I love to read and try to set myself up to read a couple of books each week (as measured by a year-long approach). I typically have 6 or so books going at the same time and read about 10 pages per day in each book. I organize my reading in 6 categories: Personal Growth/Soul, Pastoral Ministry, Theology, Counseling, Fiction/Pleasure, and Christian Biography. Currently my reading list looks like this:
Personal Growth/Soul: The Rare Jewell of Christian Contentment (Jeremiah Burroughs)
Pastoral Ministry: Preaching (Tim Keller)
Theology: The Meaning of Marriage (Tim Keller)
Counseling: The Trellis & The Vine (Colin Marshall & Tony Payne)
Fiction/Pleasure: The Twelfth Imam (Joel Rosenberg)
Christian Biography: D.L. Moody: A Life (Kevin Belmonte)
I have known that audiobooks were available through a variety of sources but had never thought I would enjoy listening to a book. Boy was I wrong!! I decided to try the 30 day free trial at Audible a couple of weeks ago. They offer one free credit that allows you to download one book. You can continue the monthly subscription after the free trial for $14.95/month for 1 credit (1 book) or $22.95/month for 2 credits (2 books).
Being a bit skeptical, I decided to pick a book that I knew would keep my interest and one that I would probably not buy in hard copy. My choice: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (the founder of Nike). Let me just say I was hooked from the first paragraph. I listened to Shoe Dog while working out and while driving to and from the church office (It is amazing how much of a book I can consume in a 5 minute ride). Our family also took a vacation soon after I downloaded the book and I listened to a good bit of it while we traveled to Virginia. The book was absolutely fascinating and I was blown away by the immense struggles experience in the early years of Nike (originally named Blue Ribbon Shoes). If you are looking for a great read about entrepreneurship and tenacity then read Shoe Dog. Audible’s iPhone app is incredibly user friendly and I have already picked out quite a few books that I want to listen to soon.
The only issue I see with the Audible program is that regular priced books are expensive, even with the 30% discount for members. If you are planning to listen to more than 1 book each month it pays to get the $22.95/month plan that gives you 2 credits (2 books). Since I did not want to pay for an additional book I figured I would wait until my next credit drops and then pick one out. But in the meantime I discovered Librivox. This is a website and app that offers free ebooks and audiobooks. Yes you read that right…FREE! There is one major difference between Librivox and Audible though. Librivox only has books that are available in the public domain (not copyright protected). You will not find the latest bestseller on Librivox but you will find many of the classics (you should have read those by now) and other neat works that are worth reading. Currently, I am listening to Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton.
At the moment, I am hoping that I will be able to use both Audible and Librivox to download a couple of books each month. I think 2 books/month will be plenty and the selection both services offer should give a great variety. Truthfully, there are some classics that I need to read and Librivox will push me to read them.
Sorry for the nerdy post about books but they are a huge part of my life and ministry. After all…leaders are readers. If you have never listened to a book take advantage of your free Audible trial or the free books available at Librivox. As always, I would love to hear what you think of audiobooks and which books you are currently reading/listening to!