Curious about audiobooks? Now is the time to try

Sarah Pitts

Audiobooks and podcasts are the ideal media for busy people, which is likely why they've recently surged in popularity. They allow you to stay relevant and well-read without requiring extra time or focused attention (two things we all already don't have enough of).

You can put on an audiobook or podcast while you're doing things that take up time but that don't require mental energy. Our favorite times to tune in are when commuting/traveling, cleaning the house, getting ready in the morning, exercising, or when working on menial tasks around the office.

Some people are hesitant to listen to audiobooks because they're afraid that they won't absorb as much as they would when reading a print book; while there are differing opinions about this perspective, we think it's a great way to exercise your brain and a good alternative to music.

The good news: If you're not sure whether you're the type of person who will enjoy listening to audiobooks, or if the steep price per audiobook makes you balk, Audible is worth your attention.


How to get a free month of audiobooks

You can get your first month of Audible free with a 30-day trial period. This gives you the option to try out the service without financial commitment. Spend this month determining if you are, indeed, an audiobook person. This first month is the ideal time to try listening in different contexts to determine if audiobooks are something you enjoy or if you find yourself getting too distracted to absorb a plot while multitasking.

The service will send you a reminder five days before charging you for month two, making it easy for you to opt out if you decide against a subscription.


What do I get with an Audible subscription?

After your 30-day free trial, should you decide that you do enjoy listening to audiobooks, the service costs $14.95 per month. This puts the subscription on par with the monthly cost of many popular TV streaming services, but with different benefits. You'll be able to impress your friends and coworkers with how well-read you are, and you'll be able to take advantage of the service beyond the confines of your home (you can't exactly watch Netflix on your drive to work). 

What does the $14.95 subscription get you? Each month, you get one audiobook download of your choice as well as two Audible Originals. Since the typical audiobook costs between $20 and $30, you're saving about $10 per month just by getting the monthly audiobook credit. And, if you pick an audiobook that you don't end up loving, you can swap it for something else.

Additionally, Audible Originals are exclusive audio content that you won't find elsewhere -- a storytelling platform somewhat similar to The Moth Radio Hour if you like that sort of thing. 


Most popular audiobooks you need to listen to

If you start your Audible trial but you're at a loss for what to listen to (after all, the service has a vast library of titles that the uninitiated might find overwhelming) here are the most popular audiobooks that other people are downloading. These are a good start if you want to be relevant and well-read.

Becoming by Michelle Obama: You've probably seen or heard about this book, whether someone you know has read it or you saw that it was an Oprah's Book Club pick. It's narrated by Michelle Obama and is an intimate and powerful personal memoir.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: Trevor Noah himself narrates this audiobook, so you'll hear it exactly as he intended it to be read. It's a great pick for fans of the memoir genre or those who enjoy Noah's comedy.

I Can't Make This Up by Kevin Hart: Memoirs are generally a popular genre among audiobook listeners because, for the most part, the writer does the narrating. This literary debut by Kevin Hart will keep you laughing long after you're done listening.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell: Malcolm Gladwell is a bestselling author among those who enjoy pop psychology, and listening to this audiobook will make you feel smarter without delving into anything boring or overly technical.  

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This book is already good on its own, but the audiobook is even better because you'll get to actually hear the accents of its setting, North Carolina. This is a hugely popular title about natural beauty and growing up. 

I Found You by Lisa Jewell: This is the quintessential beach read -- something you'd pick up for a weekend sitting by the ocean without a care in the world. Bring this attitude into your everyday life by adding this audiobook to your routine. 

Songbird by Peter Grainger: If you're a fan of mystery/thriller novels, this one should be at the top of your list. It's a solid audiobook choice because the quick pace and high level of intrigue make it easier to avoid getting distracted.

One Minute Out by Mark Greaney: Those who enjoyed Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels will likely appreciate this suspenseful high-stakes thriller. Another fast-paced audiobook that's easy to pay attention to.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero: Though this book was published more than five years ago, it's still extremely popular and also won an Audible award. Its goal is to help you unlock your inner awesome, and it's an entertaining listen.

Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop: Looking to add some positive listening to your day? Empower yourself on your lunch break or your morning commute with this popular motivational audiobook that aims to help you live the life you're meant to lead.

Atomic Habits by James Clear: Another option for those who want to spend their listening time on self-improvement, this popular audiobook is geared toward those who want to develop positive habits or break bad ones.

Watchers by Dean Koontz: This novel likely doesn't need much introduction, considering it was written by one of the most-loved authors in the U.S. This notable work is available through Audible and was nominated as one of America's best-loved novels of all time.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: This is the pick for those who like historical fiction or books that focus on female leads. It's a spy novel set after WWII full of intriguing twists, so it's like the audiobook version of a femme James Bond.

Sarah Pitts is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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