Questions

My Reading Partner

How does Audrey choose a reading partner for me?

We review your answers to the questions in the sign up and match you with a reading partner who shares some of your interests. At the same time, we try to pair you up with someone whose life journey is different to your own. We believe in the value that comes from connecting with people who can expose us to new ideas and help us to see things from another's viewpoint.

Can I tell you the type of reading partner I'm looking for?

That would spoil the surprise! ;) Yes, you're very welcome to provide some pointers here. For example, sometimes people let us know that they’d prefer to read with someone who identifies as the same gender. Sometimes people specifically request to be paired with someone who has difficulty reading for themselves.

How long will it take for you to introduce me to my reading partner?

You can expect to receive an email introducing you to your reading partner shortly after completing the sign up questionnaire. Usually this is anything from a few hours, to two or three days, after signing up.

Can I read with more than one reading partner at a time?

We recommend that you kick off with one reading partner and see how it goes. If things are going swimmingly after a few reading sessions, and you have the time, we'd be delighted to introduce you to a second reading partner.

Nice try, but I'm not sure we’re a good match what shall I do?

Sorry about that, we don't get it right every time. Please let us know as soon as possible and we can identify a new reading partner for you. Don’t worry about having to tell your reading partner if it makes you feel uneasy. So long as you let us know, we’re very happy to do this on your behalf.

Our Reading

How does Audrey choose a book for us to read?

Good question. This starts with our curation process. We ask all sorts of people for reading recommendations. From librarians and book shop owners to well-read friends and strangers sitting reading in a local coffee shop. Not forgetting recommendations from people in the Audrey community! From here we review the books and create a shortlist – picking books we think our community will enjoy listening to and reading aloud. Our shortlist comprises of works of fiction and non-fiction.

We review your bios alongside each other, as well as both your sets of answers to the questions in the sign up, and then select a reading from our shortlist which we think will resonate with you both - one we think you’ll find interesting and enjoyable.

How do we receive the book we’ll be reading together?

You’ll find the book on our specially designed reading platform where you will be able to select it and add it to your private reading room. The book has been divided into five chapters to correspond with the five reading sessions.

What happens if I've already read the book?

When we send our email introducing you, we will provide a description of the reading to avoid you receiving anything you’ve already read. If the reading is one you’ve already read, please let us know and we will send you an alternative.

How can we get through a book when each reading lasts about 15 minutes?

We mindfully select readings which can usually be completed over about five 15-minute reading sessions, once a week. To achieve this we pick short stories, novellas (short novels) and book excerpts.

We sometimes adapt novels and works of non-fiction to suit the medium of reading aloud. This includes shortening the original book, by condensed it into fewer words, whilst retaining a sense of the original book and preserving the main plot. We may also adapt books to suit language levels.

Sometimes members of our community prefer to read for longer than 15 minutes (up to 1 hr) and more regularly than once a week. We take this into account when selecting a reading for you, and choose a book whose length harmonises with your time preferences.

The Scheduling

What sort of time commitment can I expect?

An Audrey reading experience consists of approximately five separate 15 minute reading sessions. The readings are divided into five chapters to correspond with the five reading sessions. Partners usually read together once a week, often on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, over the period of about a month.

Not everyone is typical – our community comes in all shapes and sizes ☺ Sometimes people prefer to have longer reading sessions with more chapters. Sometimes people prefer a one-off short story. The Audrey experience adapts accordingly.

How do I schedule a reading session with my reading partner?

After we introduce you to your reading partner over email you should contact each other to arrange your first reading together and agree a suitable time that works for you both. Don’t forget to put the time you’ve agreed into your calendar!

We think Mondays are a good day for your reading sessions ☺. We're gently trying to nurture this habit within the community. Monday's Audrey Day! It's helpful for some, but it's not practical for everyone, and of course it’s really up to you.

I’ve been introduced to my reading partner, but they’re not responding to my messages, what should I do?"

Occasionally this happens - initial enthusiasm may fade a little, unexpected things might crop up, and sometimes people get the jitters - hey we're all human.

If you’ve reached out to your reading partner and you haven’t heard back from them within three days assume it’s not meant to be. Let us know as soon as you can and in a jiffy we’ll have you introduced to a new reading partner. We’ll contact you’re old reading partner to find out what’s up and let them know what’s happened – you don’t have to worry about it.

I can no longer make the scheduled reading session – what should I do?

Sorry to hear that you won’t be able to make your reading session. We understand there’s probably a good reason. Please, let your reading partner know as soon as you can. I’m sure they will want to reschedule if you’re able to. It can be disappointing and frustrating for your reading partner if you cancel at short notice or forget to tell them. Their time is valuable.

Reading Aloud Together

What can I expect from my Audrey experience?

A surprisingly magical, relaxing, soulful experience where you quickly develop a real sense of connectedness with a stranger. You’ll feel you’ve enjoyed something nourishing and meaningful which will leave you in a thoughtful and positive mood.

I‘m a little nervous about the idea of reading aloud – any words of encouragement?

You can do it! It’s understandable and pretty normal to feel a little nervous. It’s a rather unusual experience reading with a complete stranger - at least to begin with. But remember we’re a very supportive and forgiving bunch. We know what it’s like to stumble over a complicated word, mispronounce somebody’s name, or misjudge a pause in a sentence. It simply doesn’t matter!

Any apprehensions you have are more than outweighed by the pleasure of the experience. The more you read aloud, the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the more you like it, and the more you like it, the more you do it! And don’t forget you can always start as the listener ☺

I just want to be a listener, is that ok?

It’s more than okay, it’s absolutely fine. You go with whatever feels comfortable. If you just want to listen, then we’ll find you someone who only wants to read!

How long is each reading session? And how often do we read together?

The reading itself typically last about 15 minutes. Reading together moves us to talk about our own stories and encourages conversation. Therefore people often, but not always, chat for a while after the reading. This might be for just a few minutes, or it might be for quite a while. It’s really up to you.

Most people tend to read about once a week. But there are no rules here - if you both want to read more regularly go for it!

I’ve had a couple of sessions with my reading partner and I’m not sure it’s working out.

That’s a shame, sorry to hear things haven’t gone to plan. This happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel a sense of connectedness and the conversation doesn’t flow. If this happens, please don’t go silent - let us know because we’d really like to conclude things courteously. We can contact your reading partner, and sensitively and respectfully excuse you – you don’t have to worry about it.

What happens when we reach the end of our book together?

It’s completely up to you! You have three main options. (1) That’s all folks… you’re brief encounter finishes and you decide to take a rest from Audrey for a while. (2) Happily ever after… you can decide to read a second book with your reading partner. Please let us know and we’ll send over a new book (3) I’m feeling sociable… you can decide to read a new book with a new reading partner. Please let us know and we’ll make an introduction.

Sometimes it’s a little awkward establishing what happens next. Perhaps you’re a little apprehensive about broaching the subject in case you’re not on the same page as your reading partner. Do you both want to continue together? What if one of you does and the other one doesn’t? Here’s where we can help. We can do the checking on your behalf.

Always remember if you decide to move onto another reading partner, no one is left in the lurch. Right away we can find someone else for both of you.

Staying Safe

Is Audrey for all ages?

For now, Audrey is only for adults 18 years and over.

What can I do to stay safe on Audrey?

Please contact us if you are concerned about how your reading partner is behaving. Do not hesitate, better safe than sorry. We’ll deal with the matter discreetly – we will not identify that you have alerted us. We’re here to respond to any worries or concerns you have about other readers and listeners.

Please do not exchange your address or telephone number or bank details with your reading partner. Never agree to meet someone you meet on Audrey. Without wishing to scare you, remember that not everyone portrays themselves online as they are in real life.

How do I flag someone acting inappropriately?

If somebody has been acting inappropriately please do not hesitate to contact us.

Technology

What technology do I need to use Audrey?

Very little, beyond your device (computer, tablet or smartphone etc.) and an internet connection!

The reading sessions take place on the Audrey reading platform. This is a secure online space where you and your reading partner can create your own private reading room to read aloud together – with crystal clear sound quality!

Once you’re on the reading platform you’ll be able to select the book we’ve suggested for you to read, and add it to your reading room.

Our reading platform works right in your browser – there's absolutely nothing to download or install. Audrey currently works best in a Chrome browser on desktop and a Safari browser on iOS. Headphones are ideal, but not essential.

We’ll direct you to the reading platform when we introduce you to your reading partner.