Thursday Thoughts & Opinions: The Truth About Books and Audiobooks

Thurs.

Time to address the elephant in the room: Which is better, books or audiobooks?

Folks love to weigh in, claiming that one of these options is far superior than the other. It’s extremely reminiscent of the age-old cats vs. dogs debate. My official stance on the matter is: Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.

Despite the hook of this post, this site is not meant to start a books versus audiobooks argument amongst anyone. I’m not pushing audiobooks on book lovers and I would never claim that audiobooks are better than books, only that they are better for me.

That’s why I have become an exclusive audiobook listener. Audiobooks are much more conducive to my lifestyle than physical books. Do I wish I had time to curl up in a nook somewhere with a blanket, a mug of something hot, and an actual book? Heck yes, I do. That sounds downright picturesque! What it doesn’t sound like, though, is my life.

I was an avid book reader growing up, but as my life got busier, I had less time for books. It got to the point in college when I was lucky to finish 3-4 in a year. Reading was something I viewed as a nostalgic pastime; a hobby I had in my youth, before life happened. And then, in 2014, I heard my first audiobook and I suddenly felt like a reader again.

Audiobooks reopened a world I thought had been closed off from me for good. Now, I’m listening to an average of 9 audiobooks each month, without ever sacrificing a moment of my time.

And honestly, now that I know how much great narrators and an incredible listening experience can add to a story, I don’t think I could ever go back to page reading. Now that I’ve been spoiled by so many narrators who can expertly do voices and accents, my own voice in my head while reading would never be good enough anymore. The truth is I’ve fallen head over heels in love with audiobooks and there’s no going back.

But I feel I must reiterate, books and audiobooks are like two sides of the same coin. Better yet, as author Mike Wells so aptly put it, choosing between books and audiobooks is like choosing between having your ice cream in a cup or on a cone (don’t ask me which is supposed to be which). It’s the same product, served two different ways. Some like the cup, some like the cone, and some like to switch it up. Either way, ice cream is fantastic, no?

My point here is find what works for you. ♣︎

3 Comments

  1. Very well said.

    The trend to declare something as “better” than something else annoys me.

    Recently, a friend of mine started to listen to Audiobooks. He was never really much of a reader and had probably gone years without reading an actual book. He decided to try Audiobooks in part because he wanted something else to do besides watch TV and movies as he drifted off to sleep each night.
    What happened the first time he mentioned listening to an Audiobook on Facebook? Did people congratulate him for trying to read more? Did they offer suggestions as to things he might enjoy? No, the first comment was about how audiobooks weren’t really reading and that print books were better because reasons.
    I came to my friend’s defense not because I felt like I needed to defend Audiobooks but I felt like if I didn’t, that kind of comment might really discourage him. I pointed out that some people are visual learners, some are audio learners and some are hands on learners and that in the case of my friend it was more likely that he would comprehend more of the book if he listened to it than if he read it.
    I was certainly like that in my own studies. In High School, when I took German, I did very well when tested orally but did not do so well when it was a written test. Eventually, my teacher, seeing the huge difference gave me most of my tests orally. I am visually impaired, so the fact that I learn more by hearing isn’t that big of a shock and it is what drew me to Audiobooks.

    So what happened the second time my friend wrote a post on Facebook about Audiobooks, this time listing the books he had purchased so far? The same thing as before, in fact, the same person as before making the same arguments as before.

    The cup/cone illustration is good but I’ve always heard it differently. That’s why there’s chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. My liking chocolate doesn’t deprive you of vanilla.

    Apologies for the lengthy comment, I tend to do that. Anyway, great post very well put.

    1. jesstheaudiobookworm

      My sentiments exactly, Casey! Combating that type of stigma is a huge reason why I wanted to be an audiobook blogger instead of a traditional blogger. I have also experienced the type of behavior you described and it highlights the larger idea that it’s not okay to be different or do things your own way. I wholeheartedly reject that notion. People who enjoy books and audiobooks ARE a part of the same community and should be treated as such. One is not a threat to the other.

      I like your chocolate/vanilla analogy. I also think of it as taking medicine in the form of a pill vs. liquid, but ice cream analogies are more fun! 😜

Let me know what you think!