Audiobooks Suck! They suck Big time! They actually suck the readers block and boredom away! I’ve been experimenting on trying out Cold Opens, and I hope this worked out, Haha!
“Audiobooks are cheating”, they said. And I took it upon myself to find out if it was indeed true for they told the same when eReaders came out too. I then embarked on a journey to sort it out for myself and everyone else. I guess I jumped a step in between where I had a Coupon for a three-month free trial subscription on Storytel about to expire which being an Indian, I didn’t want to let go! And also tried Audible and came to a conclusion on it after weighing the good and the bad!
I’ve been listening to Audiobooks for over a month now, with the first one being Before the Coffee Gets Cold. And I fell in love with audiobooks and they really have become an integral part of my daily life. I might already be sounding biased and you must’ve come to the conclusion that this is going to be another post where I rave about Audiobooks. But no, I actually am here to help you figure out if this is something for you or not!
Based on my experience and no sponsorship by Storytel, or Audible (Please do, I’m broke) I present to you the pros and cons, the good and the bad, the virtues and it’s opposite that I really don’t recollect, the turn-ons and turn-offs of audiobooks.
Amazing Things about Audiobooks
Chuck the “I don’t have time to read” problems away
Okay, Dad, if you’re reading this, please skip this section :p.
This honestly is a huge issue with many people who are super busy, all day and really beat themselves up for not being able to read books. And Audiobooks help anyone who is on the fence to begin reading after their Bibliophile friend has been pestering them to read a book but just feel that they don’t have time to read a book or are just plain exhausted to pick one up. Enter Audiobooks (Imagine the chorus of Smooth Criminal in the background); They really don’t need much effort as it is a passive experience and these just make their way into your schedules. These are a really good resource when you are commuting or travelling, or while exercising or doing mundane chores like washing the dishes (TBH I began washing dishes (to my mom’s surprise) at home and just to have an excuse to listen to audiobooks), cleaning and stuff or while jogging or cycling in a secluded part of the road at low volume or while in the washroom.
You can listen to audiobooks when you do not have to focus on stuff and negates the need for you to make out time to pick up a book and read. I mean, read with your Ears.
If your TBR list just keeps growing bigger and bigger and you’ve made friends with Anxiety who just wishes to stand by you all the time Audiobooks are a way out. And they do it in many ways.
- As said previously, you get to listen to book when you initially would not have as you didn’t have much time to begin with. So yay! +1 there.
- Based on your listening prowess you can listen to a book faster at 2x, 3x the original speed too. I personally listen at 2x as it is comfortable for me and it ensures I focus on the book as well and is not too slow that my mind wavers away. In the same time I wash dishes each day, at 2x speed I can finish 2 books! The speed is something that’s completely dependent on your convenience.
- I prefer reading fiction and fantasy on Audiobooks which gives me precious time to read Non-Fiction (On my Kindle) which needs to go slow to read, comprehend and assimilate the serious heavy content. So, I was able to replace the time I read fiction with more non-fiction which helps me in many other ways in life as well! This is again a matter of personal preference.
- Sometimes, I read the book while listening to it. I did this for Godan by Munshi Premchand and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult and observed that my reading speed significantly improved after these experiences. And well, you read faster, you read more in the same time too! Or you get more time to sit back and revel in the amazing experience or knowledge you gained.
Get out of the reading slump
Listening to audiobooks makes me wish to read more and at times when the stories are really interesting or at an interesting scene I stop everything I do and just listen to the story with joy in my eyes. This also slowly helps people shift to make time to actually read books as well. And that is a win-win situation! You get the best of both worlds!
When you are hooked to an audiobook more often than not you keep keeping Netflix and Amazon Prime video aside and you can perhaps rekindle your hopes of keeping up your New Year resolutions to reduce your addiction to Netflix and to read a few books this year!
A better experience to immerse yourself in stories
This perhaps is one of the best things about Audiobooks! With the stories being narrated instead of being read, it just accentuates the overall experience of the story.
There are multi-cast Audiobooks as well to help you recognise the voices of characters and truly immerse yourself in the narratives. The best experiences are those when the author themselves narrates the book. Their expressions and voice in each scene just makes the experience surreal for the authors are the ones who truly know their characters than anyone else in the world and you can actually see the difference!
With amazing voice actors performing Audiobooks taking you through a journey with Odin and Thor in Norse Mythology, or the entire multicast story of the Sandman or through the streets of Afghanistan while keeping pace with the Kite Runner is something you really didn’t know you wanted!
This point is here just to round off the number of positive points for audiobooks to five. But, before you skip this, this may also play a part in convincing you to try them out. The more books you read/listen you know more and can participate in many more conversations with feeling left out! You can perhaps brag about the books you read and immerse yourself in deep conversations about books!
Some things Meh about Audiobooks
Becoming a Ninja Sherlock.
This is one of the things that frustrates me the most. You just can’t highlight stuff. The only option that comes close it that you can bookmark anytime, but that’s cumbersome. I need to pause, go back 15 seconds and then use the bookmark feature. Usually, the lies in the pocket or near me which calls for ninja-like reactions.
It is really hard if you wish to go back and search for something, you really are gonna have a hard time finding it in the audio format and actually use the “Mind Palace” technique to find your way to the part you wish to revisit unless you took the pains to set the bookmark in the first place. Else, you’d have to pull your hair out!
It would be a real blessing if Storytel allowed bookmarking through locked screens or notifications instead of going into the app each time. Until then, Aaarghhh.
The Attention Curse.
This is something that happens a lot at the beginning where people give up on audiobooks the most. I can say that coz I came close to giving up on them but just hung by. You’re listening to the audiobook and you get distracted by something, or you zone out or the worst – Sleep; just to wake up the next day to see Storytel asking you to rate the experience of the book.
In the beginning it does take time to get used to listening and by spending enough time, your focus improves (it is a plus).
The problem is that if you were reading, you wouldn’t be consuming and missing out on content when you get distracted or zone out. Sometimes you need some time to revel at something you really appreciate in the book but don’t realise you forgot to pause. Sad luck, buddy! Audiobooks would keep going forcing you to Sherlock yourself to the time you last remember.
One good practise is to use the Sleep timer feature that stops the audio after a while (10mins, 15 mins or half an hour) this would really really help you out though.
If only I could…
Many people use audiobook for different kinds of books. I personally prefer listening to fiction as it is the story and narration that makes the experience beautiful. But when it comes to Non-fiction, I am the sort of a person who takes notes and focuses and needs to think and read between the lines to make the most sense and spend a lot of time thinking about the content of non-fiction which really is not possible on audiobooks, adding on the issue of being unable to highlight and take notes easily.
But it works the other way around for others, so perhaps you’ll just have to try it out and figure it out yourself.
Rupees and Volume
Oh yes! This is a super crucial aspect of audiobooks. There aren’t as many audiobooks as ebooks or paperbacks so you may not find all the books you’d wish to listen to.
And also, they cost a bomb when compared to ebooks. The only saviour is the credit system on audible or the subscription format of Storytel where I can access unlimited books by paying once, but then, the collection is not as huge as that of Audible.
So, it just boils down to you experimenting stuff and checking them out.
All this is based on my experience with two such services and would perhaps explore other audiobook services as well.
Over this time, I did realise that I read books for the joy I get from the content I interact with and the stories involved. To consider it cheating would mean that I love the act of reading. Well, if I did love the act of reading itself, I should also love to read my textbooks!
I look at audiobooks and reading books as them having their own function, each with their own virtues and flaws. It wouldn’t be called cheating if you video called your parents from another city just because you can’t be there physically right? The function to me is to receive the content of the book and that of video calling has its function of communication.
So, I personally do not believe “Audiobooks are cheating”, rather they are just another way to consume content just like books do!
And honestly, I also believe that you should try them out to figure out yourself. The best thing is most of these services provide a free trial period to explore the services as well! Especially, on Audible, you get 3 Audiobooks for free if you are an Amazon Prime Subscriber with your free trial! (And 1 book, if you aren’t)
If you have heard audiobooks, what do you think you like and hate most about them? And mainly, I’m really curious to know if you consider Audiobooks to be cheating!
I hope you’re doing really well.
Until Next Time,
Cover Pic Credits: unsplash.com