Have you ever bought an audiobook?

Economic Times in India recently reported that Audiobooks are gaining popularity in the Indian markets.

For their ability to reach out to people who cannot read and for those who want to multitask in modern day busy lifestyle, audiobooks in India are slowly getting popular, though the industry is still in its infancy.

Audiobooks have been popular among children but now famous books and novels are being converted into this format for adults too.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post about audio books. I mentioned that I didn’t think that audiobooks were doing well in Asian markets, now it looks like it is changing. I also wrote about the reasons I love audiobooks.

I love books – in any format. I bought the iPad to try save space on my bookshelves. I got addicted and started buying several titles on Amazon Kindle and via iBooks.

Recently, when I was listening to a podcast , I got a promotional code to get a free audiobook of my choice from Audible.com. Out of curiousity (how could I resist a FREE book?), I tried!

Do you know that Audible.com is a subsidiary of Amazon? I found out that you can listen to audiobooks from Audible.com on different devices, including iPod/ iPad, Android smartphones etc. According to the website, it currently has more than 85,000 titles.

I received my free audiobook and was very happy. The customer service at Audible.com was very quick to respond to questions and was very helpful when I ran into some billing issues later on.

A useful and interesting site –  NextAdvisor.com also came to my attention recently. It allows you to check out audiobook reviews, compares audiobooks subscription plans etc.

My fellow book lovers would often argue that electronic books will never replace the hard copies and I doubt many of them have tried an audiobook. I just loved the fact that I can consume books in different formats at different time. I usually listen to audiobooks when I am running. I do drag my iPad out to read during commute and sometimes, I laze by the pool or on my couch with a nice paperback novel.

However, I noticed that not many of my friends (those who actually read and love books) are into audiobooks. I asked the Rambling Librarian why and he said “short attention lifespan for spoken words …”

So, question – Have you bought an audiobook and why do you think they are not doing as well as other format of books? Price? Reading behavior?

For those of you who want to try one out, here’s a 30-day trial on Amazon/ Audible.com,  iTunes has a good selection and check out Simply Audiobooks too.

For my Singaporean friends, the National Library has a a good selection of audiobook titles too.

Happy Reading!

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Aahh… dolce far niente! A new year resolution

Ah! dolce far niente!. It means “pleasant idleness”, the sweetness of doing NOTHING (in Italian)

It is the start of a new year. Many friends have been posting their new year’s resolutions on Facebook. I believe in having goals and working towards them but somehow, like many people, I have not been very successful in keeping my new year’s resolutions.

This year, I decided to make only ONE resolution. One that sounds too simple and almost silly to make it as a New Year’s resolution.

I want to learn to find the joy of doing nothing. The two key words “Joy” and “Nothing.

Before you jump in to tell me how I should not be lazy (my mum would), I am not referring to being a beach bum, not finding employment or inactivity.

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” –  Winnie the Pooh

The concept of ‘doing nothing’ sounds good to many people but something that many fail to do, especially Asians (and women). Many of us are so used to being too busy and doing too much. Learning to do ‘nothing’ or finding the joy and sweetness to just do nothing sound like an impossible task. Doing nothing is not inactivity. “Sit” around is a verb, so is “Smell” the roses but how many of us are actually doing that?

I read a great article in ELLE magazine asking readers when was the last time you really take a day off to sit on your couch, with a nice cup of coffee, read a good book and not feel guilty about not cleaning the house, not running errand, not attending to last minute work emails and just give yourself a day to just ‘be with yourself” and “do nothing much?” The article went on to say that women are prone to suffer from guilt for taking time off for themselves.

For a long time, I had been so busy with work and when I had a day off, I also had a long ‘to-do’ list – “go for gym training, go to the bank, reply ‘urgent’ emails, pick up groceries, meet up friends for dinner etc” Before I know it, the day off was gone and I was tired and upset that I didn’t get to REST!

Recently, due to various reasons, I decided to take a break from work (I realised it was a great decision I made in 2010).

A part of me is so eager to find the next new exciting role, especially when great friends and contacts are enthusiastic about sharing work opportunities. The wiser bit of me is persuading myself to just take some time off to breathe, enjoy this rare period when I can truly do the things I have always wanted to do but always too busy to.

I am convinced that doing nothing takes more effort and more determination than to rush around and doing many things.

I am not saying that my goal is not to work so that I can master the art of doing nothing, what I am saying is, I want to learn to find the joy in resting and taking absolute pleasure in idling some times (even if it’s just spending 15mins each day after work lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling and not feel guilty that I’ve not updated this blog or not reply to my work emails).

My pastor often reminds us of a great revelation he shared about the topic -“restful increase.” Key words – Rest and you’ll find the Increase. I am not going to preach here (follow the link if you want to read more about what Pastor said…).

To end this post, here are some pictures of my New Year holiday at a lovely resort by the beach in Bintan, Indonesia where I learned to enjoy doing absolutely nothing much. I eat, sleep, rest, read, stare at the sea, at the sky and strolled from one end of the beach to the other by myself, listening to my favourite music …then eat and sleep again..”

So, today marks the start of my new year resolution – in search of la dolce far niente. The next time you see me stressed and rushing around doing 1001 things, you know what to tell me!