What Do You Do While Listening To An Audiobook??

Attention all audiobook lovers!

I’m new to this whole audiobook thing, in fact until recently I’d never even considered listening to/reading an audiobook. Of course, I thought they had value, just not for me. Apparently, according to many of the bloggers I follow, I’m wrong.

I decided to give audio a go, around the same time that SYNC decided to give away two free audiobooks every week in the summer (you can read more about this and sign up here). So, I have downloaded a couple of the books and have them waiting for me on my desktop (I can also listen on my phone). But I have a problem. In fact I have a few.

What do you do when you listen to a book? Do you do the housework? Shower? Drive? Read at the same time? Browse the Internet? Study??? And can a book be totally ruined by a bad narrator? Do you listen to the audiobook and then read the book too?

confused gifAny and all opinions welcome! πŸ™‚



  1. I don’t really listen to audio books. They aren’t my thing because I feel like I would have to concentrate on it while hearing the story instead of reading it. However, I feel like they are the perfect thing to listen to when knitting- which makes me want to try and listen to more of them!


    1. I feel the same. And I’m not sure it will give me the same satisfaction as actually reading. I want to use them as a filler/time=saver while I’m doing other things too, that way I can mark a few more off my ever-expanding TBR without having to dedicate time to books that I want to read, but they aren’t a big priority for me, or I don’t plan on owning them… R x


  2. I listen to audiobooks during meals, while I do housework, cook, drive, and occasionally while browsing the internet. I’ve never really thought about listening while I shower, but that might work if I turn the volume WAY up. I know people who listen while taking walks or bike rides. My sister listens at work. πŸ™‚ I also have a friend who listens and reads along – he says it helps him focus on a longer book.

    If a narrator is REALLY bad, I’d switch formats. Sometimes though, the narrator is awesome and really adds to the experience.

    I usually only listen OR read, but sometimes I will listen as a re-read. My kids do this ALL the time. They will read a book, or I’ll read it to them, and then they listen to the audiobook too. Of course, they listen while they play. πŸ˜›


    1. I can see it being good when doing housework, or the weekly grocery shop! I don’t have a very long commute, and would have to listen on my phone somehow but I might give it a go. I tend to have a tv show on in the background while I’m studying and wondered if audiobooks could be used then, but I might not be able to concentrate on both at the same time. Listening while at work… now there’s a multi-tasking genius!

      I can see the narrator playing a HUGE role in the enjoyment of it. Not only in how they perform it, but accent, tone, male/female voice. The whole audiobook thing made me realise how much of a “voice” I give characters when reading, and if that voice is forced on us and doesn’t meet expectations, it could be off-putting. I really wanted to read Prisoner of the Night and Fog and got the audiobook from SYNC. I literally listened for a couple of minutes and the voice just didn’t match my expectation. It’s a tricky one. I think Stephen Fry did an audiobook of HP? I think I’d listen to him reading a chinese menu to be fair.

      I think I’d prefer to read a book first, then listen as a re-read. Unless it’s a book I want to read, but I’m not super excited about it. I could audiobook it then…

      So much to think about! R x


  3. I used to love listening to audio books on my drive to and from work. I lived almost an hour away at the time and it was a great way to pass the time, and get more books ‘read’ in a year. But then we moved closer and my drive is way too short for listening to books, as well as impossible with a toddler in the car. πŸ™‚

    I wish I listened to audio books more – but it’s just not practical for me right now. My daughter requires all of my attention at home, so when I am house cleaning or whatever, there isn’t really time to listen to a book. I’m just doing it as fast as I can to get it done. At night I’d much rather read an actual book than listen to one. I can’t listen at work because it would be too distracting and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the story.

    I’m hoping someday there will be a way for me to work some audio books back into my life. I know they are great for working out. If I ever actually do that, lol, I would definitely have an audio book on hand.

    I’ll be interested to hear how you work them into your daily life. Maybe there’s a way for me to start!


    1. My commute probably isn’t even worth it – 15 minutes gets me to work in the morning. I was going to try listening to one by playing my phone in the passenger seat but I don’t think that would work too well! Ohh, that sounds like a challenge. Maybe for the “craic” (as we say here!) I should try to listen to them for a few weeks in highly strange scenarios to see how it works out and if I can spot any new ways to listen?! The shower will be my first attempt (bath would be better, but no). If I ever worked out I can imagine that it would be useful, I’m sure it would make the time go in quicker too. Maybe if I start walking in the evenings when these exams are over (as I keep promising myself I will) I’ll listen to a book instead of music… though music is good for tempo… I feel a feature coming on!!!

      R x


  4. I like audiobooks! If I’m feeling creative I’ll paint my nails or draw while listening…and if not I play Candy Crush :3 I quite like to have one on the go while I’m cooking or baking, making posters, looking at Pinterest…I just really enjoy the freedom to ‘read’ and do other things (things that don’t need too much concentration) at the same time.
    If you’re feeling a bit cheeky there are a lot of Audiobooks on YouTube too!
    The only off-putting thing is when there’s a badly chosen narrator. I really struggled with ’12 years a slave’ because the young, well-spoken English man just couldn’t pull off the character. Usually the bigger recording companies (like Audible) choose relatively good performers πŸ™‚
    But yeah – I recommend giving them a shot. Happy listening!


    1. Hahaha, that’s quite a good list of other things to do while listening! I think studying while listening is out then… I may blog and listen at some point, that would definitely be a great way to mulit-task! I have OverDrive Media Console on my phone, which means I can listen to my local library’s audiobooks any time I like, from anywhere, as long as I’m logged in. Bonus. I might have an attempt on YouTube to see how I get on. Thanks for the advice!


  5. The one time i tried to listen to an audio book i hatehatehated it and had to stop. It was the narration for me. The voices, the pace, the emphasis… all wrong. I like being able to interpret the words, the characters, the world for myself, rather than have it dictated to me.


    1. I completely agree! I’m going to try them, “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” and all that jazz, but I think for every 10 audiobooks I listen to there’ll be 2 I enjoy. These are very random and completely unscientific statistics of course, but you get my drift. I think an audiobook is kind of “forced” on the reader. Similar to when books are adapted to movies and the cast is announced. They ain’t gonna get it right all of the time! R x


  6. I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. I love them so much!

    First – absolutely a book can be ruined if the narrator is bad. And what you like in a narrator someone else might hate. I find narrator preferences can be very subjective.

    But, that said, I think you can enjoy a book a lot more by listening to it if the narrator is wonderful. There are a number of books that I ended up loving largely because of the amazing audiobook production.

    I primarily listen to audiobooks when I’m driving, when I’m getting ready in the morning, and during housework. I can’t listen to them while reading stuff, though. Sometimes, if I’m really into an audiobook, I will even play Internet games while I listen.

    I rarely listen to a book, and then read the print version later. However, I will often listen to my favorite books after I’ve read them. Harry Potter, His Dark Materials are great examples.

    I hope you end up liking audiobooks. I’m hopelessly (although it isn’t really a hopeless situation) addicted to them.


    1. Hi Quinn, thanks for your comment! I think with audiobooks it’s a much more “try it and see” scenario and they can be very hit and miss. I think I’ll try one this weekend when doing some cleaning, it’s sure to make it less dull anyways! I can see the benefits of listening to an audiobook of one of your favourites, something like HP or Dahl, if it’s done well, as you already know the story so well that the audiobook can add to it. I’ll do a follow up post on my opinions once I form some proper ones! πŸ™‚


      1. Thanks for the link-up!! πŸ™‚ I didn’t get doing the T3 post this week *boo* was super busy with work! But I will get one done and maybe catchup on the older ones too. It’s such a good idea and I was really looking forward to taking part! R x


  7. I love them for mindless data entry, exercise, quilting, housework, and for the drive into work. I have to be careful which books I get on audio, however, some are to detailed. If you get interrupted you find yourself going back over the same section repeatedly. I had Kraken by China Mieville, and while the narrator is amazing, unless its a long car trip it isn’t a good match. It was just to detailed


    1. Thanks for the feedback! I can imagine a “lighter” read is better for audio because you don’t have to focus as much. A more detailed audiobook is probably a good choice if you’ve already read the book and you’re listening to the audio as a re-read… something to think about πŸ™‚


  8. I usually put audiobooks on my iPod and listen to them while I do housework. Sometimes I’ll listen to them while I knit/crochet as well because it’s a bit difficult to accomplish reading and knitting at the same time otherwise πŸ˜› My bf listens to them on his commute to work since he works about 30-45 minutes away. Also, a bad narrator very well can ruin a book, like if they read too slowly or speak in a monotone. Although, the reading too slowly thing can be fixed on an iPod at least because it has an option to read the book faster aloud.


    1. Housework is proving to be a popular answer so far! I wonder can you sample most audiobooks before purchasing? It would be pretty bad to purchase one and find out the narrator is awful… Haha – can you speed it up so the narrator becomes squeaky?? I didn’t know you could do this! R x


      1. I don’t know if every library does this, but my local library loans out audiobooks. Then, there’s always YouTube. My bf finds audiobooks on there all the time. There are only three speeds on my iPod: fast, faster, fastest. It just makes is easier to read because sometimes the narrator reads more slowly than I would read a physical copy of the book.


      2. I think all libraries do that, or they are supposed to. There’s also an app/download called Overdrive Media Console and you can “borrow” ebooks and audiobooks from your library through it and they get “returned” after the three weeks are up without having to leave the comfort of your own home!


  9. I listen to audio books to help me sleep, but if a book is really good or the narrator is good, I’ll listen to it while I play a game on my laptop (usually Don’t Starve or the Sims – something that doesn’t require full focus. One summer I read all of the Sookie Stackhouse Mystery books and played Peggle) I also listen to them on my break or if I’m alone at work. One of the customers thought I was talking to myself the other day.
    I haven’t experienced a bad narrator yet, but a lot of the time I re-‘read’ audio books that I liked (Divergent was good, Roy Dutrice for Game of Thrones was AWESOME, the people that do the Otori books are fantastic) I haven’t got a new audiobook in a while, my next venture is Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry.
    That makes me sound really boring, but the only thing I wanna do after a long days work is sit down, feet up, laptop on and relaaaaaaaaax. Audio books are time savers!


    1. Stephen Fry audio will be immense no matter what it is he’s reading! I’ve heard snippets of the HP audios and they sound fun, but I’d only recommend listening after reading the original books. I think for me audio will be “filler” books that I’m not dying to read, but still want to read, if that makes sense?? I’m just going to have to try to get into one and see what I make of it. I have an audio coming from SYNC soon for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and I have one for Anne of Green Gables. R x


  10. I looooooooove audiobooks! I listen to them when I’m driving, when I’m making dinner, when I’m cleaning, when I’m washing and all those other annoying chores. It just makes the time pass so much faster and funner. A bad narrator can totally ruin a good book just like a great narrator can reddem a bad story a little bit.
    I’ve done a few posts on some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators and the pros and cons of audiobooks if you want to check them out on my blog. I also have a giveaway for some of my favorite audiobooks if you want to enter.


    1. I’m so bad. I STILL haven’t had the time to fit any in yet (revision taking over my life!) but I definitely will soon. I listened to some clips on audible today in work to get a feel for them (The Fault in Our Stars was pretty good) and I think I could actually get away with it in work. I have a separate office so it wouldn’t annoy anyone, though I do have a tendency of writing parts of what I’m listening to into what I’m writing – I don’t think “Health and Safety is a vital element of our company and… yer a wizard, Arry!” would go down well with the board of directors… Oh, I’d definitely like to check those out – I think part of the problem is the lack of information available on “good” narrators, and because you don’t know where to start you could pick a few bad ones in a row and just get put off for life. Can you link me up?? R x


    1. I would love to try listening to books while shopping and doing chores, I might need to get a little more organised and give it a go! I still don’t feel overly comfortable calling it “reading”. It’s “listening” to a book, not reading one really. R x


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