Reading has always been one of my main hobbies. I've always enjoyed curling up with a good read - but in the last few years, I've discovered additional ways to enjoy my longstanding pastime.

First of all, I go an Amazon Kindle a few years ago. It was quite a big step for me - and I don't mind admitting that I was a little worried that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as a "real" book. It's hard to break old habits - especially since we have all been reading the same way since we were young children.

audio books ipodCredit:, I needn't have worried. I absolutely loved my e-reader, pretty much from the moment it arrived. Within a couple of hours of getting it, I wasn't aware of the fact that I was reading on an electronic gadget.

Somewhat emboldened by my e-reader success, I went on to try audio books. I started about a year ago - and now I have a monthly membership of Amazon's Audible website. I get one download a month for my membership fee. I can download more if I want, but I need to pay extra for them. There are other plans available - but that one suits me just fine.

I wish that I had tried it years ago. It's a really handy way to fill what would otherwise be wasted time for me. If I'm on a long car journey, I find that listening to an audio book is a great way to pass the time. Even when I'm stuck in traffic, it's somehow not so bad if I have a good read to listen to.

The other time when I really enjoy listening to an audio book is when I'm going to sleep at night. I put my iPod into my bedside iPod dock, set it to "sleep" after an hour, and doze off listening to something entertaining. I find it much easier to get off to sleep that way.

Normally I choose a book that I've already listened to when I'm going to sleep. Some of the narrators have very soothing and soporific voices. It can really help you to get to sleep.

Which brings me to one of the things that you have to be a little careful of when choosing audio books. It's really quite important to choose a book which is narrated by someone who has a pleasant speaking voice and which you find appealing. There have been a couple of books where, although I enjoyed the book, the narrator's voice grated just a little. It spoils the experience somewhat.

Fortunately, most audio book sources will let you listen to a short sample of each book before you decide to download it - and I recommend that you do this to avoid any disappointment.

As far as the mechanics of audible books goes, it couldn't really be easier. The best way to buy them is to get them online, listen to a sample before you buy and then download them to your PC or iPod. I use an iPod myself, but these books will work with any number of different devices these days.

So, if you're a bit of a bookworm, then I would recommend audio books as a good way to make the best use of your time - and maybe sneak in a couple of extra books as well.

Most sites have a trial membership, so you will be able to find out if it's something that you enjoy or not.


iPod Dock

Philips AJ7040D 37 iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock
Amazon Price: $139.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2014)
I have an iPod dock on my bedside table. It's great for listening to audio books (or music) as I doze off.

Audible Audio Books Explained