Audiobooks offer a flexibility their physical counterparts can’t, and romance as a genre lends itself generously to the audio format. It’s involved enough to keep you listening, but usually formulaic enough that it doesn’t require your undivided attention every second.
About a year ago, I got a dog. She’s a cute little Brittany named Dixie who is very well behaved –unless she doesn’t get walked twice a day, every day, at which point she will shred any paper products she can find in protest. Needless to say, I am now very familiar with every inch of my neighborhood. And while Dixie may find our walks endlessly fascinating, I’ve quickly found the importance of a good audiobook and some earbuds.
Prior to dog-walking duties, I didn’t listen to many audiobooks. The comforting heft of a book can’t be replicated by the compact power of a smartphone. But audiobooks offer a flexibility their physical counterparts can’t. Washing dishes and folding laundry become remarkably less tedious with a good book in your ears.

And if you’re in need of a little self-care? Pairing a story with your needlecrafts hikes the indulgence level right up. Any activity that doesn’t require your full attention can be improved with an audiobook.

Not all audiobooks are created equal, though. Just because you love reading a particular author or series doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy experiencing it through your ears. Take a pass on that new release everyone’s talking about, the one with the experimental structure tackling themes of power and politics. Trust me, those books are not best consumed while trying to scour last night’s dinner out of your favourite pan.
Romance though, is a genre which lends itself generously to the audio format. It’s involved enough to keep you listening, but usually formulaic enough that it doesn’t require your undivided attention every second. No need to worry about losing the thread of the story if you have to shift your focus to an inadvertently slipped stitch in the sweater you’re knitting.
I’m not the only one who’s realized how well-matched romance and audio are. In 2017, Romance Writers of America reported that 35% of romance readers were also audiobook users, and that number is going up.
In the past, one of the barriers to audiobooks was their high price tag. They can be expensive to produce, and that cost is passed on to consumers, with the audio version sometimes costing three times the physical book. That cost has gone down in recent years, though.
Audible launched its Romance Package in 2017 which allows readers to listen to as many books as they like (so long as they’re included in the package) for the cost of a monthly fee. With services like Audible and expanding library partnerships, audiobooks are more accessible than ever.
So, what makes for a great listen? Personally, I’ve found the most important factor to be the narrator.

You’ll be spending hours with this person’s voice; you should like the way it sounds.

Always listen to the sample and read the reviews. I once read the reviews of an audiobook I was considering and found several people mentioning that the narrator’s voice got oddly breathy at the end of sentences. I hadn’t noticed this myself, but upon re-listening, yep, there it was, and it was all I could hear.
However, if the narration is good and the content piques your interest, the battle’s mostly won. Those are the basic makings of a good audiobook, but there are also some bonus features that make for a next-level listen. First up is length. No matter how good the story, my interest will wane if it takes more than a week to finish. For me, this means it needs to be under about 12 hours. Plus, if the book clocks in at 30 hours, that’s usually a good indicator that the plot is too complicated for my liking (see above re: split focus). This is not the time for Games of Thrones level world-building.
Next, because you’re hearing the story performed, good dialogue can really shine in the audio format. Shelly Laurenston’s books are a great example of this. She writes characters, both female and writes characters, both female and male, with humour to spare, and she gives those characters plenty of dialogue to voice that humour. On the page, it’s witty and delightful. In the ear, it’s even more so (think Gilmore Girls with more innuendo). Hearing that dialogue performed elevates the story to the point that I prefer listening to her novels over reading them.
Of course, there will always be books where the opposite holds true. There’s nothing better than curling up on the couch to sink into the latest release of a much-loved author or flip through the pages of an old favourite. But since I’ve discovered audiobooks, I’ve managed to fit more romance into my reading life than ever before – and what’s not to love about that? ♥
#blushmagazine #romancelandia #audiobooks

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