audiobookHow quickly do you like to listen to audiobooks? TechCrunch has a story about an accelerating audiobook reading app that gradually ramps up the speed until you’re listening to audiobooks faster than you might have expected you could. Rightspeed is a $2.99 iOS app that increases your listening speed by 0.1x every two minutes until you’re listening to audiobooks 3 or 4 times faster than normal.

Most audiobook apps have options to listen to audiobooks faster than normal—which I mainly use when the audiobook narrator seems to read at an ungodly slow speed. But I don’t usually go above 1.5x. The idea of listening through at triple or quadruple speed seems a bit strange, but perhaps it isn’t quite so odd if you ramp up to it and get used to quicker listening little by little.

I’m not so sure I care enough about it to throw three bucks at it as an experiment, especially since I don’t have a current iOS device that would fit in my pocket, but I could see how it might be fun to try. TechCrunch suggests that the fact that it’s a standalone app without a built-in library or partnership makes getting content into it a “challenge,” but I can’t see how it would be worse than other third-party audiobook apps like Smart AudioBook Player. There are plenty of DRM-free audiobooks out there—the public domain ones from LibriVox, the DRM-free ones you get from the Humble Bundle and other such places. The entire world doesn’t run on Audible alone.


  1. I’ve found even 1.5X too fast for all but the lightest material. That said, I’ve found the average podcast is a little too slow for me. Rather than listening closely, I get distracted. 1.25X is about right.

    My preference is for Overcast, a highly rated and full-featured podcast player. It not only plays podcasts from multiple playlists, it handles the downloads and can be set up arrange them in an order you like. For me, that’s putting my favorites at the top.

    Two features make it standout.

    1. Smart Speed. You not only get a continuous adjustable speed that you can set independently for every podcast you subscribe to, it also eliminates the silent spaces. That not only saves time, it makes even the most basic podcast sound totally professional.

    3. Voice Boost. Does what it says marvelously well. No more adjusting the sound up for one podcast and down for another. Everything is kept at the same level.

    For me, it makes listening to podcasts 100% better. My only regret is that it doesn’t officially support audiobooks. Users need to use a workaround and get audiobooks that can be subscribed to as a podcast. Both and offer that for their public domain audiobooks as an iTunes subscription. Get the feed address from tthat and paste the address into the new podcast field in Overcast.

    The important features are free, but there’s a subscription service to get a few additional features like night mode and to support the developer. Try it and I think you’ll like the much smoother listening experience.

    If you want more features, check out Downcast. I tried it and found it a bit to complex for my simple tastes, but it may have features you must have. It does lack the two audio processing features above. For me, they are a must-have.


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