At the beginning of every year, I go through the “audio book phase”. It’s that period of time when everyone (including myself) is obsessed about time management, new year’s goals and efficiency.
As a result, I keep downloading Audio book apps and force myself to be more productive! Use my time wisely, and so on. If I could double the number of books I read every month by listening to audio books while doing other things, that would be AMAZING!
This is my 3rd year attempting to listen to audio books and after some trial and error, I found some pros and cons, and I would love for all of you to add more things to this list!
I’m joining TTT (Top Ten Tuesday) meme this time, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
CONS | OR THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT AUDIO BOOKS:
1 – The books lose their immersiveness.* What I love the most about reading is the ability to dive into the fictional world, to lose myself completely within the twists of the plot. Do you know that incredible feeling when you stop noticing the pages turn? When there are no more words in front of you, but the whole story (a movie) rolling in your head? That is what I never get when listening to Audio books.
*Is “immersiveness” really a word? Hmm..
2 –Lack of connection to the characters. As a consequence of the previous point, I can never connect to the characters the same way as when I’m reading the book. I never feel as deeply for them.
3 – The pain of rewinding. Even when reading a book, there are moments when your mind flies somewhere else, and you need to go back to re-read a sentence, a paragraph or maybe an entire page. With audio books, it’s not as easy to rewind. Especially when driving.
4 – The dependency on the narrator. The HUGE part of Audio book enjoyment is the narrator. Their voices, their tones, pronunciations, accents. It’s no longer just the author and me.
5 – They limit imagination! When you read the dialog, the characters assume some form in your head. They can be young with a squeaky voice or have a deep baritone. Or maybe you don’t think about their voices at all, the image of them that you drew for yourself is enough and it fits well with the rest of the stories. But once you listen to the narrator, the freedom of creating is gone. You are automatically drawn to make the image correlate with the voice.
6 – The reading speed is always slow. Of course, reading aloud will always be slower than reading silently. When reading in my head, I don’t need to pronounce all the words, I can eat the endings, I can skip “a”s and “the”s. And Audio book apps nowadays come with the possibility to speed the reading up, but it’s not the same. We just speed up the recording, which makes it sound weird and unpleasant (to my ear).
7 – Audio books are expensive. Way more expensive than physical books and than e-books. Which is understandable as there are more people involved in the production, more costs are required to make it as good as possible. But it is still a CON, in my opinion.
PROS | OR THE GOOD THINGS I COULD THINK OF:
8 – Multitasking becomes much easier. This is probably the best thing about Audio books – the possibility to do more, the opportunity to be efficient with your reading while also doing other things. For me, there are only certain tasks I can do while listening to audio books – driving is the main one. But also other mindless activities, like doing puzzles or cleaning the house, etc. (I love puzzles btw! 😀 )
9 – The possibility to listen to them anywhere. All we need is our phone and headphones. It’s that simple. Don’t need to carry heavy books around anymore. And the phone is always with us anyway, making it easy to read at any place, at any time of the day.
10 – It is easier to finish the books you don’t enjoy. You might think: “What? How is it a positive point?” And maybe you are right, I struggled a bit to come up with the final point. But then I remembered «Nine Perfect Strangers» by Liane Moriarty and how the only reasons I actually finished it was because I listened to the audio books during my daily commutes. Was it worth it? I don’t know, but I don’t really like DNFing books. At least now I can say that I read it till the very end and the ending was just as bad as the beginning and the middle.
Okay! I know there are way more negative things about Audio books, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I think there is definitely a time and place for them. Being efficient and productive, and all that. But during my free time, I’d always pick reading over listening.
How do you feel about audio books? Would you like to add anything to the CONs or PROs list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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6 thoughts on “Pros & Cons of Audio Books | 10 Things I love and don’t love about Audio Books”
Con. Not being able to shelve that book you finish. I love having all the books I read in display like some badge for having completed it and coming out the other way a little bit different
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Bookshelf goals: n.º 23 on this list https://www.bookbub.com/blog/organized-bookshelves-for-new-years-resolutions 😀
The first point you mentioned is the exact reason why I don’t listen to audio books, it just doesn’t make sense to sacrifice the experience for a much higher price. Great post! 🙂
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Phew! I’m glad I’m not the only one to not be head over hills for audio books. Thank you! 🙂
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Hallo, Hallo Alex,
As you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you know I love audiobooks – however, there are a few reasons why which relate to your list of issues. For me, I originally moved into listening to audiobooks due to a high volume of chronic migraines so I was needing a way to offset my reading hours from print but also give myself a chance to still enjoy reading – especially those moments where coming off an intense supernova migraine was not going to allow me the pleasure of reading a regular print book. This is why I read some books in larger font sizes like Harlequin Heartwarming for instance. (smiles) I, admit, at first I couldn’t connect either – it took me 4x to listen to “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry to feel the immersion you’re referencing because I had to sort out my own rhythm with hearing audiobooks. I can’t just sit and listen as it is harder to pull inside the story – therefore, I have three audiobook listening hacks:
a) I love colouring when I listen to audiobooks – it fuses me into the story and the narrator takes me so intricately into it now that I feel like I do when I reading stories in print
b) I knit whilst listening to audiobooks (thought not generally a complex pattern!) for the same reasons I colour
c) I play solitaire card games – it allows me to get my mind off thinking about anything other than the story
The last thing I do as this is a special treat for me is I read the print copy as I listen to the audio! 🙂 I’m doing this now with “The Soft Whisper of Dreams” by Christina Courtenay, narrated by Jenny Funnell (who was Sandy in “As Time Goes By” – love her!) — its a treat because I love re-connecting with language and words; being a dyslexic reader, I sometimes have very unique ways of talking and pronouncing ‘words, names, etc’. This is an extension of self-learning and self-awareness of how others ‘see, process and speak’ the same words I might have a different spin on myself. Plus… really, I just love the intimacy of reading and hearing the narrator in my ears!
Having said all this though — if its not something you regularly find yourself gravitating towards it could boil down to the narrators themselves. As I am not shy about talking about how a narrator can kill the joy of listening to an audiobook! If its not the right match, its going to sour the listening experience!! Very true!
In regards to price points – I understand completely! I’ve had Audible and Scribd and I’ve had years where I haven’t had either. For Halloween my parents gave me Scribd and for an early Christmas they gave me Audible this year – however, I have been borrowing audiobooks via my local and regional libraries via their OverDrive catalogues. One of them is allowing us to put in 5x requests per week for new purchases of audiobooks – so I’ve begun this as well. They’ve accepted the ones they can and the others are part of that big upset in the pub world right now about libraries, readers and e-copies of stories including audio.
I also recently experienced an mp3 audiobook “The Girls of Pearl Harbour” and I love how you can listen to it on your computer w/o it having skips and jumps. I’m going to be concluding listening to this as I interviewed the author in September for my @SatBookChat — look for that forthcoming review one of these Mondays as I will be talking about why I like this format for audio. It is also from what I have researched a more budget friendly way to purchase them and I’ll be looking into that in the future to grow my personal CD audio library rather than focusing on a digital one without the CDs.
Speed wise I only recently experienced an issue with this — look for a forthcoming review for “The Black Talisman” and I’ll be discussing speed issues and the quirks therein (thinking of December for this as I had to shift when I finish my #WitchyReads).
Overall, I love this post because its openly conversational and you organised it brilliantly! I’m not sure if my takeaways will help you – as English is my first and only language (I only know a handful of German, bits of Spanish and I can get by a bit with ASL (ie. sign) – so I am not sure how to help with that issue either – but maybe I can inspire new ideas on how to listen to them? Also, I know some do household chores as they listen but for me that would distract me the wrong way and I could never drive and hear them for the same reason. lol At least we’re all uniquely different!