Congrats, Summer Listening Challenge Finishers!

More than 40 independent bookstores participated in our first ever, Summer Listening Challenge.

Each participant was asked to log 20 hours of listening and tell us which bookstore they supported and what activities they did while listening. You can find the summary of results in the graphic below.

From booksellers to toddlers, and meditation to metalsmithing, there is an audiobook for everyone and no limit on the activities that can be accomplished while listening! But more importantly, with each listen through Libro.fm customers supported their local bookstore and their local community. Enough from us, hear what our finishers had to say after listening to more than 1,660 hours of audiobooks.

“I’ve completed my summer listening (I listened to sooo many books) and appreciate your encouragement!” – Sierra, supporter of Powell’s Books

“Thank you so much for offering this audio-focused reading challenge! I’ve always loved audiobooks, and my sons have gotten hooked in the past year.” – Pamela, supporter of Blue Willow Books

“So fun! I felt like a kid again, participating in my local library’s summer reading program!” – Jen, supporter of Vroman’s Bookstore

“Loved listening to books this summer! Thanks for being an amazing company!” – Kadine, supporter of Elliott Bay Book Company

Audiobooks of the Month: Back to School + Learning

The leaves are starting to change color and the air is becoming crisp. You know what that means: back to school! This is the perfect time for everyone to renew their focus on learning and set goals for the year ahead.

Audiobooks are perfect for helping you meet your goals. Did you know listening to audiobooks has been proven to build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension?

Audiobooks encourage critical thinking and active listening skills, and provide a great alternative to screen time on tablets and smartphones. And no, audiobooks are not cheating! …they’re a fabulous way to learn and grow.

Below is a handpicked list of books to help you fall into learning through listening.

Brain Rules – Dr. John Medina’s fascinating and funny book on how the brain works. Learn the best practices for taking care of that precious organ between your ears.

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter books have been thrilling readers—and enhancing their vocabularies and comprehension—now for 20 years.

The Good School – Peg Tyre offers parents smart and sophisticated ways to assess a classroom and decide if any school or teacher have the right stuff to teach their child.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – Betty MacDonald’s classic about the lady with the upside-down house is a great book to help your elementary age child leap over that word gap.

SAT – This is your guide to making SAT vocabulary words quick, easy, and fun…all while you’re on the run.

Thinking Fast and Slow – Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.

Cosmos – There’s no better guide to understanding our galaxy and its inhabitants than Carl Sagan’s bestselling classic.

Brain Rules for Aging Well – Dr. John Medina, author of the NYT bestselling Brain Rules, shares how we can learn to make the most of the years we have left.

The Better Angels of Our Nature – In this gripping exploration of humanity’s past, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker forces readers to rethink their deepest beliefs about progress, modernity, and human nature.

The Boxcar Children –75 years ago, four orphans made a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest, and the Aldens have been introducing elementary-age children to the love of reading ever since.

Back to School – Your child can learn about the Amish through following Rachel as she learns life lessons of love and forgiveness.

How to Talk So Kids Will Learn – Faber and Mazlish’s #1 NYT Bestselling book illustrates their time-tested method to help kids handle the problems that interfere with the learning process.

Homo Deus – From the NTY bestselling author of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari’s book explores the projects, dreams, and nightmares of the twenty-first century—and asks what the future holds.

Talk Like TED – Carmine Gallo has interviewed top TED presenters and broken down their finest talks to discover nine secrets to better presenting one’s own ideas.

Audiobooks of the Month: Summer Reading Picks

Previously Audiobook of the Month, we would like to introduce Audiobooks of the Month! Each month a theme will guide our list of suggested audiobooks to suit a variety tastes and interests. We look forward to sharing this broader monthly list and accompanying themes with you.

For August, our theme is: Summer Reading Picks. Everyone these days is talking about their favorite summertime reads, so we’ve compiled selections from celebrity book clubs, our own partner stores, and our first Summer Listening Challenge finishers. What is Oprah Winfrey reading? How about Andrew Luck? What are Ann Patchett and Emma Straub talking up at their bookstores? What are customers of Vroman’s listening to? Whether you prefer the sun or the shade, there’s a summer read here for you.

Oprah Winfrey says Imbolo Mbue’s highly acclaimed debut novel Behold the Dreamers has “…got everything that’s grabbing the headlines in America right now.”

Emma Straub, author and owner of the bookstore Books Are Magic, picked Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, deemed by the New York Times a “strikingly symphonic novel.”

Customer and supporter of Wild Geese Bookshop, Jerry H., recommends Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman which accompanied him through work and travel.

For his book club, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck chose the New York Times bestseller Undaunted Courage, Stephen E. Ambrose’s definitive book on Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.

Jeff Kinney, author and owner of the An Unlikely Story bookshop, suggests Kim Scott’s Radical Candor, which explores how to be a “…Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.”

The inaugural pick of actor Sarah Jessica Parker’s book club, No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts reimagines The Great Gatsby through a contemporary African-American family in a small North Carolina town.

Bookseller and supporter of Vroman’s Bookstore, Jen P. recommends You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams which she listened to while gardening, painting with watercolor, and commuting.

Bestselling author and bookstore owner Judy Blume chose Sarah Gerard’s acclaimed book of essays Sunshine State, which uses the author’s experiences growing up along Florida’s gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival.

Actor Whoopi Goldberg’s summer pick is the New England mystery Since We Fell, written by Dennis Lehane, who was recently dubbed by the New York Times “one of the great, diabolical thriller kings.”

Ann Patchett, bestselling author and owner of Parnassus Books, says the novel Chemistry by Weike Wang “starts as a charming confection and then proceeds to add on layers of emotional depth and complexity with every page.”

Finally, actor Reese Witherspoon recommended to her book club, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, which NPR called “…a crackling tale of spies and suspense.” Della A., a customer of Hudson Booksellers also recommends this audiobook which she listened to while commuting.

Summer Listening Challenge

It’s summer time and there are so many fun things to do! Audiobooks can be a great companion for art projects, exercise, gardening, and car trips. Give what we like to call #handsfreereading a try and with Libro.fm, each listen supports your local bookstore and community.

How does it work? 

First, listen to 20 hours of audiobooks between July 1st and September 4th. Next, track your progress using this worksheet. Finally, email a picture of your completed worksheet to bookstores@Libro.fm and we’ll send you a FREE Libro.fm t-shirt and earbuds!

Who can participate? 

Anyone! Adults, Parents, grandparents, kids, teenagers—we have audiobooks for all ages! Start exploring at Libro.fm and be sure to use our new Wish List to track which audiobook you want to listen to next!

Get started!

Download the worksheet, find your next audiobook, and be social with us! Share what you’re listening to and what you’re doing while listening by tagging @Librofm and using #handsfreereading and #summerlistening.

Fighting Goliath

I’m guilty-as-charged when it comes to using a particular large company to help me shop for groceries, get items I need quickly, and consolidate those pesky, mounting, day-to-day chores into one efficient online experience.

As a Seattleite, I’m often the first to experience the new technology that this “Goliath” offers. With a click of a mouse, I can have anything from diapers to lawn chairs delivered to my doorstep within hours. I’m even be able to order groceries on my phone and pick them up at a store – one that resembles a kiosk more than your typical local grocery shop – bagged and ready, seemingly saving me precious amounts of time.

That’s what all this is for, right? Saving time? That’s what Goliath is betting on. Sadly, I actually feel like I have less, not more, time on my hands when I use this company’s services. Buying into Goliath’s culture encourages a frenetic pace of life, a click-now, think-later, mindset that self-perpetuates. This way of living comes with a cost: instead of spending my time shopping in a store, talking to actual people, I find myself head down, eyes glued to a screen, poring over product reviews from strangers. I neglect engaging with those in the community around me.

Having recently moved from back to Seattle from two years abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany (where shopping local isn’t a “thing” its just called “shopping”) I’m constantly looking for ways to recalibrate how I spend my time. I try to walk to the Ballard Fresh Fish Co. for some of my grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll stop for coffee and treats at Cafe Besalu. It’s the same when I want to buy books.

Working for Libro.fm, I have had the privilege of meeting the people who own and run local bookstores (Phinney Books in Seattle and Edmonds Bookshop in Edmonds). I have gotten to listen to their heartfelt book recommendations, ones that go deeper than just how many stars a book should get rated. And each time I get out, make shopping a communal experience, I am reminded how good it makes me feel, how interacting with people who are so passionate about their store, their craft, makes my day (and the world) a bit brighter. If these places, these people, were suddenly gone and replaced with robots or faceless stores where employees were paid on transactions and 3rd party customer service surveys, what would I, and the community around me, lose?

 

There will be the times when we just need something now. But I challenge all of us, the next time we have the urge to push the Goliath button, to take 10 seconds, breath deep, and think about our community and what small, local businesses mean to us and our future.

Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th

Independent Bookstore Day, is a one-day party taking place Saturday, April 29th at more than 450 bookstores. As a supporter of independent bookstores, you get five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Here are a few of the audiobooks included: Jessica Shattuck’s NYT bestseller, The Women in the Castle, David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and works by David Sedaris (Dentists Without Borders), Emma Straub (Modern Lovers), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star), and Hope Jahren (Lab Girl). The only catch (we promise) is you must claim your free audiobooks by Midnight PST on Saturday 4/29. To do this, log in to Libro.fm, add the audiobooks to your cart (no promo code needed) and you’re done!

Get Your Free Audiobooks

And beyond the free audiobooks, we encourage you to visit your local bookstore to join the celebration. While each store is unique and independent (and the parties will reflect that) you’ll likely encounter some combination of authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, and contests. And most importantly, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on April 29th. Not before. Not after. Find a bookstore near you.

Listen. Support. Share.

Your support makes a difference for local bookstores across the country. Join the party in stores and online by sharing this offer with friends. Even if you’re unable to visit a store this Saturday, you can still take part in this offer and share with others. Simply copy/paste this link and email or share it on social media: https://libro.fm/playlists/bookstore-day


We love connecting with our listeners (and indie supporters!) so follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag #BookstoreDay to join the conversation.