Until very recently (26th of July, to be precise), the only straight-forward way to purchase a wide variety of audiobooks was through that huge corproration, with all its exploitative practices. The international launch of Libro.fm marks a shift in not only the market balance for audiobooks, but an impirtant one for reader accessibility.
An ethical alternative to Audible, they sell DRM-free audiobooks and share their proceeds with indie bookshops. Through their website, you can choose to support your own local indie as you acess your next audio-read!
The Lighthouse team is ecstatic. Finally, we can release our collective love for audiobooks and recommend the favourites we've been amassing through the years. To celebrate, we asked our in-house audiobook-lovers about the WHY, the WHEN/WHERE and the WHAT of their audiobook-listening:
I love audiobooks for long walks or journeys, and because it means i can do TWO types of leisure activity at the SAME time = book and painting! Book and crochet! Also i find them very soothing when i’m ill and too sick to look at a page or at a screen, it really evokes the cosy comfort of being gently read to that reminds me of my childhood
Audiobooks were a lifeline for me during the pandemic - when everything locked down and it was just me in the bookshop for 10 hours a day packing parcels, listening to stories kept me sane. I devoured 5 or 6 books a week and finally read the modern classics I'd been meaning to get to (Angela Davis, Sara Ahmed, Andrea Levy, Becky Chambers) Back then I relied on the Libby app from the library (which is a gift! try it!) but it didn't have all the books I was hungry for, or there were waiting lists so I'm loving the freedom of Libro.fm! Now I get my audiobook time on the walk to work through Arthur's seat with Artemis and I mostly indulge in queer romance - feel good books to compliment some of the heavier reading I have to do for the shop.
I was a late convert to audiobooks, but in the past year or so I've been devouring them quite consistently. The hands-free reading is very helpful, because that convenience has meant I can cook and clean or walkabout at the same time.
I find that I have two settings for audiobooks: non-fiction or comfort reads. I read My Fourth Time We Drowned which I want absolutely everyone to read because it's so so important, and then followed it up with all of Martha Wells' Murderbot series because I needed the metaphorical hug of that little doom robot making friends. I would also recommend such excellent audiobooks as anything written by Becky Chambers (Patricia Rodriguez is a great narrator), and Untypical by Pete Wharmby - who does the reading himself.
Which brings me to another thing - voices are important when deciding which audiobook to read, some gel well and sometimes maybe you'd rather read the physical copy yourself. Either way, I often look to see what my favourite narrators have worked on to find a new book to read/listen to.
The stories grandma forgot (and How I Found them). Also awesome as an audiobook cos it's read by Nadine and anyone who's heard her perform her poetry will know that it's very special and awesome to hear Nadine read you a story!!! And for those who have never heard her poetry performance, well it's still awesome!!!
Audiobooks have completely transformed my morning commute, helping me get back into reading after becoming a new parent. What's more, as an autistic person who's sometimes too overloaded to contend with words on a page, they keep reading wonderfully accessible.
Audiobooks of classics or books I know really well are a gift to a busy brain when I can’t get to sleep. And a great way to listen to non-fiction books in short bursts when walking or on commuting. I’d recommend Braiding Sweetgrass, read by the author Robin Wall Kimmerer
Inspired to give it a go? You'll find the Lighthouse store-front on Libro.fm HERE and each audiobook through the links above. The links below are for their physical, paper-format.