The Importance of Audiobooks (and a Giveaway)

The Importance of Audiobooks (and a Giveaway)

I’ve been particularly thrilled this year to start offering audiobooks of my novels. Audible and Amazon are offering audio versions of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to the Rescue. An audio version of Pride and Proposals will be available within a week or so, and audio versions of Christmas at Darcy House and President Darcy are in the works. Eventually I plan to have audiobook versions of all my novels.

One reason that I’m particularly excited about audiobooks is that they play a particularly important role in my life. Of course, they are handy to have in the car. My husband listens to books in his commute, and I often listen as I’m driving my children around town. As a family, we have listened to a number of audiobooks together on long car trips.

But I never realized how the real importance of audiobooks until I had a daughter who had difficulty learning to read.

She was in first grade and was supposed to do 20 minutes of reading a day.  I had to split up these 20 minutes into 3-4 chunks because reading was such a chore to her.  As someone who has found books to be an important part of my life and endless source of joy, I was alarmed.  We finally traced her difficulties to a vision problem known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI) in which the eyes do not function well together.  The doctor who examined her found that she couldn’t focus her eyes more than nine seconds without great effort.  Can you imagine trying to learn to read under those conditions?

We started her on vision therapy—with tremendous results. But the process took three years. In the meantime, I worried that she would lose interest in reading. How could she not when it was such a struggle? I read books aloud to her, which was very rewarding. (I read the entire Harry Potter series to her and then did it all over again when my son wanted to read it.) But she often wanted to read when I wasn’t available.

Thank God for audiobooks. They allowed her to be an independent reader—choosing what to read and when to read it without depending on another person. We were fortunate that our public library had many books on CD (eventually they started getting e-audiobooks and she now has a well-used Audible account).

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have audiobook technology available. If I had experience CI as a child, I would have been out of luck. But with the help of audiobooks, she still read eagerly—and learned to enjoy reading—even when it was difficult and painful to put her eyes to paper. When she graduated from vision therapy, she was able to read print books on her own—and she wanted to. With the help of audiobooks she had become an avid reader.

Her problems aren’t gone and probably never will be. Her eyes tire easily, which is a great challenge in school. She still “reads” audiobooks for pleasure because she needs to save her “eye time” for school-related tasks. Fortunately a lot of textbooks and works of literature (for English class) are available on audio; audiobooks are one of the major factors behind her success in school. She’s a freshman in college this fall and will do most of her textbook reading with audio technology.

Now that I have some of my novels on audio, it will make it easier for my daughter to read my writing. I’m not holding my breath, though. Although she liked Pride and Prejudice, she has a long list of books in her preferred genres that she would rather read. I don’t mind at all; I’m just glad she’s reading.

(One in 20 people suffers from Convergence Insufficiency, but most don’t know it. It leads to chronic eye fatigue and pain, difficulty doing close work, blurred vision, and many other symptoms. For more information on CI, visit CIHelp.org.)

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY.
I am giving away two audiobooks–Mr. Darcy to the Rescue and The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth–to two separate winners. Leave a comment below to be part of the giveaway (which will end at midnight EST on September 19).
Winners will be announced September 22.
 

47 Responses to The Importance of Audiobooks (and a Giveaway)

  1. Eye problems – know them well! I have suffered my whole life – 3 operations before 3 years of age and numerous years of hated “eye” exercises! My left eye is 20/20 w corrective lenses but the right never really responded to treatment and is turned outward. Never suffered with headaches, etc. but I can relate. Am 68, college graduate and now retired from State service – do needlepoint and other crafts besides trying to read all the P&P I can!
    Audible is heaven sent! My friend has been diagnosed with glaucoma that has quickly taken much of his sight. He’s so happy to find Audible – been able to “read” his favorite authors now – though not P&P!
    Already have all of your e-books but appreciate the chance for an audio version.
    Thank you and continue writing!

  2. I have only recently gotten on the audiobook bandwagon. There are many advantages to listening to them and you’ve mentioned an important one. Congrats on your upcoming audio releases!

  3. Loved your post. I haven’t really gotten into audio books although I have played a few JAFF CDs in my car which I checked out from the library. One can hardly find those any more. How nice that you want to have all of your books available on audio.

  4. I am sorry to hear that your daughter has CI, Victoria. I wouldn’t know what I would do if I have the same condition because I love reading. Thankfully audiobook is gaining in popularity which helps those of us with vision problems. Thanks for sharing your story and for offering the giveaway.

  5. I don’t have the convergence problem, I love to read books, but being a single mom sometimes it’s not so easy to find the time, so I love audiobooks because I can put them on my phone or tablet and listen to them while I browse the internet or work or whatever 🙂 I always love to have both the book and audiobook if they are both available 🙂

  6. As a mom and a teacher, this post hits me right in the heart! I am so glad you found out about her CI and that she is better!

  7. Audiobooks are awesome. One of my daughters is blind and audiobooks are the only way (apart from braille) for her to read a book. There’s reading software on the computer, but that’s no natural way of speaking. In short: the more audiobooks the better!
    I just finished the e-book version of President Darcy by the way, Great book! Now I’m half way through the Unforgettable Mr. Darcy by coincidence ?

    • Hi Heleen, Yes, my daughter listens to the computer generated voices in a pinch, but they’re not the same as a real narrator. I’m so glad you enjoyed President Darcy! Good luck with the giveaway!

  8. Thank goodness it was diagnosed early. I really think that will make a huge difference for her as she grows and becomes more confident!

    I typically read the book first, then will listen to the audio while driving or working. This way, if I get distracted, I don’t have to rewind. I love audio books, but traditional books have my heart!

  9. This will sound like everybody else, I too am so glad that there was a diagnosis and therapies available for your daughter. And that you have been such a great, supportive mom. Every mom that hears that also says ‘What else could I have done, it was my job!’ I know. Still, your daughter is not only blessed, but she sounds like a very determined young lady. The pride you have for her shines through in your post, thank you for sharing this.

    I’m so glad more of your books are coming to audiobooks. I’m turning 65 soon, and once I found myself with the time on hand to read more than I ever could before, my eyes started needing larger font. There went my enjoyment of paperbacks, and haunting the used bookstores. I count myself very lucky that e-readers came into existence when they did, but even so in the past few years I have increasing eye fatigue toward the end of the day. I have really come to rely on my Audible membership. I would love to win an audio book of yours.

    • Hi Michelle, I was thinking exactly that: “I did what I had to!” 🙂 I feel fortunate that she has the advantage of ereaders and audiobooks and other technology. It makes her problems so much more manageable. Good luck with the giveaway!

  10. I’m so glad to hear that your daughter is doing well and didn’t lose her love of books. What a blessing audiobooks are for those with any kind of vision problems. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. I understand that audio books are a godsend to people with vision problems of any type, plus many of my friends enjoy them on road trips and/or while doing housework or gardening. However I cannot listen to them; I fall asleep almost the instant they start. So I am glad print and digital versions continue to exist.
    How wonderful that your daughter has the opportunity to savour the joy and wisdom of books!

    • Hi Beatrice, My mother says she has that problem with audiobooks. I do think some people aren’t auditory learners (probably more visual learners) and so listening to a book isn’t for them.

  12. I love to read. When my partner passed, all I had was my best friend, who gave me a place to live, and my books. | made sure that the stories I fell in love with were apart of me in my one room abode. I had one book series on audio and I cannot tell you how many times I would sit and listen to those books while reading along. Books and audio books have helped me to go through some of the roughest times in my life with grace and humility and they will continue to grace my bookshelf and my ears.

    Thank you for sharing your talents as an author in book form and now in audio form.

  13. Audio books are so practical and give me great enjoyment. If I am not feeling well which has occurred throughout the past 6 years with life threatening diseases and conditions, I listen instead of tiring out my eyes. Your daughter is a strong person to have to manage this problem. Best wishes.

  14. audio books were a great part of my mom’ s last few years. she had macular degeneration from diabetes and lost her sight. she was an avid reader and was so depressed until i got her audio books. it made her last years so happy. Thank you for putting your stories in audio.

  15. What a wonderful story, Victoria! (Although, ‘story’ doesn’t seem like the correct word.) Your daughter is very lucky to have a great mom. Some people may not have realized where the problem lay or how to go about addressing it, but you did. Your daughter’s life will always be better for that. (I couldn’t learn to read or write and redid second grade because of that, and my mother was great about it, too, working to find where the trouble was and how to help)

    🙂 Congratulations on your audio books! 🙂

  16. I too have trouble with my eyes not working together (though I never knew it had a name) and went through eye therapy. I was not diagnosed until I was a working adult getting up to 3 eye migraines per day. I did my eye therapy with all the little kids who had theirs caught early lol. I can turn one monkey into two with the best of them! While I’ve always been an avid reader, my eyes tire easily and I too love audiobooks – they also allow my to continue reading as I move throughout chores in my day! I’m so happy for your daughter that hers was caught so early, it’s tough to figure out as a grown up! Love your books and will put the newest one on my list.

  17. Wow, I never thought something I do just for fun could be something of a need for others. How self-centered can we be as a human race.
    I am glad your daughter and so many others can enjoy reading a good book with this kind of technology assisted literature. And what an accomplishment for your little girl to get to college despite what I can imagine is an annoying difficulty. Good for her!

  18. I’m so glad your daughter is able to deal with her condition and enjoy reading as books have always been a major part of my life which was passed on to my children and now my grandchildren.
    I don’t have audible as I prefer to read at my own pace (often going back to ‘re read paragraphs) and I couldn’t concentrate enough while driving. However if I was unable to read then I would definitely have to try it as I couldn’t imagine my life without the joy of books.
    Please don’t enter me in the generous giveaway (luckily I have the e-books 🙂 )

    • Hi Glynis, I prefer reading ebooks too and I just listen to audio in the car, but I am so grateful they exist because my daughter wouldn’t understand the joy of reading without them.

  19. I was hesitant to use audiobooks at first but I am glad I gave it a try as now I find I would not want to do without them as they really help with frustration with gridlock traffic during my commute. In fact I am listening to The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth right now and enjoying it immensely. So happy your other titles are being released as well as I look forward to listening to all your works.

  20. Congratulations on the release of your audio books. I especially like to listen to them in the evenings to unwind after a busy day. Thanks for the giveaway

  21. I have recently started listening to audio books while I work a part time job. They pass the time and it’s great to get to “read” in situations where I would not be able to read with my eyes. I have not heard of CI before. I’m glad you figured out her condition and that your daughter likes to read even after her early and continued difficulties.

  22. Congratulations on your new audio book release and thank you for the giveaway! We are very fortunate that technology has been able to do so much for making books available to people in different formats. Audio books are really convenient for in the car or if you want to listen to them with other people and my mom and I have listened to several together over the years starting with the Harry Potter series when I was younger and intimidated by the size of them. Technology has also made it easier for my mom to read more books since as she got older she started needing to read large print and less books came in large print, however with eBooks she can change the font size and make any book into a large print book.

    • Hi Chelsea, Yes, technology really has made reading easier. In addition to listening to audiobooks, my daughter also changes the font size on the computer when she reads as well as the color of the text—and that helps. Good luck with the giveaway!

  23. Congratulations on your audiobooks! How wonderful that your daughter can enjoy literature through this format. Thank you for the chance to win a copy 🙂

  24. Congratulations on all these upcoming books on Audio. thank you for sharing about CI. Am glad you all found out early enough so you started on vision therapy.I hope her “eye stamina” will continue to improve with time. Please continue to do the home program your MD/therapist had given you for the muscles of her eyes.

    Like you, I have found the audio books greatly helps me enjoy the books I wish to complete. It is just so hard nowadays to find time to sit and read a book. I usually use my audio books when I am going to and from work or shopping.

    Thank you for another opportunity to win one of your books.

    Looking forward to more books in the future

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