I kind of want to touch on audiobooks for a couple minutes here, because usually when I hear about them, about people who like listening to them, something strange happens.
I’ll explain. Every once in a while I hear someone asking about the opinion of audiobooks. Sometimes these questions are asked with a hint of an apologetic tone, as if these people are getting ready for me to lash out at them that they aren’t really reading, so stop saying you are, or something to that effect.
These sort of reactions worry me. I don’t understand why some people are so concerned about letting others know that they enjoy audiobooks. And I also don’t understand where the confusion comes from about whether it’s actually reading or not.
Because it’s not reading. I’m not saying that with no nose in the air about it either. Let me explain.
Now, I love audiobooks. In an age where free time is dwindling fast, I’ve found it to be a great way of getting my story intake without actually having to sit down and put the time into reading. Because reading does take time. There’s no getting around that. You can literally do almost nothing else aside from eating-which is still pretty amazing-while reading. I don’t really count watching television, since it’s distracting for the most part. Sometimes I can listen to music while reading, but not always, and I know this is also a distraction for lots of other people, especially when trying to focus on reading, so I’m going to set those aside for now.
Being read to, however, is something else entirely. You can do so much more while someone else is reading you the story. You can exercise, get into your car and make the long trip to work or the grocery store, or even do chores around the house. Your hands are totally free when you have headphones on and are listening to your favorite author’s latest release in your ears.
Now, here’s where I come to the defense of audiobooks, because, even though listening to twenty audiobooks isn’t as impressive or brag worthy as sitting down and reading twenty books, you are still taking in the story almost exactly as the author intended it. There are some small differences, depending on how closely the author was able to work with the man or woman reading their work for ACX or any other service. Sometimes the tone won’t always be as intended, but I’ll take the risk of saying that these differences are so small they might as well not be there. In an audiobook, you also get the same benefit of increasing your vocabulary, the same as you would with reading, but with the added bonus of hearing proper pronunciation.
For the longest time, I pronounced epitome as epy-tome, all the way into adulthood, because I’d never heard that word out loud, but had always seen it in books.
The downside to audio, however, is that it’s a little harder to save your place for later study, assuming you’re listening for reasons other than pleasure. You also can’t keep an audiobook on your shelf, look at it, be reminded of that amazing story every time you walk by, and take it down for a quick flip through. In fact, because audiobooks are files on a computer or smart phone or iPod, they tend to get put into the out of sight, out of mind category when finished, at least for me.
Each method of story intake has its points, and both are well and good for anyone who wants to give audiobooks a shot.
I guess my point is that if there’s anyone who’s worried about listening to audiobooks because of what some people might say about it, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be scared away from trying something that you might really enjoy. You’re not reading, but you’re not watching the movie or listening to a radio play either, so please don’t let yourself be pushed away from these if you happen to come across someone who has an attitude about people who listen to audio.
I’m curious if anyone reading this has ever got any sass about listening to audio as opposed to reading. Let me know in the comments below :)
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