If you want to read more about any of the books I’ve listed, just click on the title.

Growing up, I was a certified bookworm. I read any chance I got and often ran out of books. I remember getting Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, staying up until 5 a.m., and then waking up at 10 a.m. the next day just to keep reading.

It surprised exactly no one that I’d go on to major in English literature in college. However, over the years and with so many books to juggle for class, I stopped reading for pleasure. I can think of two books that I read to a point of book hangover, and they were The Shadow in the Wind and The Fault in Our StarsEven after I graduated I didn’t read as much. I’m 100% sure there’s a direct correlation between my attention span shortening and my social media use growing.

When I moved to Namwon, I started to read more, but I still moved pretty slowly. I think Me Before You was the only book that stands out in my mind. Elissa then introduced me to Kate Forsyth, and I flew through Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl after ordering them on Kindle.

Around when I finished The Wild Girl, we found out Forsyth had a new book out called The Beast’s Garden. It’s weird but her books are available first in Australia and then take forever to be available to other markets. Elissa ordered a copy and had it shipped, but I just wasn’t willing to spend the money on shipping. Plus hers took forever to get to her, and I’m not that patient. So, naturally, I scoured the internet to find it and soon discovered it was, for some reason, available on Audible.

I had never considered getting an Audible subscription before. The English lit snob in me thought it felt a bit like cheating to listen to a story rather than read it. Also, honestly, $15 for a book sounded like a lot at the time when even the most expensive Kindle books were only $9.99. However, it does have a free trial book (now it’s 2 free books). I was desperate to read/listen to The Beast’s Garden, so I signed-up with full intentions of unsubscribing as soon as the trial was up.

Then I realized how much I liked listening to the story, and how many options there were and benefits to being a member besides the one book/month deal.

Anyhow that big TL;DR was to introduce this post. I kind of can’t believe I just dedicated 2,00 words on why I love Audible, but I’m also not surprised!

Why I Love Audible for Travel + Everyday Use

1. My eyes get tired really easily.

This might sound silly, but my eyes actually get tired really easily. Yes, I’m sure it’s 100% because of how often I use the computer and look at my phone (even with the reddish filter on both). Sometimes I want to continue a story, but I also just want to lay there with my eyes closed! This is where audiobooks come in handy.

2. It’s good for multi-tasking.

The other night I literally listened to 3 1/2 hours of my book while cleaning up my apartment. I actually set it to 2x speed, so I went through 7 hours of the story. I used my wireless headphones so I could hear over any scrubbing/rinsing/washing and the next thing I knew it was 9 p.m., and I only had a few hours left in the book.

It’s also good for long distance running or walking. For travel, if you want to just be able to stare out the window at the passing scenery, then it’s the perfect background noise.

3. It’s nice to hear the different pronunciations.

So, embarrassingly, I pronounced Hermione as “Herman” for all of the fifth grade. They even sound it out in Goblet of Fire, and I managed to twist that pronunciation to say “Herman.” My friend and I bickered over it for months! Finally, I either got Sorcerer’s Stone on DVD or Chambers of Secret came out in theaters, and I heard them pronounce it properly.

Anyhow, what I’m saying is it’s nice to have someone pronounce everything properly, especially when it’s languages I’m not familiar with. German names and phrases come to mind… We just had book club for All the Light We Cannot See, and I definitely would not have pronounced any of those names correctly if I had been reading.

4. It’s good for foreign language practice.

Do you know how often I use Spanish in Korea? Never. I actually downloaded a few audiobooks in Spanish that I already read or listened to in English so I could keep up my fluency. I’m not saying I’m great at keeping up with them, because it does take a lot of mental effort for me, but they’re great if you need to work on your listening skills. You also can get an ebook + audiobook combination usually, so if you really want to study, you have both to work with.

Honestly, the best way to become more fluent besides being thrown into the middle of a foreign country is to listen and read at the same time. Most people will watch a movie with subtitles in the same language, but this is another good alternative.

Membership Plans

The thing I like about Audible is how generous their membership plans are. For the first year and a half, I had the Gold plan. When I needed to save money, I decided to cancel temporarily, but they actually allow you to just pause your membership plan for a few months instead. And even if you don’t want to spend $15 every month on a book, you can switch to the Silver plan so that it’s every other month. It’s only 3 cents more per credit than the Gold plan with similar benefits. Either way, the credits are usually a bit cheaper than buying the book on your own.

**Just remember while you do keep all the books you buy with your credits, you lose any credits you have remaining when you cancel your plan.

Another benefit to any of these plans is that you have access to any Audible deals, and there’s always a decent selection. During one of their sales last year, I wound up getting 9 books for $53! There are also other deals where you can buy credits in bulk for a cheaper per credit cost. Right now I have an offer to buy 3 credits at $11.96/credit.

Here’s a breakdown of the plans:

Audible Platinum

  • Cost: $22.95/month
  • Credit/Month: 2
  • Cost per credit: $11.48
  • Rollover: Up to 12 at a time

Audible Gold

  • Cost: $14.95/month
  • Credit/Month: 2
  • Cost per credit: $14.95
  • Rollover: Up to 6 at a time

Audible Annual Gold

  • Cost: $149.50 at once
  • Credits: 12 in all
  • Cost per credit: $12.46
  • Rollover: Up to 6 at a time

Audible Silver

  • Cost: $14.98/2 months
  • Credit: 1/2 months
  • Cost per credit: $14.98
  • Rollover: Up to 3 at a time

How I Choose My Books

So I’m the kind of person who wants the most bang for my buck. Like I’m the person who goes to a buffet and doesn’t eat the whole day of so I can eat as much as I can in one sitting. Don’t judge… Either way, this mentality extends to how I use my Audible membership. Here are some of my tips. They’re not groundbreaking, but good to keep in mind!

  1. I keep an ongoing wishlist of books I want to read. Sometimes I wind up getting either a physical copy or the ebook, but a lot of times I’ll wait to get it on Audible. I find I prefer listening to biographies, self-help, and “literary fiction” books, reading more romantic books, and I could do either for general fiction.
  2. Look to see how long they are. I try to only use my credits on books that are 9+ hours (15-16 is the best). I just don’t think it’s that worth it to spend $15 on a 6-hour book.
  3. Also, if a book is less than $15, I’ll pay for it out of pocket instead of using a credit.
  4. I read the reviews on the book and the audio version. If multiple people point out something annoying about the reading, then I can consider if that would annoy me as well. If it does, I’ll just buy the book version. For example, I chose to read Crazy Rich Asians instead of listening to it because so many people complained about the narrator’s borderline racist Chinese accent attempts.
  5. I often let my credits roll over. You have at least up to 3 credits to roll over, so there’s no rush to spend!

After all is said and done, Audible does have a great return/exchange policy. You have up to a year to return or exchange an audiobook you don’t love.

Books I Loved

Here are some books I loved listening to:

  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – If you love the Italian Riveria, then you’ll love this one.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This is one of those “if you liked Gone Girl” type books. I enjoyed it, though the twist and social commentary aren’t as intense as Gone Girl.
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – I feel like you either love or hate this book, but it does lay on the emotional manipulation pretty strong. Anyway, it’s set in Washington state, so I loved reading the descriptions about the different settings!
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – This is about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, and their life in Paris as he started finding success. I mean it’s Paris in the 20s!
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – Set in San Francisco and involves a bookstore with a touch of fun fantasy.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – This whole book had me laughing out loud. It’s told from the different point of views of various characters, so the narrator’s voice changes were even funnier to listen to.
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tobin – I actually don’t know how much I would have enjoyed reading this. I LOVED the movie, but I think the movie actually gave a little more clarity and insight into our main character than the book does, and the book is told in first person! Either way, the prose is really beautiful and if you’ve ever moved abroad it’ll hit you in all the right places.
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – This is one of those stories split between WWI and present day. The WWI section is a lot stronger than the present day section.
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This is another San Francisco book! It’s sad, sweet, a little unrealistic, and ultimately hopeful.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – I knew I wasn’t going to have the patience to read this, so I listened to it while referring to the diagrams and following Kondo’s advice. Yes, yes, I did spend an afternoon holding up articles of clothing to see if I loved them. I did not, however, get rid of any of my books. In my defense, my parents were moving, so we had to clean out everything anyway!
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity – I mean, I watched the show first and then got the book to listen to! Liane Moriarity has actually become a favorite author, and I go between reading or listening to her books. I was actually surprised by how well the narrator managed the children’s voices too.
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – Sophie Kinsella is my favorite light read/chick lit author ever. Ever since my dad bought be back Can You Keep a Secret? from his work’s book share, I’ve been a fan. I just always burst out laughing at the ridiculous situations and I love her characters. This one is actually a touch more serious than her normal plots, but it delivers an important message (in a funny way), and it kind of makes me want to stay in a yurt in the English countryside…
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarity – The secret is pretty obvious early on, but the story is interesting even without it!

Books I Wish I’d Read Instead

  • The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth – I didn’t really like the pitch the narrator used for the main female character, and having read two of her books I infinitely prefer reading them to listening to them. I bookmark way too many places to reread!
  • La ladrona de libros by Markus Zusak – I actually read the book in English first (The Book Thief) and cried my eyes out. I saw it in Spanish and bought on a whim to practice. It’s actually really tricky because of all the German interlaced in!
  • The Shadow in the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafron – I wanted to get the Spanish version but at the time it wasn’t available (weirdly enough). I had the Spanish version of the book and wanted to listen and read at the same time. I got the English just because I wanted to hear the story again, and I definitely prefer reading it. Same reason as Kate Forsyth’s books – I want to bookmark and reread too many parts! Also, the interlude music does get a little annoying.
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – This book is so full of details and descriptions that it’s really best to read rather than listen so you can fully appreciate the magic.

I still have quite a few to still listen to, so I’ll probably always update this list!

Books on Currently My Reading List

  • The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood – Confession – I haven’t actually read the book. I’ve looked up the story so often over the years and, of course, loved the Hulu show, but I never read the text. There’s not really any excuse for it. The Audible version’s narrator is Claire Danes, one of my favorite actresses, so it’s a no-brainer!
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker – It’s a thriller that spans 30 years and sounded interesting when I read the description.
  • Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead – Another novel that spans decades. It starts with an American ballet dancer helping a Soviet ballet dancer defect in 1975, so you know it’s bound to be interesting.
  • Isabel la Católica by Christian Hernando – This is just 20 hours about Spain’s most famous queen, Isabel I. I’m fascinated by her role in Spanish history, so I’m saving this for when my Spanish isn’t so rusty.

You can sign-up for a free membership here. Right now it comes with 2 free books.

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Feature photo by Jaroslaw Cebroski via Unsplash
Pinterest photo by Alexander Mils via Unsplash 

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