New To Audiobooks? You Should Try Nonfiction First
by Sadie Trombetta
Woman listening to music through her headphones
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Before I started listening to audiobooks, I will admit, I was a bit skeptical of the idea. A hardcore bibliophile, I have always felt a certain attachment to physical books, but once I tried listening to my first nonfiction audiobook, I was obsessed. If you have never tried this kind of "reading," nonfiction audiobooks just may be the genre that gets you hooked.

Audiobook listening is a unique way to experience a book that is not only convenient for the reader on the go, but enriching to anyone who wants to be told a story the good old-fashioned way: out loud. Whether you're listening to a novel narrated by your favorite actor or a memoir read by the writer herself, audiobooks give you a new way to connect with your subject matter and the story itself.

Like traditional reading, audiobooks are amazing across genres, but when it comes to the best audiobook listening, there are even more benefits when the genre is nonfiction. Nonfiction is a broad genre, and under it's bookish umbrella you can find everything from memoirs and biographies to historical and scientific writing. So whether you're trying to learn about a new topic, understand another language, or get through a difficult read on an intimidating subject, audiobooks are there to help you understand and enjoy.

Ready to stop reading and start listening? Then nonfiction audiobooks are where you should start. Here's why:

Engaging narrators can help turn "boring" books into engaging stories.

A lot of people avoid nonfiction books in favor of fiction for fear that nonfiction is dull, boring, or hard. As a huge nonfiction reader, I can tell you firsthand that the genre has plenty of excitement, emotion, and interesting action to keep any reader interested. But, if you are still worried that a nonfiction book on World War II will be too tedious to get through, audiobooks may just be your new best friend.

With an audiobook, narrators help enhance the story in new and exciting ways that simply reading words on a page can't do. By using interesting tones and audible emphasis, or incorporating addition audio clips and other voices and even other actors, audiobook narrators have the power to to turn even the most mundane chapters into engaging story hours just like that.

Intimidating subjects become more accessible.

Just as audiobook narrators help readers get into subjects they would otherwise find boring, they can also help readers understand subjects that are difficult, confusing, or intimidating. Books that use a lot of scientific jargon, foreign language terms, or complicated historical names can seem like gibberish to someone trying to read them on a page. With audiobooks, however, narrators pronounce the tough stuff for readers, making it easier to understand and absorb the information in the book without the stress of second guessing every other sentence.

With young readers, nonfiction audiobooks also allow them to read above their level in both style and content. By doing so, they can hear new terms, enhance their vocabulary, and start to learn new subject matter that would be inaccessible to them at a lower level of reading.

Each chapter feels like a podcast, and makes them easier to get in and out of.

The structure of nonfiction books make them perfect for the audio format. Unlike fiction books that weave a longer, more plot-heavy narrative, nonfiction books are often sectioned off and divided in a way that breaks its content into smaller, more manageable pieces. Those pieces, whether it be a single essay or a chapter of the book covering a specific topic or time period, feel like their own separate episodes of a podcast. This structure makes them easier to jump in and out of, especially when listening on the go or while working out. The format allows listeners to start fresh with every new chapter or section, and doesn't get readers bogged down with the details of what happened the chapters before. There is no need to rewind when you're listening to nonfiction.

Multitasking is even easier when you're focused on the main concept, not the story details.

One of the main benefits of listening to an audiobook over reading a physical book is the ability to multitask. When you're plugged into an audiobook, you can do everything from drive to work to grocery shopping to running at the gym. Multitasking is even easier, and even more effective, when you're listening to a nonfiction audiobook versus a fictional story.

Similarly to the ways in which nonfiction audiobook chapters feel like separate podcasts that make them easier to jump in and out of, the content of nonfiction audiobooks make them perfect for general, easy listening. Whereas you may feel required to listen to every chapter and every word of a fiction novel so you don't miss an important plot detail, nonfiction books on subjects like science, history, or pop culture allow you to listen for the overall theme of the book and pull out the major important points instead of hyper focusing on each sentence. That's not to say you shouldn't enjoy and appreciate every beautiful sentence in a nonfiction novel, of which there are plenty, but take the opportunity of easier listening to get some chores done while absorbing the bigger picture instead of stressing over the details.

Long books are more transportable.

Let's face it: nonfiction books can be long. Who wants to, let alone has the space to, carry around a 768 page book on the Russian Revolution in their bag? No one, that's who, and that's why nonfiction audiobooks are perfect: they're small and they fit right in the palm of your hand. Sure, they may run over 18 hours in their narration, but they won't give you a crick in your neck to carry.