The Easy Two-Step Process to Reading 60 Books a Year

In 2016, I learned that most successful people read 50+ books a year, so I decided if I wanted to be successful, I should do that too.

Today, I consistently read 60 books or more per year for the past three years, and I’m planning on reading 67 this year.

The Rules

So what counts as “reading a book”?

I’m a bit of a purist on this. You didn’t read the book if you read the SparkNotes. This is cover to cover reading every word of the book to count.

Whether it’s an e-book, a physical book, or an audiobook, it counts.

A long book, like Steven King’s behemoth Under the Dome, counts as one book.

A short book, like Eat That Frog by Bryan Tracy, coming in at only 2 hours and 37 minutes, counts as one book.

Step 1: Do the Math

For every single physical book I read, I make a chart on how far I need to get each day to finish by the end of the month. It looks something like this.

The top number is the date and the bottom number is the page I want to hit by that day to stay on track to hit my goal.

As you can tell, I’m already behind for June. But that’s fine! I know I’ll be able to relax this weekend and catch up on reading.

Your weekly or daily reading goals should be a guideline, not a law.

I also keep a bullet journal where I track how many books I want to read that month, and when I should read them.

In June, I need to finish 7 books to stay on track for my goal. So I go through my calendar (30 days divided by 7 books = 1 book every 4 days) and make a note every four days that I should finish a book.

This makes it easy to see whether I’m ahead, or if I should dedicate a weekend to reading.

You will get behind on your reading goal. But the great thing about it is you have a year to get there! So if you’re short a few books one month, you’ve got the rest of the year to make up for it.

Just do the math again and readjust your small reading targets so your big one is still in reach.

Step 2: Listen to Audiobooks

I’m a slow reader in the first place. I would not be able to read 60+ books a year if it weren’t for audiobooks.

And here’s the real secret: You can listen to audiobooks on double-speed. It will sound inaudible at first, but audiobook platforms let you play the book at different speeds, so build-up to it.

Start by listening at the fastest pace where you can still understand the book. As you start to adjust to the speed, raise the pace again. Eventually, you’ll be able to listen to it at a double speed no problem.

Sometimes I’ll still come across books read in a strong British accent, or the author talks faster than others, and I can’t understand it at double-speed.

Right now I’m listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and she reads faster than most other readers. So I slowed back down to 1.5x.

That’s okay too! The point is it gets me reading.

Pair Audiobooks With Body-Busy Activities

Body-busy activities are things like cleaning, brushing your teeth, walking, driving, or commuting. You don’t have to think about them. That makes it a great time to listen to audiobooks.

And the more you can work this into your daily routine and make it a habit, the easier it’ll be to hit your reading targets.

The biggest times in my life when my reading dipped where when I made major changes like switching jobs, changing the way I commuted, or moving to a new place. Each time I had to find new times that worked well to get some reading in.

So here’s when I always listen to audiobooks

  • When I’m cleaning
  • When I’m walking the dogs
  • When I’m driving
  • When I’m body busy at work

I was a waitress for seven years before I switched to writing full time, and I still work at the local escape room. I had awesome employers who would let us listen to music with headphones while doing things like cleaning or restocking, just so long as we weren’t interacting with customers.

For two summers I had two hours in the morning when I would open the restaurant by myself, which gave me a solid four hours of audiobook time every day. I could finish an audiobook in two to three days easily.

If there’s a part in your routine like these, start to listen to audiobooks.

The Best Audiobooks Apps

I started listening to audiobooks on Audible, and it got expensive fast. So I started looking for other audiobook options. Here’s where I get my books.

Audible

Pros: Always have the latest books, easy to use, familiar. Once you buy a book, you get to keep it forever, even if you cancel your subscription. If you stock up on books, you can cancel your subscription and not pay for books for months.

Cons: So expensive. You need a minimum monthly subscription of $14.99 to get good discounts on books.

But if you’re anything like me, book shopping is a guilty pleasure, and Audible makes it too easy.

They have regular BOGO 2 for 1 credit deals and daily deals with books under $5 that suck me in every time.

I was easily spending $100 a month on audiobook sales. The upside to this is I now have enough books to last me the rest of the year without paying for a subscription.

Scribd

Scribd is the Netflix of audiobooks. For only $9 a month, you get unlimited access to their entire collection. If you’re reading a lot of books, but not rereading a lot, Scribd is the way to go.

Pros: Affordable, a lot of good, new books.

Cons: They don’t always have the latest books. If you want books that just came out, you probably won’t be able to find them here.

I ran into an issue where I was pausing and resuming books a lot, and Scribd would lose my place, or it would be slow to restart. I never had that issue with Audible. But if you don’t plan on frequent pausing, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Libby

I’m still catching up on my last Audible shopping spree, so I haven’t personally tried Libby, but I’ve heard great things. When I run out of books again, it’s the first app I’m going to try.

Libby is a library for Audiobooks. Connect your library card and get instant access.

That’s All Folks!

Being intentional about my reading and finding space in my lifestyle to listen to audiobooks was the only thing I needed to dramatically increase how much I read.

Make a plan and stick to it. Even when you’re busy, you can listen to audiobooks and read way more than you used to.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Juliara Baeten

Juliara Baeten

Writer, reader, trying to find myself and sharing what works, and maybe it will work for you too.