Friday, 11 September 2020

Audiobooks: A Scientific Study by Kelly McCaughrain et al (2020)

Experimental conditions:
  1. I've gained almost a stone during lockdown
  2. The only exercise I really enjoy is walking
  3. Walking a decent distance takes AGES and I feel guilty about wasting time when I should be working.

But if you're a writer, reading IS working. Right? So if I listen to audiobooks, I can walk for hours, lose loads of weight, and not feel guilty!


  1. Sign up for Audible membership (£8 a month)
  2. Borrow your Ma's FitBit and spend a whole day working out how to use it


1. Audiobooks appear to be quite expensive, but with Audible you get one every month for £8, which you'd pay for a paperback anyway so I thought that was fair enough. Plus they seem to have members sales occasionally when everything is the price of a paperback, so I don't think it works out any more expensive than my usual bookbuying habits.

2. They have a really good selection, which my library doesn't, though it is worth checking every title to see if it's available at the library before you buy it.

3. You can also 'read' audiobooks in bed when your eyes are tired and your husband wants the light out.

4. Listening to audiobooks in bed is a really effective way to fall asleep.

5. I have qualms about the Amazon thing. I don't like Amazon and I try not to buy much from them, and I never buy books from them because I know authors and publishers get a raw deal from their reduced prices. I thought the audiobooks would be different because the prices were so high, but they do have those sales so maybe they're not different at all. I don't know. I'm conflicted and if anyone has info/advice/alternatives I'm open to hearing them.

6. Audiobooks make exercise funner. I'm just saying, if Frodo had had LOTR on audiobook, the journey to Mordor would have seemed a lot shorter. 

7. Novels work but Short stories are better on paper.

8. Juliet Stevenson has the best reading voice ever in the history of the universe.


I've lost 9lb in five weeks.

Kelly McCaughrain is the author of the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year,
Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

She is the Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland #CWFNI

She also blogs at The Blank Page



Penny Dolan said...

A worthwhile experiment which seems to have had a great (or 9lbs less great)outcome. Kelly. A useful reminder and ploy as the weather gets less inviting.
The time that "Going For A Walk" takes annoys me too so this may be a good way of solving my problem.

However, a small warning, to everyone. Be careful about always listening through the night. So easy to forget to reset the timer once you're a bit groggy and have restarted.

I'm saying this, as for various reasons, over the years, I got into the habit of sleeping with speech radio/recordings.

It was a way of coping at the time, but eventually I was almost unable to relax and sleep without the sound of speech, which I am sure isn't good for the brain or night time sleep patterns. Over the last month or so, I've been trying to break the habit and it isn't easy.

(nb. I've often drifted off to the soporific Melvyn Bragg, and ended up many "In Your Times" episodes later - and with the annoyance of not being able to remember a single item of information either.)

Kelly McCaughrain said...

Good to know, Penny! I'll be sure to set timers in future.

Jen Robinson said...

I'm glad your experiment was a success. I've been an Audible subscriber for many years (since before they were part of Amazon), and there's no question that audiobooks have helped keep me exercising. I also find them useful when I'm doing mundane chores like folding laundry. I wish you well continuing with your walks as the weather worsens. (Here in CA there will be no walks for me for a while, until the air quality gets better.)

Kelly McCaughrain said...

Thanks Jen, they're great for gardening and DIY too. Although gardening is my quiet time too so sometimes I don't listen to anything. Hope you get to go walking again soon.

Katherine Langrish said...

You are so right about Juliet Stevenson!

Kelly McCaughrain said...

Isn't she great! Although Robert Hardy does a REALLY good Vile Bodies too.