2022 & 2023 Reading Challenge discussion

ARCHIVE - General > To Audiobook or not to Audiobook?

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message 1: by Octothorpe Reader Leora K (last edited Jul 17, 2018 07:48AM) (new)

Octothorpe Reader Leora K (octothorpereaderleorak) | 276 comments I wanted to hear from some members who listen to audiobooks (specifically fiction).

* Do you find it easier or harder to follow?
** Do you prefer reading or listening?

I am keen to start listening to audiobooks, as it would make things a little easier i.e. housework, driving, hobbies etc, but I don't want to take away the enjoyment of getting lost in a book.

message 2: by Blagica (new)

Blagica  | 12050 comments I think honestly that it is a preference. I do both sometimes I listen while I read or just listen or just read.

message 3: by Catka (new)

Catka | 269 comments I love audiobooks. I discovered them only at the beginning of this year but I am completely hooked on them now. They allow me to "read" while I cook, do household chores or walk and in this way I do not feel that doing chores is such a loss of time. I also love to be able to be with a book on a walk in woods or on the way to or from work. It is true I tend to select books which I do want to read, but do not want to give them my full time or attention (not my favourite genre or topic) or very long books, because it is true that my attention tends to wander occasionally and I do not mind with these. If I listen to a book I care very much about, I tend to follow both audio and written text at the same time when I can or rewind if I am lost.
I recommend them very much.

message 4: by Robin Loves (new)

Robin Loves Reading (robint60) | 37 comments I read both print and listen to audiobooks everyday. I specially love audio books, even using the Kindle reader when doing chores or even things like working on my blog. I am able to get a book or two red everyday this way.

message 5: by jb (new)

jb Byrkit (jbbyrkit) | 80 comments At first I tried so hard to listen to audiobooks. It just wouldn’t work for me. I was about ready to give up. I finally tried nonfiction, and it clicked with me. Once I got over that hump, I was able to enjoy all kinds of audiobooks. I loved listening to them at work to get through my boring day.

Dracula is one of my favorites on audible if you can find the version where Tim Curry is he narrator. Also A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is funny. It made me laugh out loud at work.

Octothorpe Reader Leora K (octothorpereaderleorak) | 276 comments Did any of you find it difficult to follow character-; or scene changes as you cannot see the words on the page (i.e. when another character is now talking or thinking). Or when it's the start of a new chapter?

message 7: by Catka (new)

Catka | 269 comments I am reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and came across this quote, which I agree with :) “I've never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say it's a totally different experience. When you read a book, the story definitely takes place in your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes”

Octothorpe Reader wrote: "Did any of you find it difficult to follow character-; or scene changes as you cannot see the words on the page (i.e. when another character is now talking or thinking). Or when it's the start of a..."
No, they are done by professionals, actors and directors, and they know how to work with their voice, change it with every character, make pauses, so if you have a good narrator it is quite clear what is going on.

Octothorpe Reader Leora K (octothorpereaderleorak) | 276 comments Catka wrote: "I am reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and came across this quote, which I agree with :) “I've never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say it's a totally differe..."

Thank you Catka :)

message 9: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) I've tried audiobooks but they just don't work for me. I have to concentrate too much, can't be doing anything else, and in that case I prefer reading the book myself instead of listening to it. It might be easier for me in my native language but the books I want to read aren't available in Dutch (audio).... So I've given up on audio books I'm afraid.

message 10: by Camila (new)

Camila (camilakaya) | 28 comments I have come to love audiobooks :-)

But, there are some books I've rather read myself and then some that I just want to listen to.

I agree, that it is a different experience, and it takes time to learn to listen to audiobooks.

I often listen, when I'm at Work doing easy routine work, doing laundrying, walking or vacuuming etc.

The reader of the audiobook though....it can ruin the experience if you don't like his or her voice. But I really think that over the last few years the readers have improved a lot.

message 11: by Mie (new)

Mie | 2015 comments I also found it hard to concentrate on an audiobook the first couple of times I tried it. My mind wandered all the time... But then I listened to a very exiting mystery, and now I can listen to most genres.

But the voice and pace is still important to me, so occasionally I have to abandon an audiobook and read the physical book instead.

message 12: by Satin (new)

Satin (satin_ss) | 352 comments I think audiobooks are a great way to read during your day! I can multitask and read which seems great. Just about a week ago, I finished an audiobook while solving a 1,000 pieces puzzle. But there are some genres like mystery and detailed fantasy books that might confuse me a bit while listening to it. I usually avoid those genres because I would like to read them, not listen to them. My first audiobook was Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I adored the narrator and loved how she told the story. The narrator was Carolyn McCormick. I think audiobooks have pros and cons. If you’re a person who drives a lot ( goin to work, road trip,etc) audiobooks should be awesome for you! I still prefer reading physical books, but audiobooks are a great way to branch out! So I would recommend audiobooks. Just maybe, test out what genres are your preference :)

message 13: by jb (new)

jb Byrkit (jbbyrkit) | 80 comments The narrator is definitely important. Some are very good, but others can ruin the experience. I had an author offer me his audiobook for free. The narrator sounded like Rodney Dangerfield. I tried so hard to listen, and then decided it wasn’t worth it to my ears. I told the author the narrator was terrible.

Kate Mulgrew is another great narrator as well as Xe Sands. Neil Gaiman narrates many of his books too.

Jasmine (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ | 78 comments I'm on the fence with audiobooks. I mostly listen to audiobooks if I have already read the book before or it isn't a book that I'm super excited about so I don't get worried that I'm missing things. I just got into them recently so maybe my opinion will change as I get used to them! It's very useful for when I have other things I have to do though. Like someone said before it also really depends on the narrator too!

message 15: by Li'l Owl (new)

 Li'l Owl I absolutely love audiobooks! I often read one and listen to another one all the time. Having said that, a really good narrator is imperative. I actually rate the narrator(s) of an audiobook separately from the book itself. I have a specific rating system on my profile page so other readers can get some idea of what I think makes a great narrator. I've been fortunate that most of the books I've listened to have had great narrators who've made the book even better than if I had read it.

message 16: by Mayke ☕️ (new)

Mayke ☕️  | 5 comments I have only listened to a couple of audiobooks so far. I notice that I'm slowly starting to get more into them. Sometimes I struggle with following the story, but It's been a lot better compared to the first audiobook I listened to. What I love most is that you can read while doing stuff. There's so much time a day that you can't read because chores or anything else. Audiobooks are perfect for that.

message 17: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Mayke (thecozyfort)☕️ wrote: "I have only listened to a couple of audiobooks so far. I notice that I'm slowly starting to get more into them. Sometimes I struggle with following the story, but It's been a lot better compared to..."

Do you listen to English or Dutch books? I find I can not concentrate enough on English books to be able to follow the story; in Dutch I cannot find books I would want to read, meaning books that are high on my TBR priority list....

message 18: by Dianne (new)

Dianne Mck. (diannemck) | 57 comments I have been a member of Audible since 2003 and I love it. If I waited until I had time to sit down and read, I'd never get to my yearly goals. I do love reading but Audible lets me get things done around the house, driving, walking in the morning. I love it. But I always get the non-abridged.

message 19: by Boipoka (new)

Boipoka (aparajir) To answer your questions,

* Do you find it easier or harder to follow?

I find it harder. For one thing, my mind wanders. For another, "re-reading" a sentence or paragraph is so much harder in audio, that I tend to not bother trying. Narration quality varies wildly too - some narrators are much harder to follow.

** Do you prefer reading or listening?

Reading. By a million miles. But I will listen if I can not read.


Audiobooks have grown on me, sort of. I actually hated being read to as a kid - the voices and tones never sound right - and didn't see how audiobooks would be different. So I didn't try them at all till one of my reading challenges required me to.

Then, I found,
* Non-fiction works much better for me. I am not constantly annoyed that the narrator interpreted a character differently than I did, or *gasp* doesn't sound like the character "should".
* I can't "just listen" to an audiobook. Unless my brain is actively engaged in doing something else, it seamlessly converts audio in to background noise, and 30mins later I will realize I haven't heard a word. So audiobooks (or podcasts for that matter) are for chore-time only.
* I can enjoy my fictional favorites, where I already know the story inside-out, on audio.
* For new books, if I am not interested in the genre, or ambiguous about reading it, I will start out on audio and if the book really draws me in, switch to print. Skimming books works really well on audio

Octothorpe Reader Leora K (octothorpereaderleorak) | 276 comments Thank you so much for everyone's contributions. I started listening to audiobooks at the beginning of August and I have really enjoyed the experience. I do it particularly when I am crocheting (busy with a blanket, so nice big project) or driving. I found the narration is a key component that will determine if you enjoy the book or not. So far I have been very lucky. :D :D

message 21: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 671 comments I started my first audiobooks this year and I am now a big fan. I "read" much more than I "listen"- but there are times when the audio format wins! We drove about 5k kilometres with our kids this summer and listened to hours and hours of Harry Potter audiobooks. I am currently listening to the Crazy Rich Asians series.

message 22: by Catspjamas (new)

Catspjamas I listen to audiobooks only when I'm driving, especially on long trips. I enjoy it, but it's not the same experience as reading. The biggest problem for me is I'm not as connected, I will sort of tune out, am listening to the words but not really hearing what is said. I eventually read the actual book.

message 23: by Andreda (new)

Andreda (andredababy) | 24 comments I listen to audiobooks when I'm working on a project or doing household chores. I find it easier to listen to nonfiction more than anything. Sometimes with fiction I tend to tune parts of the story out and then I have no clue why certain things are happening nor how we got to certain places.

message 24: by Keri (new)

Keri Sparks | 309 comments I've come to the decision that I only go to an audiobook when it's a book I know I will never read and don't really care all that much to put time into. The reason for this is that I don't pay attention. I miss probably about 50% of the storyline and 80 to 90% of the details.
On top of that, audiobooks bore me. I don't know for sure what it is, but whenever someone reads aloud to me, the story feels really monotonous really quickly. My mind starts to wander, I daydream, my attention drifts, I start thinking about all the things I should be doing (or all the things I AM doing). In the end,
So audiobooks aren't for me unless I'm desperate.

message 25: by Cassie (new)

Cassie | 350 comments I listen to audios constantly now as I commute 45 minutes each way for work. I also listen to them when doing chores / tasks that don't take much concentration (chores, and more recently as I'm doing cross stitch).

As far as it being easier or harder to follow, it really depends on a few things for me:
1 - the narrator. Some are AMAZING (Jim Dale for the Harry Potter audios, for example) while others I struggle listening to (I hated listening to Percy Jackson....)

2 - my focus on the audio versus other tasks. I can't listen if I need to concentrate on something else.

3 - my attention span. Sometimes, ADD kicks in and I miss everything that I've been listening to.

message 26: by Alice (new)

Alice Mc | 9 comments I've just finished my first audiobook in absolutely ages! Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamund Pike, which met all my expectations and was fantastic.

However, I'm also listening to a non-fiction, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and finding it difficult. Whilst interesting, it's heavy going so I don't "look forward" to listening to it. That results - shockingly - in me not listening to it. And the chapters are so long that it's a bit daunting.

I have noticed that I find it much more difficult to focus on an audiobook that a real book. Maybe this is a curse of growing up in the modern world, that "just listening" isn't enough to hold my attention? I need to be doing something else, like knitting, cooking or driving to stop me being too fidgety. At the same time, my mind will easily drift off and I'll realise I've had the audiobook on for half an hour without taking anything in.

Having said that, I'm definitely going to try and continue with audiobooks for driving, which I loved! I especially liked listening to Jane Austen, so might try something similar again.

message 27: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Ratliff | 9 comments I’ve been listening two a couple of audiobooks on theology. One author obviously uses lots of charts. The narrator’s attempt to read the charts is admirable but ultimately unintelligible. I listened to The Sparrow and loved it. Bottom line: narrative in audiobook form works great. Technical writing, not so much.

message 28: by Dorottya (new)

Dorottya (dorottya_b) | 21 comments I definitely prefer "physical" reading to listening. I turn to audiobooks only if I want to consume / "read" something but I don't have the means or time to actually sit down to read - like when I have a lot of household chores to go through. In those cases, choose to listen to shorter audiobooks, under 2 hours (usually they are equivalent of 60-200 pages, depending on how the audiobook itself is structures - some have a lot of interval music etc.), because otherwise I am going to get too easily distracted.

message 29: by Sol (new)

Sol (sunbaby2012) | 14 comments Usually the only times I listen to audiobooks are if it is non-fiction or if I have already read the book before.

message 30: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Morrison | 404 comments I like to have at least one audiobook in rotation for when I’m driving and doing chores. It usually takes me quite a bit longer to get through audiobooks then to physically read a book.

message 31: by Allie (new)

Allie | 295 comments When I had a long commute, I enjoyed audiobooks, but now that I work closer to home, I really don’t have a use for them. Trying to listen to an audiobook while I do other tasks just doesn’t work for me. I can’t get into the story, and 15 or 20 minutes will pass before I realize it’s still playing, but I haven’t heard a word.

I’ve always been a visual and kinesthetic learner, rather than an auditory one. Maybe that’s part of my problem.

message 32: by Territadlock06 (new)

Territadlock06 | 14 comments I have recently started listening to audio books, love that I can do my chores or drive and still get my books in.

message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda | 62 comments I love audiobooks!
I feel so lazy if I sit down and read a real book. If I listen to an audiobook I can make dinner/drive/tidy up etc at the same time. I also listen in double speed because I have a loooooooong list of books I want to listen to.

If you just started listening to audiobooks, it can be hard to focus, but soon it will be better.

message 34: by Luisa (new)

Luisa (deborahluisa) | 170 comments I like audiobooks. As well kindle and printed.
It helps me to develop my english by listening (i'm not english-native-speaker) and to develop my concentration and multitask (listen and do another thing at the same time).

Also, I have some specific situations when I prefer one type over another. For example, I use to listen audiobook at work or public transportation.
Kindle books when I'm not at home, like parks or any type of line waiting for something.
And printed at home. I don't take them from home, my bag is always full and heavy.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

I have never wanted to try audio as I fall asleep reading and was afraid I would miss too much. I never that about doing while being active and have decided to give it try when doing my workouts at the gym. I tested it out this am while getting ready for work and think I might like. Thanks for the discussion topic I may have missed on a new way to explore reading.

message 36: by Connie (new)

Connie (conniecav) | 6 comments I love audiobooks! I can listen while doing chores and feel like I am taking multi tasking to a whole new level!! My mom read to me as a child and so it feels like a trip back in time to have a book read to me. David Baldacci's book read by Ron McClardy are excellent audiobooks. Oh and I do get audios on Audible, but check your local library for audio checkouts or apps like Overdrive for free checkouts from your local library.

message 37: by Scott (new)

Scott Flicker | 1191 comments I love audiobooks. Great way to read while doing other stuff like driving, walking etc. I do think the narrator makes a big difference. One thing I find that helps is don't forgot you can always hit rewind if you start getting confused about the story/plot etc.

message 38: by Arielle (new)

Arielle | 145 comments I started trying out audiobooks at the beginning of last year and I find them to be hit or miss. I do need to concentrate a bit in the beginning to make sure I am following along with the characters. Sometimes, Ill opt to read the first few chapters in hard print before switching over.

I've also found some of them are better than others in that the person reading does a better job of sounding pleasant, using voices to illustrate the different characters, and not speaking too fast or slow. Other times, its a monotone voice or a man doing a horrible job at a woman's voice, etc. Those times it is much harder to follow along.

Like many others i tend to listen to audiobook while doing other household chores or getting ready for work or bed. The time I probably would have listened to music in the past.

I do always have an actual copy of the book as well though just in case I want to read some of it apart from listening.

Sheryl_at_Ubookquitous (ubookquitous) | 377 comments For me, I love listening to audiobooks. I listen because I spend a significant time in my vehicle for work right now. When I started, I struggled to concentrate, but like other skills, listening gets better with practice. I now listen to most books on 2x speed. What is great about this is I read a physical book at about regular spoken word speed, and but through listening I can complete a book almost twice as fast compared to reading the physical. I'm curious though after listening to over 200 audiobooks if my reading speed for physical books has increased? I'll have to go back to tracking it. LOL

I love great narrators, and I find that most genre's are easier to listen to than they were when I started. I do slow down for some narrators or types of books, but overall, audiobooks have increased the time available to read astronomically.

message 40: by Dee (new)

Dee | 2 comments I have recently started "reading" audiobooks and it has completely changed how and how much I consume books. When I first started listening to audiobooks I was constantly having to go back an re-listen to sections of the book where my mind had wandered. Eventually, I began to be able to listen to an audiobook while working at my desk. I still miss parts but am able to catch about 80% of the story. I listen on 1.25 when I'm working, 1.5 when I'm working out. Another thing that I love to do is listen to the audiobook as I read the physical book. I read much faster than the spoken work which means that if forces me to slow down a bit and absorb more of the story. I can read a book at 2.0 but listening to anything faster the voices are too distorted for me.

message 41: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 671 comments I still read most of my books, but I usually have an audiobook on the go at all times. A good narrator makes all the difference- the Harry Potter series was amazing! My kids will listen to audiobooks while we do road trips for HOURS- they put down the ipad and just listen! The Crazy Rich Asians series were also really well done!

message 42: by Emma (new)

Emma (emma-m) | 24 comments I love audiobooks and probably listen to ~50% of my books. I have a really nice audiobook subscription that lets me listen to as many books a month as I want, and it has totally re-ignited my love for reading. I listen while doing chores, while bike commuting and while walking. Would highly recommend audiobooks to people who are in a reading dip!

message 43: by Ashleigh, Challenges (new)

Ashleigh Motbey | 1217 comments I personally prefer reading a physical copy, however, sometimes it's nice and relaxing. My husband and I have just signed up to Audible. I find it difficult to concentrate unless I have some colouring or something mindful out in front of me at the same time.

message 44: by Rebecca (last edited Feb 25, 2019 02:09PM) (new)

Rebecca (rebecita77) | 7 comments I listen and read. I am enjoying Lord of the Rings this way. The reader sings the songs in the book so it enhances it.

message 45: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melaniewatkins) | 4 comments For the most part No! I really love the feel of a book in my hand and on my shelf! However, I’m a cross stitcher so in a one off situation I will listen to one while I stitch!

message 46: by Anna (new)

Anna (holdthepage) (holdthepage) | 13 comments Although most of my reads are physical, I started falling in love with audiobooks last year. Like others noted, my ability to concentrate improved over time. They're perfect for commutes and when I'm at home, either getting ready, cooking, or cleaning.

I struggle with certain genres (fantasy) because sometimes I need to look over some passages more than once (with the worldbuilding, magic system, and action sequences)...but love it for fantasy re-reads or reading along with the physical copy. Also, I can't do classics on audio unless I've read it before. My favorite genre to listen to is autobiography/memoirs (Becoming, Born a Crime), though, since the author usually narrates those. I enjoy those more than the physical copy.

I find I also love full-cast and unique audiobooks. Like Sadie, where every other chapter is a true crime podcast. I've also read Illuminae with the physical, since it's a visual read (the audio enhanced my enjoyment as some pages I would have just skimmed, but was fully dramatized). GraphicAudio and BBC have fantastic full-cast dramatizations.

If there is one single narrator, I'm a bit picky, but I really love Julia (Educated, The Great Alone), January LaVoy (The Diviners and tons of others like John Grisham's and Nora Roberts' books), Will Patton (Dr. Sleep and at least a hundred others) are outstanding.

message 47: by Alison (new)

Alison (thedreadedbookworm) | 4 comments I am a recent Audible convert and I love it. It's much better listening to an audiobook while driving (better for the road rage) and definitely helps at work when I have to do my spreadsheets! I'd say about a quarter of my books are audiobooks now.

message 48: by Tara (new)

Tara (art_in_the_blood) I have a rough time with audiobooks. I've listened to a handful because I really wanted to hear the story read by a particular narrator (usually the author), but I can't multitask at all while listening. I have to be a vehicle passenger or sitting on the couch staring off into space or lying with my eyes closed.

I so wanted to be able to knit and listen at the same time, but unless it's utterly mindless knitting, I get distracted by the pattern or fixing a mistake and end up having to rewind the audio all the time. Same with driving: as soon as I have to concentrate on what I'm doing, I lose the plot. At least it's not the other way around!

I tend to get fully immersed in a story while reading, like I'm in a movie of the story; and just as I don't skip parts in a text, I feel like I can't miss parts of the audio--what if I miss something important?

I suspect that might be the difference between me and audiobook fans who multitask: they aren't as "perfectionistic" about hearing every word. What do you guys think?

message 49: by Amy (new)

Amy Ingalls | 2107 comments I am exactly the same way Tara. I find myself constantly rewinding. So I usually listen while driving alone or while walking my dogs.

message 50: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah OMG! I have so much to say on this topic..

ok, so, I am an avid reader AND audio book lover. I don't love one over the other

with that said, I do have times that I will prefer to read or listen. For example, if I am going to bed, I will read for a while until I am tired, then, I will turn off my light and listen to an audiobook. for me, there is something soothing about a persons voice going on and on.

I hate it when people say listening to an audio book does not count as reading a book. True, it is not READING, but you are still experiencing a story, and are taking on the same journey as someone who is reading a physical book.

Like what others have said, I can easily multi-task while listening to a book. I love to sit and draw while listening to a book.

I think it is so inconsiderate if people say that audiobooks don't count at all. I do agro that actually reading books is important but people are deaf and some are illiterate and cannot experience a book by actually reading it.

ok... that is all I could think of right now

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