Take the 2021 Libro.fm Audiobook Challenge

A new year is a great chance for a new start, especially now that 2020 is finally behind us. It’s also the perfect time to set some goals, including ones related to reading.

Below, you’ll find 24 challenges—on average, that’s two per month—to help you have the best, most diverse, most enriching reading year ever. Mix and match them, work on them whenever, and enjoy that sweet sense of accomplishment when 2021 draws to a close.


Want a printable PDF of the challenge to stay on track? Fill out the form below!


1. Listen to an audiobook for at least five minutes every single day for a month

In Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg talks about the importance of setting micro-goals, so that a habit can become engrained. So for this challenge (ideal for starting in January, as you may be trying to reset your routine), the aim is to listen to at least five minutes of an audiobook on Libro.fm. That’s all! But of course, you’re welcome to do much more. 

If you want to make your daily audiobook routine stick all year, here are some more tips:

  • Switch your phone to airplane mode when you get into bed and plug in your earphones before you go to sleep, or before you check your email in the morning. Isn’t that a nicer way to start or end your day?
  • Use a habit tracker so you can see your progress. You can do it using an app or manually in your planner.
  • Mark Desvaux of the Bestseller Experiment podcast is a big proponent of linking your habit to other aspects of your daily routine—tasks that you do every day no matter what that day holds. After a while, or by listening to an audiobook every time you walk the dog or eat breakfast, it’ll become second nature.
  • Reward yourself after you’ve met a goal: maybe after a ten-day streak, you can buy a new book? Buy and eat that piece of cake you’ve been eyeing at your favorite bakery? 
  • Tell your online and IRL friends about your goal and ask them to check in on how it’s going from time to time. Find a friend who also wants to build an audiobook habit and agree to check in on each other at regular intervals—for example, weekly or monthly. 

2. Listen to an audiobook by a Black author

Check out the playlists below for suggestions.

Well-Read Black Girl Picks

The goal of #WRBGBookClub is simple yet profound: “Our mission is to support diverse voices and emerging writers of color, one book club meeting at a time. Our literary community is inclusive, we strive to inspire connections between bookstores, readers, and authors.”

#OnceYouGoBlackOut

A celebration of less discovered titles from black authors and a challenge to read and share these classics. Follow, listen, participate and celebrate #OnceYouGoBlackOut.


3. Buy a book from a bookstore you’ve never visited

What’s more fun than discovering a new bookstore? Basically nothing. Either in person or virtually (many are hosting online events, too!), you can travel to a new bookstore and lend them your support! It’s always fun to get bookseller recommendations somewhere different, too.


4. Listen to a book by an author who identifies as LGBTQI+ 

Audiobooks by Transgender Authors

Each year between November 13-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

Not-So-Straight On Til Morning

Join the bookstore Second Star To The Right Books’ LGBTQ+ Book Club for conversation about queer and trans representation (or lack thereof) in Young Adult books.


5. Share what you love about your favorite bookstore on social media

Tag the bookstore so they can share your lovely post as part of their own social media strategy. Shout-outs really do help; they help drive traffic and sales to the bookstore, and they also make booksellers smile. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Check out the tips below from booksellers:

“Financial support is great support right now. But you can also share social media posts, create wish lists of books to share for others to buy gifts for you, tell your friends about your local indie. Any way you show your love to local business is valuable support.”

Anna, Katy Budget Books (Katy, TX)

“[Spread] the word. A social media post with a pic of [your] latest purchase with the store tagged [supports your local bookstore]. Shop locally then BRAG about it!”

Pete, Green Apple Books (San Francisco, CA)

6. Listen to an audiobook authored by a woman

Women’s Prize for Fiction – 2020

2020 year marked the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Read along with us as we make our way through all previous 24 titles, as well as this year’s longlisters.

Women in Translation

Celebrate Women in Translation Month (August) with this great selection of international books.


7. Pre-order an anticipated audiobook

Pre-ordering a book is a great way to support an author you love; it helps build buzz and get books on bestseller lists. It’s a great way to support bookstores, too. Check out the playlist below for where to start!

Pre-Order Bestsellers

The top 50 Pre-Order audiobooks on Libro.fm based on sales from our 1,200+ partner bookstore locations.


8. Listen to an AAPI-authored audiobook

AAPI Heritage Month

New fiction and non-fiction by Asian American authors for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May).

Tusome Books Picks: Asian Authors

These are a selection of recommended titles by authors of Asian decent.


9. Send an email or—even better—a physical letter to your favorite bookstore letting them know you appreciate them 

Booksellers worked hard to keep bringing us books, recommendations, and community in 2020, and continue to do so. Send them a note of thanks, perhaps referencing a particular thing you were grateful for. A great online event? A fantastic recommendation? A bookseller who went above and beyond? They’ll appreciate it more than you know. While you’re at it, check out these bookseller interviews.


10. Listen to an audiobook by a Latinx author

Audiobooks by Latinx Authors

Listen to audiobooks by authors of Latinx and Hispanic descent.

Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage

A playlist of books across genres that celebrate Latinx stories and authors.


11. Recommend an audiobook on social media

Help spread the word about a book you love to your friends and family.


12. Listen to an audiobook by an author with a disability

Disability in Fiction for Adults

Adult fiction featuring characters with various physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Intended to raise awareness of the possibilities of life with a disability. #OwnVoices whenever possible.

Disability in Fiction for Teens

A playlist of young adult fiction, #OwnVoices when possible, with characters who have disabilities of various kind.

You can also check out the interviews below with Rebekah Taussig, author of Sitting Pretty, and Alice Wong, editor of Disability Visibility.

author Rebekah Taussig
editor interview alice wong

13. Buy a book from a Latinx-owned bookstore

latin-x owned bookstore link

14. Listen to an audiobook with a full cast of narrators

Full-cast audiobooks

Listen to the characters in these books come to life through a full cast of narrators.


15. Shop from a Black-owned bookstore 

Black lives matter all the time, and so does supporting Black-owned bookstores. We’ve made you an extensive directory of Black bookstores to support right now and always.


16. Listen to an audiobook by an author who comes from a country you’ve never been to

Around the World in Books with We Are LIT

Travel around the world in books with We Are LIT’s curated audiobook list featuring brilliant works of fiction centered on stories of culture, faith, family, history, love, mystery, and politics – as told from locales around the globe.


17. Listen to an audiobook for three hours in one day

Lose yourself in a story on a long walk, a drive, or just hanging out at home. It’ll feel good to leave the world behind.


18. Listen to an audiobook narrated by the author

Memorable Memoirs

Great memoirs of memorable folks, many of whom narrate their own story.

Read by the Author

This playlist features the best audiobooks, read by their authors.


19. Shop from an Indigenous-owned bookstore

We’ve compiled a list to get you started.


20. Listen to an entire book over a weekend

Short and Sweet

A selection of quick books to fill your time as time seems to stand still. All under 200 pages.


21. Take a friend (virtually or socially distanced) to a bookstore they’ve never been to before

Log into an online event with them, or sit with them and recommend books while they shop online, or—if it’s possible in 2021—take them with you physically and introduce them to a new bookstore.


22. Listen to an audiobook about a topic that’s new to you

How The World Works (Science, Math, Sociology, History, Economics)

Learn about emotions, talking to strangers, the arguments for a Universal Basic Income, and lots more.

Non-Fiction Picks: Social Science Bestsellers

A collection of bestselling non-fiction audiobooks that dive into the world of social science and beyond.


23. Listen to an audiobook in a genre that you don’t typically listen to

Browse our genre page for inspiration.

Classic Westerns

Travel both West and back in time with this delightful collection of novels.

True Crime

These titles will leave you hanging on to the edge of your seat from the first moment you press play to the final reveal.


24. Share your top reads of the year on social media

Show them some love—and why not tag the author and the bookstore where you bought them, too?


Are you going to take the challenge? Comment below!

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Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC, in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but really, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a monthly show about news and views from UK books and publishing; the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan; and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.

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