Audiobooks

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The Convenience of Audiobooks

What qualities of audiobooks do you feel are inferior or superior to reading hard copies? Do you think being able to use your hands or exercising while listening to a book is useful, or do you prefer the feel of holding a physical copy and focusing your vision on the words rather than on your surroundings?

  • I think the medium is very important here. Though audiobooks force you to follow at their pace, the added benefit of voice-acting creates a new way to experience the story. Audiobooks can be enjoyed in groups, while books are a solo experience. It's all about preference, and how you choose to enjoy the novel. – joshuahall 5 years ago
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  • I think most people would prefer the actual hard copy of a book. Sometimes, however, this isn't a luxury. If I'm driving, for example, audiobooks are great. – Alexis 5 years ago
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  • I enjoy reading a book first and the, if I really enjoyed it, listening to the audio version to hear another person's interpretation. I agree with Alexis as well, when driving or in the gym, audiobooks are great! – Catherine Conte 5 years ago
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  • I think it is impossible to divorce this topic from those who have disabilities. – rhettrichx 5 years ago
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  • I tend to remain partial to the antiquated form of reading. But, this article could tip the scale for either of both camps. Audio books certainly offer physically active people the liberty to incorporate reading into their daily activity. However, paper books offer pictures that amplify the reading experience, probably in the same way that voice actors can. It will be interesting to see how this dual themed composition evolves. – L:Freire 2 years ago
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  • Listening to narrations can be extemely useful when you're otherwise busy, or it can supplement your own simultaneous reading. I found this to be true especially when reading longer texts (like Uncle Tom's Cabin), as the combined audio and visual elements seem to enhance memorization. – LaPlant0 2 years ago
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Are Audiobooks a Lazy form of "Reading?"

I recently read an article in which a woman was complaining about constantly having to defend herself for listening to audiobooks. People would accuse her of being "lazy," or "cheating." Sadly, this said person had brain surgery 5 years ago that left her eye sight greatly diminished and reading had become a difficult process, and audiobooks her salvation. Where do you weigh in on this argument–just skim through the internet as those for and against audiobooks take great pride in stating their stance–and why is it even necessary to discuss one’s "reading" habits? Is this a form of prejudice? Why should individuals feel the need to defend themselves? When did the format of reading–though it has been occurring on the e-reader versus paper platform for many years–become such a volatile topic?

  • I love this topic. I love reading but my husband hates it. He got hooked on audio books a long time ago and now we can discuss so many of our same interests. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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  • That's interesting that people are being criticized for using audiobooks. I haven't listened to one yet, but isn't it just like having someone read to you? I can see there being tension between print and online formats but I'm curious about where audiobooks fall into the mix. – S.A. Takacs 4 years ago
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  • For me and my ADD, they're more work. – Tigey 4 years ago
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  • My cousin has motion sickness, so during car rides my aunt and uncle play audio books in the car since she loves to read. this way, for long car drives, she get's to experience and listen to stories with getting ill – Mela 4 years ago
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  • Seems like an interesting topic, but I can't help feeling that it might be a little too subjective to arrive at any significant conclusions (or rather, in the case of conclusions like "laziness," judgment calls). It's the kind of thing that varies from person to person. For me personally, though I've never ventured a full novel in audio format, I really enjoy listening to poetry, and often read along with book in hand. There are a lot of great YouTube videos of Sir Anthony Hopkins reading poems by the likes of W.B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas, and T.S. Eliot, which can really enhance the experience when the written word is paired with his classically tempered voice and rhythm. Again, that's just my personal taste; I have no expectation for anyone to necessarily agree with it for their own personal engagements with literature. – ProtoCanon 4 years ago
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  • ProtoCanon, I agree. Hearing Eliot reading "The Wasteland" recalled my grandpa's accent and diction while speaking of '30's bootleggers and railroad men in Northern Minnesota. The poem is one thing, the history - not quite Greil Marcus' Weird Old America - in his voice another. – Tigey 4 years ago
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  • This is an interesting topic. I personally prefer reading the old-fashioned way. I've tried audiobooks a few times, but I find my attention wanders way too easily for me to retain much. I have to be in an incredibly quiet place where I can just focus on the story without any other distractions for there to be any hope for me. I don't think the use of audiobooks necessarily means one is a lazy reader. It may just mean one prefers to (or has to, as the case may be) experience the story in an auditory way as opposed to the written way. It may even encourage people who aren't avid readers into becoming more invested in literature they might have never tried before. – aprosaicpintofpisces 4 years ago
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  • As a question of lack of maturity, it could be. A person that never fully explored the experience or the importance of being self-informed rather than waiting or expecting that another will water it down or mince it into relatable morsels of ideas, perhaps. In that manner, audiobooks may be viewed as counterproductive to self-improvement. Gathering information from several paper books heightens learning activity by deepening personal understanding as well as the sheer entertainment factor of reading for pleasure. – L:Freire 2 years ago
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5

How We Read: Various Ways of Engaging With and Interpreting Texts

As a teacher, I often hear about the diverse ways that people learn. I.e. some people are better at learning by listening, while others need to see the lesson in writing or experience it on a more kinetic level. In what ways do we engage with a story differently when it is in audiobook form vs. paper format?

  • I like this topic. It would be nice to add other formats like Kindle or reading from your laptop. For me it is better when I am reading straight from the pages, and it is tough when I have to read in my computer. – Andrestrada 4 years ago
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  • On a physical level, reading requires work, so it makes people more tired whereas its easier to just listen to someone recounting a story. Although for audiobooks, there is the issue of a person's voice being too high or too low, making the story hard for someone to listen to. I once did a presentation in college where I read some of my stories to the class and their feedback was that the experience brought them back to when they were young children listening to their teacher reading stories and how much they missed that magical feeling. – JennyCardinal 4 years ago
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  • This is a difficult topic due to the excellent points you bring up regarding the different learning styles of individuals. A story is such a fascinating example due to the use of the imagination in deriving the appearances of the characters, as well as the setting, and even body language. Though many of these facets are provided to the reader, we, as readers, tend to reconstruct--or, at times, deconstruct--what is written or heard. This is the reason why so many people become upset with film adaptations and the casting of certain characters; a level of disappointment arises when the character does not meet the reader's expectations. While teaching a television series in a literature course, I had students turn on the subtitles, even though the series was spoken in English. By doing so, students were subjected to the actual interactions, spoken words, and character evolutions, as well as "reading," the series as if it were a story (which, it is). I think this is a fascinating topic and I would be quite intrigued to see someone write on this, as I personally do not have a definitive answer for this topic. – danielle577 4 years ago
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  • Fantastic topic! I think it's important to also consider the ways we can judge others for their choices, ie. seeing someone reading a paper book versus seeing someone read on their phone. – LilyaRider 4 years ago
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  • This is something that I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about as well. I think, in a broad sense, we can get the same story from multiple sources (I firmly believe that you can get as much out of the film Romeo + Juliet as you can from reading the play). However, like LilyaRider said, we make value judgements based on the ways in which people engage with texts of all types. – Derek 4 years ago
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  • And there's a misguided assumption in education that after elementary school, lecture is somehow the best method of lesson delivery. When grades become indicators of success, only the auditory are valued. Our world is run by the auditory, and they don't listen to us. – Tigey 4 years ago
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  • I suspect that the audiobook form of communication provides a wider margin for distraction. The reader can attend to other necessities while gorging on the side show of the voice behind the audiobook. In the paperback form, the reader has to stop the flow of information in order to acknowledge more urgent or unexpected activity. Although both are reading time, each is unique in the path to the ultimate goal of completion and inspiration. This is a double faceted theme that will require intricate writing to whomever embarks on it. Looking forward to the finished product. – L:Freire 2 years ago
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