Studies have shown that commuting make people unhappy. The source of unhappiness is not so much the commute itself as what it deprives you of. When you are commuting in your car, you are not doing the things you enjoy most in life: hanging out with your friends/ kids/ significant other, playing sports, being in nature, etc..
It’s easy to see why commuting is often seen as ‘dead time’. But what if there was a way to turn ‘dead time’ into ‘learning time’?
I currently spend over 2 hours per day commuting to and from work. At first I hated this commute for the aforementioned reason – I felt it was depriving me of a number of life’s pleasures. But I have since come to enjoy –even look forward to– this time each day. How did this happen? I started listening to audio books…
What are audio books?
Audio books are simply books that are read aloud and recorded for listening to on some type of player. In the past audio books were distributed mainly on CDs or cassette tapes, but nowadays downloadable digital formats (eg MP3) are the most popular way of listening to audio books. The great thing about digital formats is that you can download a title and begin listening to it in just minutes. Transferring audio books to your portable listening device (iPod, Blackberry, etc) means you can listen to them anytime, anywhere (eg while jogging, driving, working out or taking a walk).
Benefits I have experienced from listening to audio books
Enjoying my commute is not the only benefit I have experienced from listening to audio books. Audio books have allowed me to double, perhaps even triple, how much I “read”. In addition to this, I find that I retain more information from listening to books compared to reading them (I guess you could say I’m an auditory learner). Plus, after spending much of the day looking at my computer screen, I enjoy giving my eyes a rest in the evening.
Where to download audio books
There are a number of places online where you can download audio books, but in my opinion the best site is Audible. Here’s why I’m such a big fan:
- Huge selection. Audible has an ever-expanding library of more than 100,000 audio books, magazines, newspapers and podcasts. In fact, Audible is the largest provider of digital audio books for download.
- Superior quality. Audible audio books are either read by professional narrators or by the author.
- Bookmarking Feature. Audible’s patented bookmarking technology allows you to bookmark your exact position so it’s saved when you turn off your MP3 player. When you’re ready to pick back up where you left off your player will resume from the exact point at which you stopped.
- Free trial. Audible offers a 30-day free trial, meaning you can try their audio book download service risk-free.
How does Audible work?
- Sign up for a new account.
- Download the Audible software (available for Windows and Mac, or as an iTunes add-on if you’re doing the iPod/iPhone).
- Select and download your free audio book (yes, this free download includes the latest best sellers).
- Either listen to the audio book on your computer, or transfer it to your portable listening device (eg iPod or BlackBerry).
After the 30-day free trial expires, you’ll start getting billed $14.95 per month for your Gold Membership (that’s less than $0.50 per day, except in Feb). This membership entitles you to 1 credit per month (most audio books can be downloaded for 1 credit), 30 percent off any additional purchases, and a free subscription to audio versions of The New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
Of course, you can always cancel your account before the end of the trial, end up paying nothing, and walk away with your free book. However, I’m confident that once you have tried Audible you will want to keep your membership. As you can see in the below screen shot, I have been a member since March 14, 2008.
Why join vs. purchasing one audio book at a time?
- Special pricing for members. Gold members pay $14.95 per audio book. This is a HUGE discount over retails prices. For example, Audible’s retail price for The Help by Kathryn Stockett (a #1 New York Times Bestseller) is $27.97, meaning you would save $13.02 as an Audible member.
- 30% members only discount on additional audio books. If 1 audio book per month is not enough for you, you can download additional audio books at 30% off retail as a member.
- No obligation. Cancel anytime. Audible is so certain you’ll love their service that they offer a no hassle cancellation policy. If for any reason whatsoever you’re not pleased with their service, simply cancel and keep the books you’ve downloaded.
If you would like to sign up for Audible’s 30 day risk-free trial, or would simply like to learn more about this special offer, click the following link:
PS – if you would like some audio book recommendations, you are very welcome to email me at peter [at] audiobookdownloads.org. I would love to hear from you!