When I was nearly two, my mother brought my sibling into the world—which means she suddenly had considerably less time to read to me. But, because my mother is brilliant, I don’t remember ever feeling neglected or jealous of my baby brother (I probably was). Instead I remember hours and hours of playing the audiobooks my mother made for me of my favorite picture books—going through the stack and, once I reached the bottom, starting again at the top.
The reason I didn’t revisit audiobooks for over twenty years is not a complete mystery— major impatience and excessive pride in my ability as a child probably had something to do with it, even when reading had unpleasant repercussions (I get motion-sick). You think I would’ve eventually grown out of it, especially in college when I could have spent the hours on art homework or driving home for the weekend engrossed in a book. But I didn’t. Partly it was the cost (audiobooks tend to cost more than books), partly it was portability (read, the many, many scratch-able discs), and partly I just didn’t realize what I was missing. But when you work in an indie bookstore and someone asks you to try out this cool new audiobook app, you agree.
Initial impressions—Libro.FM is awesome, y’all:
First of all, they’re an independent online audiobook store. The fact that they are challenging the mega-company deathgrip on audiobooks is INCREDIBLE and I love it. Not only that, they’re partnering with indie bookstores (like BookPeople!) to offer our customers more options—more options that also help the local economy and ensure authors get paid fairly.
Secondly, Libro.FM deals in the digital, which make it so incredibly easy to use. I can listen to my book on my phone, my laptop, on my work computer, in my car—I can take my book with me ANYWHERE and listen to it now or in 6 months because I own it. It’s not going to be deleted or changed because Libro.FM is dedicated to independence, for us and them.
Finally, Libro.FM has over 70,000 titles, and nearly all of the NYT bestsellers. I cried listening to Carrie Fisher’s voice read The Princess Diarist shortly after her passing, and the books on my next-to-read list include Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and A Separation by Katie Kitamura. They have books in all genres for all ages—I just finished The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (Newbery Honor winner!) and the audio delivery of this chapter book is perfect for the story’s interviews with people who’ve encountered the holy children. Plus, the sound quality is always excellent, even when I increase listening speed because a voice is moving too slowly for my (still impatient) taste.
Audiobooks, as I have finally remembered, are pretty fantastic. They make excellent companions on long trips, they’re fun solo or when you listen with a friend, and they significantly reduce road rage (seriously, a miracle in Austin). You can listen to them while doing chores or hobbies (have you tried watching TV while painting, or gardening…or carving a wood block?!), and best of all, they really do count as “reading a book”. Just like reading a book, an audiobook provokes the imagination (and more than a movie does); stimulating creativity and that sense of wonder all the best books provide.
Talk to a bookseller or got to www.libro.fm/bookpeople to sign up for a Libro.FM Membership! Your first month is only $.99 and $14.99/month thereafter (approx. half what most audiobooks cost), which entitles you to one audiobook per month and 30% off additional titles. If you’re currently an Audible customer, sign up in-store to receive credits for switching!