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At the end of 2019, I finally discovered audiobooks! Previously, I had always thought they were too expensive – it was only when I discovered BorrowBox, which allows me to borrow audiobooks from my library (completely freeee!) that I was truly won over.
Listening to audiobooks has revolutionised my reading life. However, they are not without their limitations, and I have seen them criticised on some platforms as not “really” reading.
This has got me thinking about today’s debate topic – can audiobooks ever replace print?
The Issues: Pros of Audiobooks
I will search for any excuse to listen – on the bus, walking even for 5 minutes, doing housework, putting my makeup on… Now I look forward to menial tasks as an opportunity to take time out of my day to become absorbed in a story.
- Relaxing to have someone read to you
After a long day studying at my laptop, my eyes are often tired, and it’s more relaxing to have someone do the reading for me! It also brings a sense of comfort reminiscent of childhood bedtime stories.
- Trying new genres
Having more than one book on the go at once means I make an effort not to be reading similar stories, which could lead to confusion. For example, I might have a fiction book and non-fiction audiobook at the same time. This means I’ve become more experimental in the books I listen to and plan to try an even greater variety of genres!
- Read more
For me, this is the biggest advantage of audiobooks! I always have an audiobook on the go to listen to when I’m not in a position to easily read a print book. I’ve only been listening since the end of 2019 and already I’m seeing a massive acceleration in the number of books I read.
The Issues: Cons of Audiobooks
- Cannot highlight as easily or save favourite quotes
As someone who loves book quotes, one drawback of audiobooks is that it’s difficult to save those words that really strike a chord with you. I know there is software available that lets you take clips, but it’s not as easy as print or ebooks.
Personally, I’ve liked listening to the narrators of the three audiobooks I’ve read so far. However, as readers, we can be fussy, and it’s just another factor that may make or break our enjoyment of a story.
- Prefer physicality of book, especially for special books
Having an audiobook just doesn’t feel as ‘real’ as owning a print book. Particularly if a book is one of my favourites, I love to have a physical copy to put on my shelves.
- Reduces imaginative effort
I think audiobooks still create space for our imaginations, but in fixing how the character sound we are less free to ‘hear’ their voices in our minds.
Now it’s over to you! Do you prefer print books or audiobooks? Do you think audiobooks will ever replace print? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments, I would love to hear from you!