I know quite a few diehard audiobook fans. I also know a handful of people that refuse to touch an audiobook with a ten-foot pole. So why is there such a disparity? Is there really that big of a difference between audiobooks and physical books or ebooks?
I personally have never been a huge fan of audiobooks, but I continue to give them a seventh and an eighth try because of the ways that people rant and rave about them. Unfortunately, each attempt usually ends with the same sense of frustration and strong urge to kick myself for giving in to peer pressure yet again.
One of the central, driving forces behind my dislike for audiobooks is my limited patience. When reading a traditional book, I have the option to skim a boring section (or skip it altogether, if the occasion calls for it). When listening to an audiobook, however, I’m stuck listening to the slow, steady drone of the reader, regardless of whether he/she is recounting an action-filled scene or a description-laden paragraph that is about to put me to sleep. I also don’t have the patience to constantly fast forward and then slow down throughout the narrative, and something tells me I wouldn’t be particularly skilled at switching between the two.
Going hand-in-hand with this, I also find myself getting easily distracted while listening to audiobooks. And after these distractions set in, I find that I retain very little of the story and end up having to rewind the track. Therefore, it takes me nearly twice as long as it should to finish an audiobook. I’m also not a fan of devoting ten or twelve hours to listening to a narrator drone on and on when I could easily read the book in four hours. Nowadays, I have very limited free time, and I try to make the most of it. Therefore, due to a variety of factors, physical books (or ebooks) seem to be the more obvious choice for me.
However, if you are a dedicated audiobook fan, I’m sure you can attest to some of their many perks! It seems that the majority of people find that they have the most time to listen to them while driving, particularly if they spend a great deal of time in the car by themselves (although I would assume that they can also be a great way to tune out those pesky siblings while on a road trip). I’ve heard that this can be a great way to stay awake while driving late at night, as well, because it gives your mind something to focus on.
Audiobooks are also extremely portably, particularly if you have a smartphone or ipod. They can be listened to nearly everywhere – while on a run, while walking through the grocery, or while picking up coffee. That being said, they are great for multitasking, as both of your hands are free and you can freely move about.
Do you prefer audiobooks or actual books? Why? What are some of the pros and cons of each?