How to Read 7 Books Every Month Without Spending Your Free Time

Rachel Yerks

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If you struggle to do any reading nowadays, it isn’t too late. You can listen to audiobooks or get easily accessible eBooks without paying for anything. Below, I’ll explain in 3 steps how to read more, with a TLDR summary at the end.

Trust me – being able to read without sitting in one place for hours at the time was a game-changer, and I read multiple books each month now. I want to start off by saying before these past two months, I hadn’t read any books for pleasure in over four years. I’m not different than you.

Not reading as an adult is not uncommon. In fact, a 2019 study found that 27% of U.S. adults hadn’t read a single book in the past year. Most of us read books as children, but the habit didn’t stick and materials have become easier to access online in the form of videos and quick news articles.

In my experience, university sucked the joy out of reading when textbooks took up all my time. That’s why I never picked up another book for a while. Maybe with your 9 to 5, you’re too busy to crack open a book. Or are you?

Here’s how I did it and you can, too.

I Downloaded a Free Library App

It’s a huge waste of money to pay for access to books, whether through Audible or other means. There are multiple free apps out there that allow you to listen to all the books your library has — for free.

I use Libby [on iPhone]. I know there are other similar apps out there, so "shop" around for the one that works best for you. Don't pay for any of them - you don't need to. Request a library card from your local library and use it to make an account. You then have access to all the ebooks and audiobooks your library has available and you can make requests from other libraries in the system.

If you don’t have a library card, you can share an account with someone who does. Just make sure you don’t return their books early or max out the book requests [15 at one time].

Because of Libby, I don’t have to pay for books. I also have access to new releases, although sometimes the waiting lists are a month or two for brand-new books. Typically, the waiting list is about a week for books older than a year.

I Chose Audiobooks Over Ebooks

Ebooks limit you. You have to be staring at the screen constantly if you want to make any progress. I do occasionally request ebooks when audiobooks of the title are not available, but it is rare and they take me far longer [weeks] to finish.

Most audiobooks I’ve encountered are around six hours. If I listen for two hours a day, I can finish and return that book in three days. I can listen to a book while I clean the apartment. You can listen on your commute.

Audiobooks are versatile. They don’t force you to look at your phone or e-reader for hours like ebooks do. You can multitask successfully with audiobooks, and that saves you time.

Or you can look up at the ceiling for a few hours while someone with a nice English accent tells you about squirrels. The possibilities are endless.

I Listened to Books On 1.25x Speed

It’s not really a complaint, but if I had to have one about audiobooks it’s that the readers are quite slow. I can’t stand slow talkers, and audiobooks are no different.

Libby allows its users to speed up their audiobooks. I find 1.25x normal speed is my golden number. Of the 16 books I’ve read recently, only one needed to be slowed down. I get to listen to someone speak at a nice pace plus I finish my audiobooks quicker than ‘normal’.

Imagine if you were able to train yourself to listen to books at 2x normal speed. You’d be able to double your audiobook reading each month, without spending any extra time reading.

Now that’s how you make the most of your time.

The Books I Read in These Two Months

To satisfy any lingering curiosity, here are the books I’ve finished in the last two months, in order. Starred * are ones I cannot recommend enough.

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg *
  • Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
  • The Year of Less by Cait Flanders *
  • Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  • The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
  • You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
  • Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke *
  • 100 Ways to Bring Out Your Best by Roger Fritz
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore [Author of my favorite book of all time, Fire]
  • New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  • You Are a Badass — How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness by Jen Sincero
  • You Are a Badass Everyday by Jen Sincero
  • Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown [#17 — currently reading]
  • Not included on this list: 5 books I returned after a few chapters because I was no longer interested.

If you can’t tell, I’m a minimalist who enjoys self-help and personal finance. I also have a healthy Twilight obsession.

We learn a lot about ourselves by looking at the books we read.

We learn a lot about ourselves by looking at the books we read. If you’re into self-help, remember to utilize what to learn. If you’re into romance, maybe it’s time to spice things up.

Reading helps you realize what you want in life, whether you’re conscious of it or not. Take a moment and examine your reading habits. You may be surprised by what you find out.

I hope this article inspired you to get back into reading — or to stop paying for Audible.

Learning something new every day and discovering what you want in life is as simple as listening to audiobooks on your commute home.

If only everything were that simple.

TLDR: Paying for audiobooks is unnecessary. Utilize your local library. Customize the speed of audiobooks to fit more into your busy life. Learn more about who you are.

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Owings Mills, MD
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