Audiobooks: Awesome or Awful?

Readers seem to conflicted when it comes to audiobooks – some love them, some hate them, some are indifferent – but there’s a general consensus that audiobooks are an amazing resource for accessibility and increasing the amount we’re able to read. They’ve opened so many people up to reading that may not have discovered the pleasure of reading without audiobooks. Personally, I have a complex relationship with audiobooks, so I wanted to explore this and share 3 reasons why I think audiobooks are awesome (pros) and 3 reasons why I think they’re awful (cons), and give my own verdict on what I think about audibooks.

(Before we get started, let’s take a moment to appreciate my genius alliteration with the title of this post 😉😂)

Audiobooks are Awesome Reason 1: They’re convenient

Audibooks are Awesome (pros)Audibooks are Awful (cons)
1. They’re convenient

Most of us lead busy lives with jam-packed schedules and as much as we’d love to devote hours every day to reading, it’s simply not feasible. Audiobooks are much easier to fit into your day whether it’s during the commute or whilst cooking dinner, there are endless times throughout the day where we can blast a few minutes of an audiobook and get some reading done with minimal effort.
1. They’re expensive

Subscription services like Scribd and Audible offer cost effective solutions to listening to audiobooks but audiobooks are generally still an expensive luxury. Prices vary depending on the book but the average price of an audiobook is between £20 and £30 which is double/triple the price of a standard paperback. For avid readers that read a lot or that are into epic series with multiple books, purchasing audiobooks can cost a small fortune.
2. A more immersive reading experience

With the right narrator(s), production, music and sound effects, audiobooks can completely transform the reading experience. I listened to an audiobook of The Hobbit last year and let me tell you, it was the best and most memorable reading experience of my life. The use of voices, sound effects and music brought the world to life and made me fall in love with the book and story in a way I might not have if I’d physically read it. Overall, audiobooks can jazz up a book, making it more entertaining, immersive and impactful.
2. Some audiobooks are poor quality

For all of the incredible audiobooks and talented narrators, there are some stinkers too. Whether it’s because they’re free or the narrator simply doesn’t do it for you, I’ve listened to many audiobooks that have been let down by poor microphone quality, noise interference, odd narration choices and casts of characters that are just too big (I’m cursed with an ability to distinguish voices from one another, particularly if they sound similar, so I’m forever confused by audiobooks with a full cast of characters). Unfortunately, readers that can’t afford to pay for audiobooks are more likely to land on free audiobooks which are poorer quality.
3. They make reading more accessible

This is undeniably the biggest perk of audiobooks. Whether someone doesn’t have time, struggles with comprehending physical texts, has a visual impairment or other disability that makes reading impossible/difficult, audiobooks provide the opportunity for everyone to read. Personally, I don’t have difficulties with physically reading but audiobooks have been a saving grace for me on more than one occasion when I’ve been too busy to read or unable to read for mental health reasons.
3. They’re harder to comprehend

Ironically, whilst some readers turn to audiobooks to improve their comprehension, audiobooks massively decrease mine. I’m not an auditory person so concentrating on an audiobook, comprehending and retaining what I’ve heard is a huge challenge for me. I’ve listened to some audiobooks and couldn’t tell you the first thing about those books beyond the basic premise because I’ve forgot. Generally, when I look through my back-log of books that I’ve read there’s a clear correlation between my memory of books and the format I read them in, and audiobooks are consistently the books I remember least.

Verdit: Are audiobooks Awesome or Awful?

They’re alright. They’re neither awesome nor awful but somewhere in the middle. Some books are better in an audiobook format and audiobooks provide more flexibility and accessibility for reading. However, personally, I will opt for a physically copy over an audiobook 9 times out of 10 because it provides a better reading experience for me.

What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you think they’re awesome or awful or somewhere in between? What are your pros and cons for listening to audiobooks? I’d love to discuss this more in the comments!

Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.