Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Eva (A Striped Armchair) wrote On the Validity of Audiobooks a couple of days ago.  Because of migraines and other health problems, she discovered audiobooks in high school and has found that reading a book and hearing a book are equivalent for her.  She wrote the post for her blog in response to those who say "listening" is not the same as "reading" a book.  I want to share my opinion here on Bonnie's Books and find out what you think.  Mainly, I have two complaints about audiobooks:
(1)  I'm a visual person.  When I read using my eyes, I retain more than when I use only my ears.  It was true in college and graduate school, too, when I took notes while listening to the professor lecture.  Unless I wrote it down (making it "visual" for me), I didn't get as much from a class.

(2)  Taking notes while listening to an audiobook is near impossible for me.  First, I can't write as fast as a narrator can read, which means I have to back up over and over.  Second, I can't write down a page number that I can later return to before writing a book review.
As for "reading," I'm with Eva about one being equal to the other.  As long as the "reader" is satisfied with the way s/he takes in a book, so am I.  When I take long trips, it's really nice to have an audiobook to enjoy while driving the long stretches.  So far, I have never reviewed an audiobook, in part because (as I said above) I can't quote very well from it.  Would I ever?  Sure, but I would probably get a bound copy of the book, find the part I wanted to quote, and then write the book review.  But that's just the way I do things.  I wouldn't expect it from anyone else.

So what do YOU think of audiobooks?


Anonymous said...

Bonnie! You and I seem to agree completely on audiobooks, except you have summed the whole position up more succinctly than I could have.

I too am a very visual person, took way too many notes in school, and need to see something written before I can retain it. I can never study a book via audio version, though I will listen to the occasional recreational read.

Thanks for this post! I'm going to have to browse your entire blog when I have more time.

-- KT

June said...

I'm a visual person, so they're not my preference. I like being able to pause, re-read a sentence that strikes me and ponder it. I suppose you can pause the recorder, but what a pain that would be! I also tend to highlight or note up the pages of non-fiction books.

Audio books have their place...and are certainly valuable to those who can only "read" using them, but if I have a choice, always the written version for me! I've not tried electronic reading, but suspect I'd only like for fiction since I'd not be able to mark up that "book" either.

Judy likes listening to them on road trips, but I find they put me to sleep.

So there you have it...

Helen's Book Blog said...

I have only recently come to discover audio books because, like you, I am very visual. I need the book in front of me to truly "get it". But, I have discovered that an audio book does wonders for a long car ride!

Beth said...

I'm a visual person, too, and don't care for audiobooks for the same reasons June doesn't. An interesting sidenote: My late friend Ernie, who was blind from birth, really disliked audiobooks. She always read (and greatly preferred) the Braille versions.