Discussion: Reviewing Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Initially I didn’t think I would like them because I can’t just down sit and listen to an audiobook or even music. I feel like have to be doing something. One day, a few years ago, I decided to try listening to an audiobook while running. I run a lot, up to 10 miles a day, so that gives me plenty of listening time. I was instantly hooked and I started listening to the book every day.

It was a happy day when I got a new car and found out I could hook up my iPod to it. I have a 30-45 minute (depending on traffic and time of day) commute to work every day, so that’s even more listening time.

I’ve listened to some great books on my iPod: The Caster Chronicles series, the Tomorrow series (my favorite books ever!), Annie on my Mind (highly recommended!), the Uglies series, Thirteen Reasons Why (audiobook is the PERFECT format for this one), and all of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books. In fact, I had tried reading the first Vampire Academy book but couldn’t get into it until I listened to the audiobook.

Reviewing them, though? I just can’t do it. I can’t take notes because I’m running or driving. I’m also paying attention to traffic, dogs that look like they want to eat me and may or may not be trapped in their yards by an invisible fence, and other distractions, so I sometimes don’t listen as closely as I would like. I know I miss details, but I figure that’s a small price to pay for being entertained the rest of the time. If I get totally lost I can always relisten to a part, but I don’t like to do that too often.

Have you ever listened to an audiobook? Do you review them, or do you have trouble concentrating on them like I do?


  1. I listen to audio books daily while I work. I wouldn’t be able to get through as many books as I do without them. My job is pretty mundane so its easy to concentrate on the book however I often lose focus if i try to listen other than work or in the car. So I understand. I do review them. I review them probably more than books because over half my reads are audio.
    JennRenee recently posted…Review: Save the Enemy by Arin GreenwoodMy Profile

    • I’ve seen a lot of audiobook reviews around, so I think of the people who listen to them, I’m definitely in the minority on this one. I like them because I wouldn’t be able to get through as many books either without them.
      Jenna recently posted…Feature & Follow FridayMy Profile

  2. I always review my audiobooks, but that might be because I mostly listen during the four hours of highway driving I have each week, so there aren’t as many distractions as city driving ;-). I also have decided to stay away from uber complicated books though since I have no idea what happened in the section of Clash of Kings that I listened to >.>
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  3. I love audiobooks too! But yes, they can be hard to review sometimes. I, for one, almost always have to go to Goodreads to look up character names. But I think there are more pros than cons to audiobooks, like if I listen to the book on audio, no matter how unique/weird a character’s name is (like the name Myfanwy in The Rook), I always know the right pronunciation. And I’m not a note taker to begin with, so most of the time I review them like I’d review a print/ebook, the only difference is that somewhere in the review I’ll touch upon the narrator.
    Cayce recently posted…[Rant or Rave] Spoil me ROTTEN!My Profile

    • Very true about the pronunciation! I have listened to at least where they changed narrators in the middle and the new one pronounced some names differently though. That was annoying. And sometimes I’m surprised by the spelling of those unusual names when I see read them somewhere later.
      Jenna recently posted…Feature & Follow FridayMy Profile

  4. Love this discussion, Jenna! I’ve only tried listening to an audiobook once in my life. I really had a hard time focusing on the words being spoken though. It’s much easier for me when I read them for myself. Reviewing audiobooks seems complicated. But I love the thought of listening to audiobooks while running. I do run myself, although not as much as you. I wish I drove around too (sadly I have yet to learn how). I would love to hear Thirteen Reasons Why on audio! That one was a beautiful book and listening to it might just perfect the experience.
    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted…Little Talks: Endings & ExpectationsMy Profile

    • The thing about audiobooks is that I can read a lot faster than the narrator speaks. That’s why I like them to fill time when I wouldn’t be reading anyway. Thirteen Reasons Why was one of my early audiobooks and I think it might be the one that got me hooked.
      Jenna recently posted…Feature & Follow FridayMy Profile

  5. I want to love audio books. I have tried and tried and tried! I actually wrote a post recently (http://angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com/2013/10/auido-books-i-tried-and-failed.html) Really.. I mean, I think I could be listening to ones that are way to long. I keep picking ones that are over 30 hours for long road trips. I need to pick a shorter one and see what I think about it.
    Angie recently posted…Goodreads and it’s book clubsMy Profile

    • A good narrator helps too. If the narrator is bad or has a voice or tone I don’t like, it makes it hard to listen to and it’s not as much fun. I also don’t like the ones with a full cast or with music. I like one narrator, two at the most.
      Jenna recently posted…Feature & Follow FridayMy Profile

  6. I’ve only done one audiobook and I liked it a lot. The only thing was that there were times that I ended up having to go back a relisten to a section because I was daydreaming or tuning out while the narrator was talking 🙁 I did end up reviewing the book, but that was before I started my blog, so it was only on Goodreads. I think it would be hard to review audio on a regular basis because I would feel like I would miss details like you said. I feel like sitting reading and doing stuff while listening are two different things and you would get 2 different things out of it. Plus the voice and inflection of the narrator could have a major influence on how you like a book. Thirteen Reason’s Why sounds like it would be SO GOOD on audio. I never thought of it before but I totally want to listen to it now 🙂
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    • It would definitely be hard for me to try to review an audiobook, but a lot of people seem to do it without any problems. I think another thing against me reviewing them is sometimes it takes me a long, long time to get through one. I’ll start listening to the audiobook during one run or drive, then for the next week I’ll listen to podcasts or the radio. I even do this with books I like a lot. I just get distracted and forget to go back to it.

      I would have to at least comment on the narrator in an audiobook review. A good or bad narrator is a big part of the whole experience.
      Jenna recently posted…Feature & Follow FridayMy Profile


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