8 Types of Audiobook Listeners

What type of audiobook listener are you? With audiobooks available on NetGalley, more members than ever before have started listening in. Whether you’re an audiobook beginner or you’ve made them a habit, we bet you’ll find yourself on this roundup of the eight types of audiobook listeners. 

The speed demon
This reader listens to audiobooks at high speeds of 2x or more. Likely a longtime devotee of the audiobook format, they enjoy nothing more than flying through one read after another.


The slow and steady
No need to rush, according to this reader. They listen to books at 1x and enjoy savoring the experience for as long as it will last.


The one with singular focus
This type of listener wants to truly relax while listening to an audiobook. Whether curled up in a chair or lying down in bed, they tune into the story and tune out all other distractions.


The nibbler
This audiobook reader hits play at every opportunity: washing the dishes, taking the trash out, making the bed. They use small chunks of time to slowly chip away at their latest listen.


The narrator loyal
These listeners are here for the performance. They have a list of their favorite narrators, and are willing to try just about any genre of book as long as they enjoy the person reading it.


The workout buddy
Forget music, this reader prefers audiobooks as their companion while working out—a thriller to get the heart racing or an engrossing fantasy to help distract from how many reps they have left.


The multitasker
The second they hit play, this listener is in motion. They love how audiobooks allow them to be productive in more ways than one, and choose to listen while they’re doing chores, cooking, grocery shopping, and more.


The commuter
Whether by car or train or foot, this listener gets their audiobook fill on their way to and from work! With many of us working from home these days, commuters might be struggling to find new time slots to listen to their audiobooks. We feel your pain! Luckily, making the transition to another one of the listener types on this list is as easy as pressing play.

What type of audiobook listener are you?

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

  1. Both a nibbler and multitasker here. I started out as a commuting listener 25 years ago, but tiny MP3 players I could essentially wear really upped my listening time. Sadly smartphone listening has a negative effect on available listening time since they are simply too bulky and fragile to lug around in my busy life and require some sit down and stay in place blocks–usually with my knitting needles in hand. As I run around my house or office, I can get out of Bluetooth range in a heartbeat, and several of my listening apps stop when I’m driving and can’t stop to get them going again. While I have fave narrators, I’m always up for listening to someone new. 1.25 is usually my speed of choice, 1.5 if I’m trying to hurry. I find that my concentration simply isn’t up to anything faster, and even 1.5 often eliminates my ability to savor the prose.

  2. I am a little bit of everything, depends where I am and what I am doing – that could be cleaning, cooking and writing up minutes. We listen in the car and last thing at night. I also buy kindle books to go with the audio as this enables me to switch between the two, so double enjoyment I am a definitely narrator loyal, in my experience I have had a whole series destroyed by the wrong person reading.

  3. I am a multitasker and a narrator loyal. Have discovered that if the wrong person reads the book it totally ruins it – especially if the author changes the narrator through the series that is fatal for me!

    Multitasking includes housework, cooking, gardening and best of all writing up minutes!

  4. I started as a commuter but quickly transitioned to a multi-tasker nibbler. And now I have favorite narrators so yes, I seek them out. At first, I felt guilty about audiobooks but then I realized that my love of reading started with my mother reading me books. Duh, narrating. Grin.

  5. I’m one with singular focus most of the time, and I usually listen at 1.2, unless the narrator has a heavy accent. If I’m listening on my phone I’m all over the place.

  6. I’m “the nibbler” but REALLY “the workout buddy.” I thought I was odd because audiobooks are so much easier to listen to while I’m running than music. I don’t know if it’s the steady pace of the narrator in comparison to different songs or it’s just because I love to read, but I’m always listening to an audiobook when I run. 🙂

  7. I am a nibbler, a commuter, and a multitasker! If I’m loving an audiobook, I will listen at any opportunity. Sometimes at the gym, too!

  8. I’m definitely the Multitasker when it comes to audiobooks. I cook, do laundry, paint, color, walk and garden. At bedtime I set the sleep timer and my book will stop at the appointed time, but of course in the morning I have to back track to the point that I remember before falling asleep.

  9. Interesting article. I’m part nibbler part singular focus. I started The Count of Monte Cristo today, and went through a couple narrators. I love reading along while the narrator performs the French, etc.

  10. I am a slow but steady work out buddy audio book listener. For a truly fulfilling day, I need to have a few hours with my audio book to focus my well being and experience joy.

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