Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Whispersync Will Change Your (Book) Life

Obviously I’m a massive reader but last year I really struggled to get through many books. Instead I was watching TV shows on my commute and, as it turns out, that’s the only time I really have for reading. So I set myself a goal of reading more books this year and one of the things I’m using to achieve it is audiobooks.

The only time I’ve used audiobooks in the past was when I was a kid and I listened to Roald Dahl stories on cassette during long car journeys. I remember loving the atmosphere and getting to hear the characters was amazing to my young mind. It also meant I could get on with other important things at the same time, like playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my GameGear.

The downside is that not all books are available in Audible and those that are may not be set up with Whispersync. But the product pages on Audible and Amazon state when a title is Whispersync compatible. But the bigger issue is the need to get the two digital files separately and paying for both of them. The Amazon detail page lets you “add narration” after you’ve bought the eBook, at a reduced cost, but if you're an Audible subscriber (£7.99 a month) you get one audiobook for free a month anyway. So far I haven’t subscribed to Audible as I can't always get the narration for the book I'm reading so can't justify the monthly price. And that's often an issue with audiobooks: they are not always affordable and can cost more than the physical book, let alone the digital one. Which makes sense from a sheer production point of view, but it can make it daunting to get both the audio and visual equivalents.

There are a host of options for digital audiobooks you can download to your phone or tablet. The two biggest providers are obviously iTunes and Audible. The latter is the one I’ve been trying and for me it wins for one key reason: Whispersync. If I have a book on my Kindle and I have the same book on Audible I can carry on reading or listening from the point I stopped. Why is this useful? It means I can listen to my book at work or at home while I’m doing a non-brain engaging activity and then when I open the book up on my Kindle I can carry on from where the audio stopped. One important note: while my phone can sync up almost anywhere via 4G, my Kindle is Wifi only. But all I do is make sure I login to the Wifi at work or home (which happens automatically anyway) so that my devices can stay in sync with each other.

Despite the added cost I'm loving using audiobooks, especially where the narration is good or simply over the top. If you’re looking for a cool and immersive way to get through more books you should give the “add narration” option a go and even try out an Audible free-trial if you think you’re someone who will get through at least one audiobook a month.

*In the interest of openness, I am currently an employee of Amazon’s but I don’t have anything to do with Whispersync or Kindle Books, so will not profit in anyway if you decide to give Audible a go. This is purely my own experience that I wanted to share as I think it's awesome.*

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