Opinions / Reviews

StoryTel – Audiobooks: My Experience

Audiobooks are the rage these days. Most of us started listening to audio content which allows us to do our chores at the same time be it Work, or washing dishes, or anything for that matter. I’m a Podcaster and have been listening to a lot of Podcasts. I always distanced myself from Audiobooks. Although I tried listening to “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, I couldn’t concentrate much. Books need attention and Audiobooks need more because one can get distracted.

Owing to my not being able to concentrate on listening to audiobooks, I never tried that again. Yet, when I was approached by StoryTel to review their platform., I took a giant leap and subscribed. Note: This review will no way hamper my opinion and is not biased.

The first thing I did wanted to listen to was Ponniyin Selvan Written by Kalki and Narrated by Bombay Kannan. For, people who don’t know, Ponniyin Selvan is a Historical Fiction novel written by Kalki Krishnamoorthy which was released in 1950 and has been famous ever since. I’ve read this novel already, I know how it goes and wanted to feel the audio version of it. One of my friends recommended Bombay Kannan’s narration and hence, that was the choice. They have a troop of Voice artists who took different characters, listening to them reminded me of radio Voice dramas and movies.

Since the listening hours of Ponniyin Selvan Volume – 1 were close to 14 hours, I was hesitant to put that much time. Still, I managed to finish half the audiobook and it was an experience in itself. Now, that I’ve listened to a good Audiobook, I want to explore more. I’ve known Deepika Arun through her Kadhai Osai Podcast, I for once know that some of her Narrations are available on StoryTel. So, I picked up Kal Sirikiradhu by La. Sa. Ramamirdham or La.Sa.Ra is narrated by Deepika Arun.

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Kal Sirikkiradhu should be a small book because the Audiobook spanned around 2:30 hours. What I realized about listening to audiobooks with one narrator and few characters is that it is tough to be a Voice artist and they must be spontaneous in changing their voices to different characters. If they didn’t do that the listening experience would be monotonous, especially for Fiction novels. Deepika Arun’s narration was fantastic. There were only a few characters in Kal Sirikkiradhu and each had their own voice and persona. One should listen to the audiobook to experience that.

By the time, I finished listening to Kal sirikkiradhu my free subscription got expired. I wasn’t sure to spend another ₹299 for the StoryTel Unlimited One Month subscription. They also have 3 Months and 12 Months Unlimited options with ₹249/month and ₹199/month respectively. In this, you could listen to English & 10+ Indian Language audiobooks with International titles along with ebooks. Since I already have Kindle Unlimited Subscription I didn’t want to spend more.

So, obviously, that was a lot of money for me and I didn’t re-subscribe. One fine day, when I was scrolling through on Facebook I saw an ad posted by an acquaintance that StoryTel has come up with another subscription model called “Select” where you get to listen to Audiobooks of all 10+ Indian Languages along with e-books and the price seemed nominal and affordable ₹149, ₹99.83/month and ₹83.25/Month for 1,6 and 12 months respectively. I was elated to see this and went for a 6 Months Subscription, which is nominally priced and affordable for me. I also have a guarantee that I would somehow listen in 6 months’ time and get the value for the money I paid.

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Apart from Audiobooks what makes me go back to StoryTel is their intuitive UI which is easy to navigate. The Homepage on the Mobile app has lots of categories to choose from but what really worked for me was displaying Audiobooks based on the hours. For someone like me who thinks twice before choosing an audiobook of 3+ hours, this section helped to choose my audiobooks better.

As, I’ve mentioned that StoryTel boasts Audiobooks of 10+ Indian Languages and as someone who can understand Telugu and Malayalam but not read them, this gives me a way to explore their Literature. Since I’m spoiled for options on StoryTel, I’m confused to choose the books and narrator on this platform. I’m listening to Pisaasam by Gokul Seshadri which is narrated by Deepika Arun which spans around 12 hours, let’s see where it goes. I’ve planned to listen to it Chapter-wise so that I won’t feel it is long.

Are you one of the StoryTel listeners? What are you currently listening to? Also, if you are one of the Subscribers kindly recommend some Narrators whose Audiobooks I can listen to be it in Tamil, Telugu, or Malayalam. Kindly share your recommendations. Let’s discuss in the Comments 😇

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