Books on Audio–Yes or No?
Do you listen to Audiobooks? Or maybe you are considering trying one. Perhaps before we explore the pros and cons I’ve researched, we should define what is an audiobook. To loosely quote Wikipedia, an audiobook, also known as a ‘talking book’ is a recording for a book being read aloud (narrated). Vinyl records, cassettes and compact discs are used for music. But all these mediums were also used for books, poetry and even plays sing the 1930’s. Now that we have entered the 2000’s, the sales for audiobooks have surged and sit on shelves at book retail outlets just as books do.
Who says no to audiobooks?
Now, returning to our yes or no question concerning the use of audiobooks. For some, the answer is a flat no. One primary reason for this is impaired hearing or complete deafness. Of course, it makes sense to not use this medium if hearing is difficult. There are also a few other answers, such as, ‘I can read faster than I can listen’ or ‘I’m prone to mishear things.’ The latter isn’t really about a hearing impairment as much as how a person may process information. Still a few readers simply do not enjoy being read to and it’s that simple. For this group, it is a no.
Most readers are a maybe or a mix
It seems the book world has received a welcome surge in popularity largely due to audiobooks! For most readers, the choice of reading (visually) is balanced with the choice of listening, opting for some of both.
In this group, the reasons go on for miles, figuratively speaking. Most choose audiobooks for traveling, especially when driving but also when flying. All those miles moving from place to place are filled with fiction and non-fiction books being narrated. And then there are work/chore tasks that are improved by a good story being told. Many say they listen while washing dishes, doing laundry, etc. while at home and my postal carrier walks around the neighborhood delivering mail while listening to an audiobook. Over the years, many office workers have listened to music while working and now they find audiobooks another alternate. Finally, I found this benefit worth a mention. People use reading before bed to relax. With audiobooks, they can close their eyes, dim or extinguish the lights and listen to a chapter before sleep.
A few readers do audio exclusively.
Of course, for those who only listen to audiobooks they may be influenced by practical things such as diminished eyesight. My mother was blind for part of her later years and had been an avid reader. At that time, to listen to a book, the narrator was captured on cassette tapes. We’ve come a long way, baby! Still, those books on tape were a blessing for her as audiobooks are for many today.
Children can listen to books they are not able to read for themselves yet. I would be decidedly in the camp of reading a book to a child but sometimes parents need a helping hand, and this is a great one.
This last reason for those who only do audio, relates to the mixed group. The only time they can carve from their schedule to enjoy a book is when they are commuting or perhaps doing a job that allows for multi-tasking such as my postal carrier (I often hear snippets of the book as they deliver my mail). Period. Until audiobooks became widely available for most books, they missed out on the wonderful pleasure of books.
And as authors we must decide, is audiobooks a yes, or no?
For a long while, I was in the no camp. Seriously. I am more of a printed word reader. In fact, I struggle to assimilate spoken information. As a student I became a good note taker. Even if I never looked at the notes again, the act of writing while listening helped me to comprehend and retain the information being taught.
But I’ve reconsidered. Partly due to readers asking when they could expect audio books from me and also, because not everyone is like me. Ha! Of course, they are not. How boring the world would be if there were no diversity!
I’m happy to share that my first audio book is now available. I look forward to more titles being released soon. My short story, The Tide is Against You can be found here! (Or hear the sample here.) Happy Listening!