Who Doesn't Like Audiobooks?

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Who Doesn't Like Audiobooks?

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Edited: Oct 25, 2014, 10:06 pm

I don't think audiobooks are that great. First of all, they usually have really terrible narrators. Second of all, who wants to sit at a computer or other electronic device for 2 hours listening to someone reading you a book? Just tell me what you think in the comments.

May 20, 2014, 6:53 pm

I don't care for them, but I don't know why you think you need to sit at a computer to listen to them. You can download them onto your iPod or similar device and go about your housework, or workout routine, or whatever else you do, while listening to them.

Furthermore, some people learn better aurally then visually.

And they are a godsend to the blind and visually impaired.

May 20, 2014, 7:02 pm

Many, many people listen to audiobooks during their commute to work.

And a lot of them have really talented narrators these days. I agree that the quality of the narration makes a huge difference.

Ditto what lilithcat said about people who learn better by listening than by reading on the page, or who are visually impaired in any way.

May 20, 2014, 7:03 pm

I generally do not care for them unless there is a "performance" aspect to them. For example, listening to David Sedaris read Me Talk Pretty Someday adds a great dimension to the written word.

May 20, 2014, 7:19 pm

I've generally found myself quite satisfied with the narrators. Just recently on a driving trip, I found "Crocodile on a Sandbank" by Elizabeth Peters and "Plot it Yourself" by Rex Stout had excellent narrators.

I often will have read a book before listening to it on tape, but not always. My main place of listening is on long driving trips. I have found fiction to be the best choice for those times. While driving, I can't afford the attention that non-fiction often demands. I prefer to read most non-fiction anyway.

May 20, 2014, 11:50 pm

I don't listen to audiobooks myself because I find the narrator's voice completely gets in the way of the story. It's strange considering how often I was read to as a kid (all the time, and I loved it). However, my boyfriend loves them for long commutes. He's not such an avid reader as me and finds it hard to focus on a book for very long, so his use of audiobooks allows us to talk about stories we've both enjoyed. Audiobooks help him stick with a book and finish it much more quickly than with paper books, with just as much retention as I get from my traditional reading. It's just what works for some people.

May 21, 2014, 1:48 am

They narrate slower than I read, so listening to audio books is agonizingly slow to me.

May 21, 2014, 4:59 am

I like the idea of audiobooks, but I never get around to listening to one. The only time I ever consider it is when I'm doing some time-consuming, essentially manual, indoor task (ironing, baking, redecorating, repairing something) - but that adds up to so few hours in the week that it would take me months to finish a book. I don't like wearing headphones out of doors or on public transport.

May 21, 2014, 5:03 am

>7 Glassglue: this is I think why I don't like them much. They have their place, for some people definitely. But not me.

>1 neopian334: " who wants to sit at a computer or other electronic device for 2 hours listening to someone reading you a book?" The same could be said for ebooks, but I have no issue with them at all. It's not the device that's the problem.

May 21, 2014, 7:58 am

They have their place, as mentioned, but they're not for me. I dislike them immensely. The experience is ruined for me, there's no book just some random person's detached voice. And I need visual. Trying to listen to, well, some random person's detached voice going on and on, I can't keep focused on it at all, my mind wanders, I have no idea what's going on anymore, and it just goes in one ear and straight out the other.

Edited: May 21, 2014, 8:13 am

Audio books are a salve to my sanity. My office moved from 2 miles from my home to 45 miles away. I possibly now listen to more books than I read. If phrasing or graphics is important, I'll get the print book afterward and read it through again.
I've worn out my car's CD player and replaced it with a portable DVD player that I can carry back into the house to finish a disk at the end of a drive. It's the same size as a book, and I could theoretically watch film on it too.

You just haven't found the right narrators. Try Katherine Kellgren reading the Bloody Jack series. I had read the first book in print and it was run of the mill. Kellgren made it memorable. Quite an alliance.

May 21, 2014, 8:16 am

PS: There are several threads in this group that'll point you towards great audiobooks.

May 21, 2014, 8:26 am

It's not an either or thing for me. Audiobooks are great for maximising your 'reading' potential, if the format suits you. If I'm sedentary, I'll pick up a book or an ereader but that doesn't happen as often as I'd like and there are more books out there than time to read them. Audiobooks improve the ironing, my running, coach travel (no more car-sickness for the sake of a book) and the 8 hours a day I spend working in a lab (thankfully rescued from the music radio choices of my fellow lab mates). Of course your teacher read you books in junior school but that doesn't mean there's no pleasure in the format as an adult. Finding the right narrator is key but actually, sometimes it can add to a book if you like the format. I have frequent re-reads where I've got the whole suite of books on audio as well. There's some great narration out there, and some atrocious stuff. I don't bother hanging in there if the narration is dreadful. YMMV.

Edited: May 21, 2014, 9:01 am

Audiobooks have their place in my life - My first preference will always be to pick up a book, but as 2wonderY stated they are great for dull car rides. The reader always has a great deal to do with enjoying the book on CD though and if I can't get into the reader's voice, I will sometimes pass up even the best audiobook.

Also, I have found a good way to get through some of those classics on my TBR list that sit quietly waiting on my book shelf as I yet again pass them over for a current bestseller from the library or a great find at a booksale. It is from this site LibriVox, and on nights when I finally sit down for the night and decide if I will knit or read, I now can do both on some nights if I am knitting something that doesn't require counting stitches. Win, win situation for me.

All the books there are in the public domain and I am currently listening to A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Lucy Bird. These are not professional readers and anyone can in fact volunteer to be a reader, therefore sometimes it does take awhile to warm up to the voice, but once I overcome the voice (if I can), I find the story takes me in. I think with some books they may have several readers to choose from so if you don't like one, you can maybe find a better one.

May 21, 2014, 11:32 am

I read books more than I listen to them, but I would not want to give up either option. As stated before, they are great for commutes and for listening while doing mundane tasks. When I had a long commute and had to read tons of technical books and manuals for my job, listening during my commute was the only time I got to "read" for pleasure.

Now I sometimes listen to books when my husband is watching TV, so that we can be together but I can drown out the TV. I'm not always able to mentally ignore the TV annoyance when I am reading.

Some narrators make a book worse than it is, but there are some who make the book even better. As far as speed, I listen to most of my books at 2x speed unless the narrator reads quite quickly naturally.

I have time to listen to books when I'm walking the dog, but I don't because I want to pay more attention to the things around me and to my dog. I'm not a fan of listening to books when I'm out and about.

May 22, 2014, 12:39 am

>7 Glassglue: Interesting - That's also probably true for me, too. Even though I am a slow reader.

May 28, 2014, 12:19 pm

I don't like them at all! I lose interest in about 5 minutes and am lost. Have tried in the car driving, at home, earphones whilst walking. Just no can do!

May 30, 2014, 10:16 pm

Some are great. Some stink. The worst are when the narrator tries to fake accents or pitching voices for the other sexed characters. Terrible. Audiobooks work best for biographies particularly autobios read by the author.
A great fiction was A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore read by the actor Fisher Stevens. So good. AJ Jacobs are good too.

Definitely for commute time. Or while washing dishes for me. Otherwise it's a book for me old fashioned style.

May 31, 2014, 12:53 am

I don't care for them. I absorb information better visually than aurally, and my attention wanders during an audiobook. I don't have that problem of wandering attention when reading. That said, I don't trust myself to listen to them while driving, as I would be afraid of getting sucked in and my attention wandering. I also don't like that with an audiobook I can't control the pace. I'm stuck with what the narrator does.

May 31, 2014, 10:31 am

>19 lahochstetler: I started listening to audio books ages ago during my commutes, back when the only option was cassette tapes. I was afraid of my attention wandering away from my driving, too, but I discovered that when anything on the road got dicey, my mind shut out the audio book completely. Once I discovered that my mind handled the situations well, I didn't worry about it. Of course, it meant that I missed part of the story, and would have to go back.

Jun 1, 2014, 7:06 am

That's just exactly my experience. The mind compensates for the situation when driving. A bit of "rewinding" fixes all.

Jun 6, 2014, 4:53 pm

ebooks are just as bad.

Jun 8, 2014, 5:30 am

I used to listen to a lot when I was a kid, but hardly ever nowadays. In fact, I think I stopped listening to them roughly at the same time I started reading books for pleasure (which, by LT standards, I did fairly late - I had to overcome a moderate reading disability first).

I've tried a couple of times as an adult, but I find it difficult to maintain concentration, and annoying that I have to go at the narrator's pace, not my own.

Jun 8, 2014, 6:06 am

An UN-listened to, bought used, audiobook has been mixed in with my other media for I don't know how long... I prefer either a REAL book, or silence.

Jun 8, 2014, 11:56 am

Audiobooks are much slower, obviously. But if it weren't for audiobooks during the commute, I'd never be "reading".

I'm currently listening to The Idiot. I should be done, say around 2016...

Edited: Jun 8, 2014, 4:19 pm

Maybe even 2015, if you're lucky.

Edited: Jun 8, 2014, 4:20 pm

{Touchstone} Audiobooks

Jun 8, 2014, 6:14 pm

(Oh, and also one can't underline or make notes in an audiobook!)

Jun 8, 2014, 6:35 pm

Yea you can. Audible app has bookmarks and notes.

Jun 8, 2014, 7:45 pm

I love audiobooks...I'd never get my house cleaned unless I had them to listen to while dusting. And some things that are meant to be somewhat "oral" -- like The Iliad, or Beowulf, or even Shakespeare, benefit from being heard instead of read.

But I do find the experience to involved a different skill set than reading the printed page. I don't have trouble focusing, and don't have trouble remembering significant points, etc. But I do have trouble finding specific sections again when I want them, which does not happen with print because so much of my memory is trained to notice visual cues...where the section is on a page, how far along in the book it occurs, where in the story line it happens. When I wanted to revisit a passage in Mary Renault's The Praise Singer, where Simonides catches his apprentice practicing by writing things down to memorize them, I was able to find it in moments, even though I hadn't picked up the book since high school. But when I wanted to find a section from Barry's book on Roger Williams, where he describes Williams and King Charles...I was stuck. I had listened to the book on audio, was very taken with it, but I ended up buying the hardcover because I couldn't tell where in the book certain things had occurred.

Jun 8, 2014, 8:15 pm

>30 southernbooklady: Nicely put. I agree that the skill set needs to be a little different, and I would not want to give up my visual books, but I find plenty of room for both in my life.

Jun 9, 2014, 7:16 am

It does depend on whether you prefer to use your eyes or your ears. My neighbour read one of my novels and then asked to hear the same book as a recording. He was enthusiastic about the audio version. He said it 'came to life.' I enjoy reading and did not like the one audio book I tried - the voice got in the way, but I record for people with limited sight and they really appreciate their CDs.

Jun 9, 2014, 8:18 am

And like any other skill, it sometimes takes work. I've been an audiobook reader since the early 90s when I borrowed tapes from the library. Sure, at first it can be difficult to follow or concentrate or whatever, but because I liked the experience, I kept at it and now I learn and absorb information aurally at a much higher rate than I used to. Oh and I'm not even blind. I'm a photographer. But just like I've trained my eyes for what I do there, I've trained my brain to capture what used to flow right over it. Now I can learn in more ways than just one and what's better than that?

Jun 9, 2014, 8:24 am

>33 Bookmarque: But just like I've trained my eyes for what I do there, I've trained my brain to capture what used to flow right over it.

I used to have a stint as a regular book commentator for our public radio station. Four minutes a week to talk about whatever book I wanted. It was marvelous training as both a writer and listener, because you had to be very disciplined: there was no going over the time limit you were allotted, and no chance for your listeners to hit "pause" or "rewind." So you had to say what you wanted to say as succinctly and memorably as possible, and you had to train yourself to listen carefully.

Jun 9, 2014, 9:34 pm

>30 southernbooklady: Yes, very well put.

>33 Bookmarque: I still listen to those quaint spools of ribbon encased in thin polystyrene plastic rectangles. In the marketing business they call the like of this ol' dog, a "laggard."

Jun 10, 2014, 5:07 pm

I like audiobooks because I live in Southern California, and spend a lot of time in my car.


Jun 26, 2014, 11:31 pm

Has anyone paid to have their book translated into an audio book?

Jul 3, 2014, 4:42 am

I went into a recording studio and recorded my first novel. I had to pay by the hour and it took five hours.
Then no-one wanted a book recorded by the author but it did get me a voluntary job with a talking newspaper so it was worth it.
I have loaned copies to a number of people who prefer to hear books rather than read them, with a good response.
I'll try all ways to get my stories out there ( apart from facebook) and am enjoying the journey!

Oct 25, 2014, 6:40 pm

I honestly couldn't keep myself focused on somebody talking for hours on end. I would drift off and begin to get bored. But that's just my thoughts.

Oct 25, 2014, 6:43 pm

I understand what you mean, but they do have dics and you can put them on your computer. It was only one example.

Oct 25, 2014, 6:45 pm

I did not say anything about the visually impaired. I agree with that part but I was refering to people who are not visually impaired.

Oct 25, 2014, 7:19 pm

I like audiobooks. I like listening on my commute or at other times when I'm traveling and can't concentrate on print. When I had a data entry job I could get through a book a week. There's nothing childish about listening to a book. Narrators vary but there are many that are highly skilled. If it's not for you so what.

Edited: Oct 25, 2014, 10:08 pm

Well I'm sorry I offended you but there is no reason to get mad bostonbibliophile. I never said anything about it being childish and if it sounded like that I apologize. I am just stating my opinion. I feel that this post is useless, considering that some people get offended. I just wanted to see just how many other people disliked audiobooks. It was not so people would get offended. In fact, I might as well erase the entire thing! I apologize once again, but if anyone else is offended i promise that I will fix it.


Oct 25, 2014, 10:09 pm

Wait for peace between the folds,
And future light that is foretold.
For only you can save the flame,
And make the dragon live again.


Oct 25, 2014, 10:46 pm

I love audiobooks. I started listening when I was sick and couldn't see well enough to read. It wasn't easy at first. It's a special kind of listening, and you have to train yourself, or at least I did. Once I began to recover I was home alone a lot, and audiobooks became my companions. Now I have the cleanest house on the block because my audiobooks keep me company so that I don't get bored while cleaning house.

The narrator makes all the difference. I sometimes shop by narrator rather than author.

Oct 26, 2014, 6:41 pm

I totally get you! I just can't focus on audiobooks and I get bored easily. That's just me, though.

Oct 27, 2014, 12:43 pm

you're right, i misunderstood. my bad!