BookBeat and our family’s favourite audiobooks

BookBeat and our family’s favourite audiobooks

This post is sponsored by BookBeat. For £12.90 per month, BookBeat gives listeners unlimited access to thousands of audiobooks, which they can access whenever they like, through their phone.

Read on to find out more – and if you’re interested, readers of the Pigeon Pair and Me can sign up for one month’s free trial, instead of the usual two weeks. Just go to to take advantage of the offer.

Stories on the go

Yesterday, I cooked dinner with Jeremy Irons breathing the wise words of Paulo Coelho, from The Alchemist, into my ear. Then when I went for a jog around the local streets, I switched to Gail Honeyman’s new best-seller, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. The funny, lively book was just the thing to take my mind off the groan of my muscles. Later today, I’m planning on catching up with Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things, narrated by the author herself, as background prep for our next book group get-together, where we’ll be discussing Roy’s new novel.

It’s easy to shunt books out of a busy lifestyle. To properly immerse yourself in a story, you need time to sit down, forget the clearing-up after dinner, and the prepping of PE kits and homework for the next school day. That’s rare, in our house. Audiobooks can help with snatching back a bit of time to properly immerse yourself in a good read.



It seems that lots of people have arrived at the same conclusion. Audiobook sales have shot up in the UK, with a 25% increase in the first half of 2017. With big-budget narrators and a vast choice of titles, audiobooks can be great companions on all those moments when your mind has time to wander: when doing the housework, gardening, commuting….the list goes on.

‘Netflix for audiobooks’

BookBeat is one of the market leaders in audiobooks, and is part of the Bonnier Group, a media group that started over 200 years ago as a small family bookstore. Books have always been part of the group’s history. Now Bonnier includes 175 companies operating in 15 countries, across all different media including film, TV, radio, publishing and digital platforms. When it comes to books and entertainment, they know their stuff.


Searching for poems on National Poetry Day

Den of Geek described BookBeat as being like ‘Netflix for audiobooks’. With thousands of books to choose from and unlimited downloads, it’s perfect for hardcore bookworms. Although it doesn’t include absolutely every title under the sun – we’ll still be digging out our old CDs to listen to Roald Dahl’s back catalogue, for example – BookBeat has a great range,  including new releases and classics. For £12.90 a month, you can stream books via your data or wifi, and also download audiobooks and save them to your library – so you’re able to listen even when you don’t have access to wifi. Once you’ve signed up, you can cancel your subscription at any time by logging into your account.

Family listening

We’ve been testing out BookBeat for the past few weeks. For a clan of book-lovers like ours, it works well. The unlimited downloads mean that every member of the family gets to choose titles they like. You can use one subscription across up to five devices, so long as everyone’s not listening at once (you cant have more than one person using the account at the same time).  So there’s no need for squabbling over Mum’s phone to listen to a story.

My eight-year-old son, in particular, has enjoyed listening to stories on Wednesday evenings, while his little sister is in her swimming lesson. I try not to let him play mindless games for the half hour when he’s sat with me at the poolside, and BookBeat’s helped keep him happy. First of all he dipped into two David Walliams titles: Mr Stink and Billionaire Boy. While he loved the film adaptations of these stories, the books themselves didn’t grab him, so instead he settled into David Baddiel’s AniMalcolm. BookBeat’s unlimited listening let him chop and change easily, and experiment with new titles.


Audiobooks make great travel companions. We’re often on the road, whether that’s car journeys, airline trips or hopping across to France on the ferry. In the future I can see us loading our devices up with titles at the same time as packing our suitcases. As you don’t need wifi to listen to BookBeat downloads, it’ll be easier to keep the children happy with stories on long journeys.

Our family’s top audiobook picks

So, after scrolling through the thousands of titles available through BookBeat, here’s what we’ve chosen to listen to. What do you think?

Me: We Should all be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is an eloquent argument by the author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. It’s adapted from Adichie’s TED talk of the same name, and describes her experience of sexism – and explains why everyone needs to be a feminist, for the good of society.

D: I Think You’ll Find it’s a Bit More Complicated Than That, Ben Goldacre

A collection of Goldacre’s columns for the Guardian, this audiobook offers bite-sized essays on science, ethics and statistics. Perfect for those with inquiring minds, Goldacre elegantly debunks and calls into question a lot of the myths that people often take for granted.

Austin (nearly eight): AniMalcolm, David Baddiel

This book is a funny romp. A boy who dislikes animals finds himself getting a little more aquainted with our furry and feathered friends than he anticipated. My son’s been glued to his earbuds with this title. He’s even asked to listen to the audiobook rather than have his bedtime story from me and D – something previously unheard of.

Gwen (aged five): Paddington, Michael Bond

At Gwen’s recent school learning meeting, the teachers recommended audiobooks as one of the ways to help children learn to read. Listening to a narrator, while looking at the words in a book, can help make a connection between the sounds, and what’s on the page. We’re yet to buy a physical copy of Michael Bond’s enduring classic to try this out, but Paddington has been our daughter’s story of choice from the BookBeat collection.

Do you like listening to audiobooks?

Don’t forget: readers of the Pigeon Pair and Me can sign up for one month’s free trial, instead of the usual two weeks. Just go to to take advantage of the offer.

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  1. October 3, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Ooh thanks for the recommendation, I’d never heard of this. I thought audiobooks were a bit pricey but this is a really good deal. I could do with some to listen to when I’m walking the dogs.

    • October 3, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      There are so many ways to fit them into a busy life, Nat. I’m a big convert!

  2. October 3, 2017 / 10:47 am

    This looks great. My children love audiobooks.

    • October 3, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Mine too.

  3. October 3, 2017 / 11:03 am

    This is something I will certainly look into!! I love reading and this will be perfect for when I am travelling (can’t read when travelling) or out and about!! Thank you for the recommendation.

    • October 3, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      yes, I bet this would be handy for people who get travel sick in cars.

    • October 3, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      Brilliant! Hope you enjoy listening x

  4. October 4, 2017 / 9:58 am

    You know I’ve never listened to an audiobook in my life! I do like the idea of having them on though while you cook dinner as I struggle to find time to read and cooking dinner is…less than awesome. Will have to give it a go!

    • October 6, 2017 / 11:16 am

      I’ve found them useful for helping me through those tedious tasks….

    • October 6, 2017 / 11:16 am

      I’ve found them useful for helping me through those tedious tasks….

  5. October 4, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    Oh I love the sound of this, I never thought about getting an audio book subscription before. I think I might switch from Netflix as it seems to be a bit of a time suck LOL!

    • October 6, 2017 / 11:16 am

      It’s a great alternative to the box!

  6. October 11, 2017 / 9:04 am

    I have not heard of this before but we have started to listen to audio books in the car so this sounds like a great app to try

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:46 am

      They’re so handy for car journeys.

  7. October 11, 2017 / 12:19 pm

    I like that David Walliams is on there and of course Paddington – it’s a classic! I have a 45 minute school run to walk every morning and love the idea of losing myself in an audiobook. You have me intrigued at We Should All Be Feminists……

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:47 am

      Check it out, Sam!

  8. October 11, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    Audio books are my absolute saviour for log car journeys – we’ve tried this as well and It’s great to have unlimited choice as I get to listen to some that way as well!

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:47 am

      Yes, it was nice to have my own choices for a change!

  9. October 12, 2017 / 1:10 pm

    I really want to read more, but it’s nigh on impossible, so I love the sound of this. It would be great to be doing something education as well whilst sitting in the car or on a plane or something! 🙂

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:48 am

      That’s what I figured. Good for keeping the mind active!

  10. October 12, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    We love Audiobooks and this looks like a great deal – they can be quite expensive x x

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Yes, unlimited listening – such good value.

  11. October 13, 2017 / 8:25 am

    What a wonderful resource! Had not heard of this before but shall try it out!

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Hope you enjoy it, Susanna!

  12. October 13, 2017 / 11:18 am

    We absolutely love this too and am listening to one now on BookBeat as I type too!

    • October 13, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Wicked multi-tasking, Karen!

    • October 15, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Yes, this does work out as a very reasonable price.

  13. October 13, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    The one month free trial is such a good offer! Great audiobook choices too. I need to check these out!

    • October 15, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      There are just toooo many fantastic audiobooks out there!

  14. October 14, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    We haven’t moved on to audiobooks yet, but this is such a fantastic idea. And I shall definitely be trying it out.

    • October 15, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      I think Monkey might enjoy it, Ting. x

  15. November 2, 2017 / 5:58 pm

    I might have to try this! I like the idea of a subscription too. I get through much more books when I listen.

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      Let me know if you do take it up, Donna! x

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