Audiobooks vs books. Are they the same to you? Since the content of a book does not change whether we read or listen to it, does it matter whether we decide to use our ears or eyes to capture what a book is telling us? Let’s dive into it.
In this article, I will be comparing audiobooks and books in three different aspects: experience, convenience and engagement.
Let’s parallel the experiences we get from audiobooks and books.
When we read, our inner voice comes to life. We are our own narrator and we hear the conversations in our own voices. Thus, reading gives us the space to improvise the scenes in a book. In essence, the book is the music piece and we are the conductors.
On the other hand, when we listen to an audiobook, someone narrates the text to us. Consequently, we lose the baton and instead become an audience in the crowd.
But, what if the author themselves narrated their books to you? What if you could choose to have your favourite author read to you before you sleep? Naturally, authors would be the best storytellers for their books. Since they were the ones who created the places and characters, you’d experience the book in the way that the author intended it to be.
If you’re thinking of trying out audiobooks, you can check out Audible. It’s an audiobook platform with an extensive library of books narrated by the author themselves.
When it comes to convenience, I’d give audiobooks the medal.
Audiobooks are very convenient when you’re multitasking. You could be on your daily commute, taking a stroll at the park, or doing some house chores; it is undoubtedly much easier to listen than to read.
However, this advantage of audiobooks over books only stretches so far.
As we know, there are two kinds of listening. Active listening and passive listening. When you put more focus into listening, you are practising active listening, and this allows you retain to more information.
Thus, should you want to multitask while listening to a book, I would recommend choosing an activity that does not require you to use much of your thinking hat. Or else, you might find yourself finishing a book without actually knowing what it’s about!
Depending on the amount of engagement needed, the decision to read or to listen to a book can bank on this.
Reading is something you do while listening is something that happens to you. Personally, I find myself having to put in more effort when reading compared to listening; unlike listening which has a great danger of becoming passive, having words in front of me forces me to actively read and process what is going on. Thus, reading a book may be better than listening when the text is difficult; one that perhaps requires you to read between the lines.
Of course, there are times when we engage better with a book when it’s narrated to us. For example, reading comedy books. When someone, or even the author themselves read their book to us, we might be able to capture the essence of the book more accurately.
Since both reading and listening to a book allow us to engage with a book in different ways, we must discern which approach would be the better approach.
Audiobooks vs books. One is not necessarily better than the other, and it’s not one or the other. There are perks to both listening and reading a book and in this article. The better medium for approaching a work ultimately depends on which considerations you value most. Regardless of whether you choose audiobooks or books, I believe the most important thing is that we broaden our knowledge of them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and don’t stop reading!
Or click here for tips on how to remember what you read so that you can maximise your takeaways from books.