Hey guys, welcome back to my blog! Today I’m coming at you with a new Book Vices post, and today I’m talking about why I love audiobooks, and why some people don’t! I’ve tried to be completely fair for each side, so I’ve included arguments from each side, against and for audiobooks.
YOU CAN FIND MY LATEST BOOK VICES DISCUSSION HERE:
THE ARGUMENT AGAINST AUDIOBOOKS
- It’s not really reading
- It’s not really reading
- It’s cheating
- It’s not really reading
As far as I can find, the argument against audiobooks seems to be mostly just that it doesn’t count as reading because you’re not physically reading the words with your eyes. Other arguments include:
- Not being able to focus
- Not liking the characters sharing the same voice
- I can read faster than I can listen
- Audiobooks put me to sleep [link]
- Audiobooks are expensive
- I don’t need audiobooks because I don’t travel
- I get easily distracted
- Can’t skip pages, or go back
- Don’t always like the narrator – they’re always terrible [link]
- Who wants to sit at their computer for 2 hours listening to an audiobook?
- There’s no book, just a detached voice.
- I can’t find where I left off [link]
- Too long & too slow
- There aren’t audiobooks for every physical/e/book
- You need a bank card to purchase an audiobook online [link]
Most of these arguments are pretty good, needing a bank card, characters having the same voice, money, getting distracted. They’re all problems I have to. I get distracted when I listen to audiobooks too, for example, I was trying to listen to The Hobbit on audio this morning and was struggling with it. But, I think that’s mostly down to the author’s writing and I think I would have a similar issue if I was reading physically. For me, getting distracted usually has more to do with me or the writing than the actual audiobook, itself.
As for money, I agree. Audiobooks can be pretty expensive. If you buy them physically on a CD they’re usually ($AUS) $50-100 per book [link]. So, you really would be racking up a debt that way. But, I buy my audiobooks via Audible which often has sales and ebook/audio deals. If I don’t buy the audiobook, however, I get the audiobook from my library for free.
As for the other arguments like not being able to skip ahead or go back, not liking the narrator, the book being too long/slow & being able to read faster than listening. I use Libby & Audible and with those apps you can change the speed (I usually prefer 1.75x. 2.00x and 2.15x), you can set a sleep timer in case you think you might get tired, you can skip backwards and forwards, and you can bookmark whatever you’re reading. In terms of not liking the narrator though, I get that and narrators will often deter me from reading a book – if I don’t like the narrator it can ruin the whole experience but, some books, particularly with popular authors & classics, there are multiple versions to listen to so you can choose a different narrator.
MY ARGUMENT FOR AUDIOBOOKS
- You can adjust the speed at which you listen to your book
- Most library systems (physical libraries, Libby, Overdrive) have audiobooks available for free
- Handy for long distance travel (work, holiday, school etc)
- Won’t weigh down your bag
- Not everyone has the luxury of being able to sit down and read for a few hours every day, so audiobooks are a good way to still get some reading in [link]
- It’s really ableist to say that audio isn’t a way to read. You can still be a reader if you can’t see the words.
- Helpful for pronunciation if you’re trying to learn a new language – you can always follow along with the physical book
- Often authors will narrate their own book (popular with memoirs) so you can hear the book exactly how they meant for it to be told.
- Often audiobooks for classics are available in the public domain (YouTube has a bunch)
- Some people learn better aurally than visually
- It’s environmentally friendly – no paper or ink
- Audiobooks are great for the people who don’t like reading in general but have to read a book whether that be for school or because they’re being dragged into a book club.
- You can listen to them on multiple devices [link]
I’m an avid audiobook listener so of course, I think the pros outweigh the cons. I really think that audiobooks are a great option as a way to read books. Physically reading books – whether it be in your hand, on a tablet or through braille is always amazing.
I believe that the pros outweigh the cons because as long as you have a library around problems like money aren’t as much of a problem reading-wise. Yes, there’s still somewhat of an issue if you have trouble concentrating hearing the words versus reading them physically.
So, to go back to the question in the title of this post: do audiobooks count as reading? The answer should always be yes: reading on your phone vs reading a physical book with real pages & ink vs listening to a book through your headphones. They all count as reading because no matter what, you’re absorbing the story, you’re taking in the plot and learning about the characters. Reading in any form counts as reading.