So, there’s been a debate going on: audio books vs reading a book! What’s better? So, we’ve decided to list the pros and cons of both sides of the argument, and then you can decide for yourselves.
Pros of audiobooks:
We don’t know about anyone else, but until Harry Potter hit the silver screen, we didn’t know how to pronounce Hermione! It was such an unusual name that it would tie our tongue in knots! And that’s one of the great things about audio books. Listening to a narrator, you’ll be given emotion, feeling and pronunciation, which you might have struggled with before. Listening to someone else read your favourite book can help to bring the story to life.
Now, we really want to read the classics: Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Jane Eyre…but sometimes, the language and the length of the book can be quite intimidating. I once tried to read The Lord of the Rings, but gave up after the first 10 pages. Because, to me, it felt long winded and it was a battle to keep up with the story. This is where audio books come in. You don’t have to struggle with the language, length and dialogue; you don’t have to power through pages of Elf songs and paragraphs dedicated to the moors. Instead, you can let someone else tackle the harder stuff, kick your feet back and listen. They let you enjoy the book, without getting tired, irritable or fighting off a headache.
Finding the Time:
Life is busy – we all know that. With one thousand things to do and not enough time in the day to do them, you don’t always have time to sit down and curl up with a good book. But that’s the wonder of audio books! You can be cleaning the house, doing the shopping or cooking dinner, and still enjoy your favourite books at the same time. You don’t have to set time aside to listen – just hit play and away you go!
Cons of audio books:
Unfortunately, there are down sides to audio books. If the kids are in the house, the neighbours are playing loud music, or your brain takes a mini-vacation, you may find that you miss vital plot points and you need to go back and re-listen. One of my personal struggles is that I can’t just sit and listen to an audio-book; I need to be doing something else, otherwise it can get a bit dull. Unfortunately, that means that whilst I’m busy doing something else, I can miss key elements to the story.
Much like the e-book, the audio book obviously relies heavily on technology. So, say you’re on the train, chilling and listening to your audio-book…what happens when your phone or tablet runs out of battery? Or your headphones break? Then, you’re stuck with nothing to read! Plus, phones and tablets break, get damaged, and occasionally throw tantrums – books are virtually indestructible!
Losing Your Place:
Any book-lover knows that anything works as a bookmark: a ripped receipt, a piece of cardboard – as long as you can mark your place, it doesn’t matter. But what about audio-books? Say you leave a book for six months and then try to come back to it; can you find your place? Can you even remember what the narrator was talking about when you last listened? With a hard-copy, you can just flick back a couple of pages and re-acclimatise yourself; it’s not quite that easy with an audio-book.
Pros of hard-copy books:
You have the physical book:
This one might seem obvious, but there’s something about having the physical copy of a book that just isn’t the same as having an e-book or an audio-book. Maybe it’s the feeling, the weight in your hands; maybe it’s the sound of the pages turning; maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment when you mark your place and see how much you’ve read. Who knows? Plus, you get to have a physical library! Who doesn’t want that?
With an audio-book, you can’t really skip through pages. Say you’re re-reading your favourite book, or even trying to remember a really good quote – with a hard-copy book, you can flip through until you find it. That’s not true of an audio-book. You can’t skim and skip through the book as easily as you can with a paperback.
They don’t require technology:
A book is never going to run out of charge; it’s never going to crack or blue-screen on you. Even when they get wet, you just leave them to dry off and you’re back in business. The problem with audio books is they need some form of technology and if that technology dies, say goodbye to your book. That’s not the same with paperbacks. You can read for hours at a time and never have to worry.
Cons of hard-copy books:
The problem with hard-copy books is that they take up space – and we mean, a lot of space, especially if you’re a hard-core reader. So, what are you to do, if you live in a tiny little flat and you just don’t have room to build your own library? Plus, when you’re going on holiday, it’s a nightmare trying to fit several books into your bag and still be within the carry-on weight limit!
Forgetting Your Glasses:
Some of us aren’t blessed with 20-20 vision and might just need a pair of glasses to read. But what if you lose said glasses? Or they break? Or you leave them on your coffee table before going on a two-week holiday? The beauty of audio-books is you don’t have to read. Some people find it hard to concentrate for long periods of time; some people get a headache from reading; and some people simply struggle to read, especially for an extended session. But, with audio-books, you don’t have any of that! You simply hit play and that’s it – done!
Finding the time:
Again, it all comes down to time. Unlike an audio-book, which you can enjoy no matter what you’re doing, the same cannot be said for a hard-copy book. You can’t be chopping carrots and reading at the same time – at least, not without losing a finger! Sometimes, the urge to read might just creep up on you and you don’t have a hand free to satisfy that craving – the horror! An audio-book has the benefit of hands-free entertainment; a book does not afford you that luxury.
So, there you have it! What do you prefer?
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