Torbjorn Zetterlund

Fri 30 2016

I have discovered Audiobooks

by bernt & torsten

I wrote an article recently about Multi-tasking is out – single tasking is in. Now I have discovered the ultimate in Multitasking, Audiobooks. I know, I’m late – certain technologies take longer for me to try or adopt. Audiobooks are one.

In the 70s and 80s when I grow up

I read lots of books, I was a member of a book club that sent me a new book every month. I got to read, eventually, the books got replaced by a computer and lately with a mobile phone. It seems I did not have enough time to read for pleasure or I was too tired working in front of a computer all day long.


Recently I discovered Audiobooks, I was visiting my sister and she was walking around in her garden with her headset on, I was asking her what song she was listening to, and she said I’m listening to a book. I had not taught about listening to a book being read to you.

I thought I will try it out, that evening I got reminded again about audiobooks, an audiobook publisher advertised their new service on TV. The next day I download the app for Android from the Audiobook Publisher BookBeat(Swedish only).

The cost to me is 13 Euro a month, I can listen to as many books as I want and I get the books read to me in Swedish which is my native language, I been living abroad for so long that I lost the new parts of the language and this is a way to get that back.

Long Drive

I had a long drive from my sister’s house to my son’s house, a 6-hour drive – as I was alone I put on an audiobook.  I download the book “Det som inte dödar oss(The Girl in the Spider’s Web)” I was going to listen to on my drive.

I like the option that the audiobooks are available to be read on my mobile as well, I like the options to read or listen.

Listen to a book on a drive

I set off on my drive, I noticed that time just flew by while driving when the story picked up in my ear, normally when I drive I speed, listening to the book I was driving slower more within speed limits. The audiobook was 12 hours long, when I reach my son’s house more than 6 hours later I still had not finished the book.

The next day I was driving back to my house another 8 hours’ drive from my son’s house. I got hooked listening to the book when I crossed over from Denmark to Germany – I had the Autobahn in front of me to let me speed, instead, I turned off the autobahn and took back roads as I want to listen to the Audiobook.

When I finally got back home, my wife asked me why did it take so long, I was listening to a book so I took back roads to drive slowly and listen to the book.


My experiences were so great, so a week later I was heading out on a 200 km bike ride on my own, so I got another book to listen to – listening to the book made my bike ride feel shorter, I can get away with listening to an audiobook while biking in Netherlands where I live,  as there are dedicated bike lanes.

It may be a completely different experience if you bike on a road with cars, I think that will not work that well. As you can get really absorb into a story.

At the office

I also tried out audiobooks at work, the office I work in is an open office concept, my work is sitting at a desk and working with a computer. There is a lot of white noise in an open office, and I noticed that it tires me out, when I get home I’m just sit down in front of the TV.

So, I started to listen to audiobooks at work, so I sit work and I listen to a book, and what I noticed is that it filters out the white noise I feel more alert when getting back home. I also notice that if I tuned into an audiobook, I was able to focus and organize much better.

On the downside, my colleagues may think I’m anti social by not chatting with them, I get things done quicker as I work in single-task mode – multi tasking by listening to a story.

What book to choose

You have to choose the right books when you listen to them in the office, I recently listening to romantic thriller, there was one chapter that describes an explicit sex act between the two main characters in the book. Added to that it was read by a female wonderful narrator that was reading the chapter in a compelling way, which made it even richer literary experience.

I really got into the book, got lost just listening – got a bit excited, after words I reflected, this is not what you should listen to at work. So, I changed types of books, more self-helping books at work, just know I’m listening to The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari or audiobooks that are related to my work.

Romantic thrillers

I keep the romantic thrillers for home use, I really like this new experience listening to books while I do other things, I have reclaimed time that would otherwise be lost in today’s 24/7 work world.


I can read this way on my mobile phone while cycling to work; forget my discomfort standing in line boarding a plane; and even slip the mobile phone into a pants pocket when I’m doing other chores around the house. Suddenly I am a voracious reader again.

For those who say that listening to audiobooks isn’t “reading,” I heartily disagree. It’s simply another way of consuming them. And when a wonderful narrator reads a compelling story, it’s an even richer literary experience.

What is your experience with audiobooks, let me know?