Wish You Had More Time to Read? 4 Ideas

Do you love to read but don’t feel like you have enough time? Here are four of my favorite ways to get more reading in.

1. Download an audiobook. This is my favorite way to catch up on those books that I’ve been meaning to read. It seems like, even during my busiest days, there are times when I find myself wishing I could be doing something more productive. Maybe I’m waiting for the Girl Scout meeting to finish, or I’m organizing my junk drawer, or I’m taking the dog for a walk. When I have a good audiobook, time seems to fly right by. Another bonus: I find that if I have something really juicy and suspenseful on my iPod, I will go for a longer run than I would otherwise (so my leg muscles and my Labrador both benefit.)

You can actually get free audiobooks in a number of different ways. First, check your local library for books on CD or books on tape. Some libraries even have a way that you can download audiobooks via their website. (Typically, you can listen only for a specific period of time, because you are borrowing the audio and not purchasing it.)

You can also get select titles (both human-read and computer-read) free through Project Gutenberg as well as through LibriVox.org, where volunteers read chapters from public domain titles. The New York Times has a free collection of author interviews and readings here that you might enjoy.

You can pay to download audiobooks individually through websites such as iTunes, eMediaExpress and audible. If you find yourself paying for more than one audiobook each month, you will probably save money by paying for a monthly subscription to an audio book website, such as audible.com and SimplyAudioBooks.com. My favorite (and the membership site that I belong to) is  audible.com. You’ll pay a monthly fee (pricing depends on how many books you plan to download per month), but you save big over purchasing each title ala carte.

If you are going on a road trip, remember that Cracker Barrel restaurants have an audio book program, Basically, you purchase an audio book on CD at one Cracker Barrel and then return the book at the next Cracker Barrel. They refund the purchase price, minus $3.49 for each week you’ve had it. (Details are subject to change. Visit Cracker Barrel for all the current details.)

kindle.jpg2. Get a Kindle. The Kindle wireless reading device is a beautiful thing. It’s lighter than a paperback, thin as a magazine, and it holds some 1500 books. The new version, Kindle 2.0, will even read to you. The price has come down to $259, and it’s fabulous – so if you read a lot, it might well be worth it. It ships for free, if that helps. :)

3. Subscribe to PhilosophersNotes. If you love self-development titles but don’t have a lot of time, give Philosopher’s Notes a try. Creator Brian Johnson artfully distills his favorite and most life-changing books to a 6 page PDF and a 20 minute mp3 recording. At the time of this writing, you can get 52 notes (includes both the PDFs and mp3s) for $20, but Johnson is adding new notes all the time, so these details are subject to change. I find that these are great to listen to again and again.

4. Stash books everywhere. I have a book in my glovebox, and another by my bedside. I have a book near my stove and another near the couch. Some books are good enough that I take them everywhere. Others, I keep where I will enjoy them most. For example, I can’t read Harry Potter right before bed or I end up dreaming about basilisks, so I keep that where I can sneak in a few pages during the day – and I keep something a little more  dreamy and inspirational by my bedside.

I hope you find lots of extra time to read the world’s wonderful books.