Thursday Thoughts & Opinions: Are Audiobooks Right For You?

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Pros:

Multitasking

This is my number one reason for being an audiobook addict. There is no way I could have read 15+ physical books last month. I just had too much going on. But with audiobooks, I can dedicate almost 75% of my day to completing a book. How? By listening in the car, while exercising, cooking, cleaning, etc. I play audiobooks the way most people play music. I always have it on. It takes me approximately 2 days to finish an audiobook, without ever sacrificing time for anything else.

Cost-effectiveness*

If done correctly, satisfying an audiobook habit can actually be more cost-efficient than feeding a regular book habit. This will be more true for rapid readers than occasional readers. Audiobook subscription services like Scribd offer ways to listen to audiobooks and read eBooks each month for a flat fee (Scribd=$8.99/mo). Amazon’s Audible is a more expensive choice (starting at $14.95/mo), but it regularly boasts sales and special offers. For more detailed info about how to get the most book for your buck, check out my post overviewing paid audiobook services here.

Less clutter

This one is pretty self explanatory and is particularly beneficial for those with smaller living spaces.

Accessibility

Can’t wait until morning to buy that sequel? If you have an Internet connection, then you have fingertip access to practically any book ever published and can be enjoying it in a matter of seconds.

Proper name/term pronunciation

For the most part, audiobook narrators pronounce character names and terms the way the author intended. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know that Chaol is pronounced Kay-all and not Kale. Bad example, but you get the gist. This may not matter to some people. But for pronunciation sticklers, like me, it’s a perk!

Characterization

To put it simply, narrators do voices. Some actually do them very well and it greatly enhances the listening experience.

Great for auditory learners

If you are an auditory learner, meaning you absorb and retain information better from hearing it, you will probably take to audiobooks like a fish to water. 

Great for those with visual or reading impairments

Also pretty self explanatory, but shouldn’t be overlooked.

Portability

There’s nothing wrong with taking a book everywhere you go, but isn’t it easier to take your phone?

Cons:

Less traditional

From what I understand, this is the biggest drawback for most readers. Some people simply enjoy the feel of a physical book in their hands. I admit that there is something nostalgic about perusing a bookstore for hours and leaving with a new treasure.

No physical collection/bookshelf

Likewise, most readers take pride in arranging (and constantly rearranging) their bookshelves.

Narrator Detractions

This is the biggest drawback for me, personally. Everyone has their preference, but for every great narrator you find, there are two horrible ones you must suffer through. I will say however that an annoying narrator has never caused me to be unable to complete an audiobook.

More expensive for occasional readers

If you only read one or two books a month, and audiobook subscription service may not be worth the cost.

Easier to zone out

This may just be me, but sometimes I will find myself completely “zoning out” (not listening) to an audiobook. That’s usually a cue that it’s time for a break.

Some books lose their “written effect”

Some books have a unique visual style that can lose its effect when read aloud. Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments, for example, is largely written as email correspondence between two coworkers. Although I am still enjoying listening to this audiobook, I can’t help but feel that I’m missing some of the author’s intended effect when writing it this way. On the flipside, I think some books are actually enhanced by narration. Books that deal with music or poetry (ex: The Beautiful Creatures series), tend to come to life when read aloud.

 

Are Audiobooks Right For You?
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