Audiobooks vs eBooks: Pros and Cons

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Both formats have their advantages, disadvantages, fans, and haters.

In this article, we will go through different Pros & Cons of eBooks and audiobooks.

And I want you to make your own decision who wins.

Or maybe you will declare a draw.

Let’s get started!

Audiobooks: Pros

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks vs eBooks
Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks are immersive, educational, instructional, entertaining, and very convenient. Audiobooks can also change the way we listen, read, and learn, improving young readers’ literacy and those for whom English is a second language. Here are the benefits of audiobooks.

Multitasking

Audiobooks vs eBooks

One of the best things about audiobooks is that you have the freedom to multitask. You can continue listening to your audiobook if the other tasks do not require much of your attention.

Many people love listening to audiobooks in the gym or while going for a walk or while carrying out another daily commute, be it driving, cooking, or even bathing. We cannot do these things while reading, can we?

For the last seven years, I can’t imagine going to sleep without listening to an audiobook. It’s my relaxer.)

Real-Life Story

When I was in the military, during my first weeks, I asked myself once. What am I missing from a civil life the most?

Internet!!! The Internet was in second place.

The first place was – Audiobooks)))))

Narrators rulez!

Audiobooks vs eBooks

The personality of the narrator can enhance the flow and feel of the story. Sometimes multiple narrators are doing different characters or subplots, which make the book even more enjoyable. The narrators are very enthusiastic, and they can make the story a fun experience.

I’m a fan of several narrators of fiction books. Each of them has its style, which strongly attracts me, and this fact adds many points to a particular book.

I have conducted a test; I’ve chosen a book that was narrated by two narrators. And guess what? The results were different. One of the narratives seemed more entertaining than the other.

Relaxer for your eyes

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Both physical and electronic books require a reader to concentrate their eyes on the text. Therefore, the eyes get stressed and tired. Audiobook plays the role of a relaxer.

Choose your speed

Audiobooks vs eBooks

One of my favorite advantages is that an audio player lets you choose the speed of the audiobook. Mostly when I listen to fiction books, I love to have 2x speed.

Real-Life Story

I used the “SpeedUp Lite” app on my iPod Touch from 2013 till June 2020. It was an old app (iOS 5) with no updates, ugly interface, and awkward user experience. Still, it lets me listen to audiobooks faster. When a book was split into chapters, I had to use software to combine all small files into one. It was a long process.

And to my surprise, in June 2020, I stumbled upon a short video on YouTube on how to convert multiple audio files into iBooks format through iTunes. I was so happy that the process lightning fast!

Super convenient

Audiobooks vs eBooks

You don’t have to turn pages or hold a device. Just press the play button, place the player wherever you like, and start listening! It is as simple as that. If you want, you can also lie down and close your eyes while listening to the book.

Most of all, modern players remember the place where you have stopped. Just by choosing the title, it will continue to play from the site you paused.

Great, isn’t it?

Beneficial for people with visual disabilities

Audiobooks vs eBooks

One of the most notable benefits of audiobooks is their role in the life of people with visual disabilities.

Audiobooks are a blessing for people with visual disabilities and other reading disorders such as dyslexia, hyperlexia, etc. In recent years, audiobooks have contributed immensely to literacy development among differently-abled individuals.

Another case when the audiobook is more preferable than eBooks – after the eye’s surgery condition. It may be from 2 weeks to several months when a person is not recommended or prohibited from eyes stress.

Listen anywhere

Audiobooks vs eBooks

 It doesn’t matter where you are. As long as you have your gadget, you can listen to audiobooks. You can be in the mountains hiking, in an airplane, or anywhere else. Another moment to listen – is in your car while driving; some people call it “University on Wheels.”

Good fit for loooong books

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Some books like “War and Peace” or “Moby Dick” are quite long. Listening to audiobooks can often feel like entertainment, like watching an episode of a TV show or listening to a podcast. Publishers often record them in 20-30 minutes of chapters, which is very convenient to stick to your schedule.

Audiobooks: Cons

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks vs eBooks
Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks have many benefits, but there are downsides too. Here they are.

Needs a big memory card

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Depending on the quality and duration, the audiobook can have a size from 100MB to 1.5GB. It means that to store a library, you need a high-volume memory card on your device. If you don’t have one, you will have to keep all your books on your computer.

Inconvenient navigation

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Sometimes when you get distracted, you may want to go back, but it’s not as easy. You have to spend some time to find a moment you want to continue. It is good that some audio player apps have +30 seconds & -30 seconds buttons that help in navigation.

It’s also not very handy to scan the eBook and skip some content you may feel are not required. Suppose the narrator is explaining unnecessary details or something boring, and you want to miss that part. In that case, you may find it challenging to do that with audiobooks.

The amateur narrator or low-quality audio

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Sometimes you may not like the narrator of the book. Maybe you don’t like his/her voice or the way he is narrating, or perhaps he/she is unable to bring life to book the way you expected it. Or sometimes, the quality of the audio track is low, and it’s becoming uncomfortable to listen.

It can be a big turn off from the book, and you can’t help it. You will either have to turn to a physical version of the book or continue listening to that narrator even if you don’t like it.

Need a high-speed internet and computer

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Average size audiobook in good quality weighs about 700MB. Files of that size can easily be downloaded with speeds higher than 10MB/s. Anything lower than that becomes a problem, especially if the internet connection isn’t stable. There are not many audiobook apps on smartphones, which means you have to download a book to your computer and then transfer it to your gadget.

Can’t highlight

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Many of us have a habit of highlighting or underlining essential or catchy lines while reading a book. You cannot do that with an audiobook. You will have to note those lines manually, and that may take some extra effort and time.

No illustrations

Audiobooks vs eBooks

It feels like you are missing something when the narrator mentions some pictures or illustrations, and of course, you cannot take a look at this.

Not all the book summaries have an audio format

Audiobooks vs eBooks

The audiobooks industry is still in the development stage. Even though we have access to many books today, but still not to all. And sometimes, the book you want to read is missing the audio version.

Only several books on your device

Audiobooks vs eBooks

As the average size of audiobooks in decent quality is 500 MB, it means you can only store a handful of books at once on your gadget. If you are an avid audiobook listener, you add/remove audiobooks to/from your device almost every day, which takes your time and effort.

More expensive

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Audiobooks are usually more expensive than eBooks. The reason is that they cost more money to store and distribute than eBooks, and because of the studio, labor, and voice-actor costs plus royalties.

Books vs Audiobooks

Books vs Audiobooks Pros and Cons
Books vs Audiobooks Pros and Cons

eBooks: Pros

Audiobooks vs eBooks
Audiobooks vs eBooks

Highlighting functionality

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Highlighting is very easy with eBooks. You can easily make highlights without worrying about the integrity of the book. On most eBook readers, it’s also easy to scroll through the book to find your highlights. It is a huge plus for most non-fiction readers because a review session is essential to learn all of the book’s contents truly.

Also, worth mentioning that many eReader programs and apps allow you to write notes in the book, which is very helpful. You can write ideas on how to implement or test something you read in a book.

1000 books in your pocket

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Average eBook weights several megabytes at maximum, i.e., you can store 1000s of books on a relatively small memory card. Another thing is when you have 1000 books at a hand’s reach, you don’t have to think about downloading and uploading tasks every time. A pivotal moment is that you have all the best books of your choice with the highlights you have made before so that you can look through at any moment.

Even slow Internet will work

Audiobooks vs eBooks

That again benefits due to eBook small file size. It is easy to download a 10Mb eBook even with 1Mbit/s internet speed. This issue especially relevant for places with slow speed internet.

Can retain the book look and feel

Audiobooks vs eBooks

 It is not true of all eReaders, but the Kindle Paperwhite (aside from being an excellent eReader) largely retains the feel of reading a real book.

Transferrable

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Popular e-reading programs such as Google Play and Amazon Kindle let you quickly transfer your books between devices, which is convenient. The syncing process is faster than copying from one device to another with the help of a computer.

Improves your ability to visualize complex concepts

Audiobooks vs eBooks

Even Einstein visualized his theories and concepts of sun and stars first; he experimented in his mind and concluded what was and wasn’t possible.

It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or a scientist; the ability to visualize complex concepts is undoubtedly useful to have. Reading books of a different kind requires you to imagine other places, people, and events in your mind.

Unlike TV, where even the hardest to imagine scenery is presented to you on a silver platter, you aren’t using your mind when you interpret a given image.

Books train our brains and develop thinking processes

Audiobooks vs eBooks

We all agree that books make you smarter, broaden your outlook, and enhance cognitive abilities. Books develop your thinking. It’s not a secret that many CEOs, directors, and other kinds of leaders are avid readers. Bill Gates reads 75 books per year on average. Toni Robbins even more.

Scientists at Stanford University proved that the process of reading trains the cognitive abilities of the brain. This effect doesn’t occur when watching TV or playing computer games.

It is supported by the opinions of so many successful people who praise books, such as Brian Tracy, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey. So, if you want to be successful, you should read!

Improves memory and writing skills

Audiobooks or eBooks

When you read actual letters from a paper, your brain remembers how to spell words correctly, i.e., you become a more literate person and improve your vocabulary.

When a person reads – he/she is practicing a reading skill, which means a person becomes a better reader and increases reading speed and developing memory.

Improves focus/concentration

Audiobooks or eBooks

Reading the book is a mental task, i.e., your brain gets a cognitive load and develops your focus muscles. Developed concentration abilities will enhance your overall learning process.

Better comprehension

Audiobooks or eBooks

According to the study of Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, actual reading helps to comprehend information better.

“About 10 to 15% of eye movements during reading are regressive—meaning [the eyes are] going back and re-checking,” Willingham explains. “This happens very quickly, and it’s sort of seamlessly stitched into the process of reading a sentence.” He says this reading quirk almost certainly bolsters comprehension. It may be roughly comparable to a listener asking a speaker to “hold on” or repeat something. “Even as you’re asking, you’re going over in your mind’s ear what the speaker just said,” he says. Theoretically, you can also pause or jump back while listening to an audio file. “But it’s more trouble,” he adds.

— Daniel Willingham

Audiobooks or eBooks

Study results

Daniel co-authored a 2010 study named They Hear, but Do Not Listen

that found students who listened to a podcast lesson performed worse on a comprehension quiz than students who read the same course on paper. “And the podcast group did a lot worse, not a little worse,” he says. Compared to the readers, the listeners scored an average of 28% lower on the quiz—about the difference between an A or a D grade, he says.

Interestingly, at the start of the experiment, almost all the students wanted to be in the podcast group. “But then right before I gave them the quiz, I asked them again which group they would want to be in, and most of them had changed their minds—they wanted to be in the reading group,” Daniel says. “They knew they hadn’t learned as much.”

He says it’s possible that, with practice, the listeners might make up ground on the readers. “We get good at what we do, and you could become a better listener if you trained yourself to listen more critically,” he says. (The same could be true of screen-based reading; some research suggests that people who practice “screen learning” get better at it.)

But there may also be some “structural hurdles” that impede learning from audio material, Daniels says. For one thing, you can’t underline or highlight something you hear. And many of the “This is important!” cues that show up in textbooks—items like bolded words or boxed bits of critical info—aren’t easily emphasized in audio-based media.

You can read a full article at Time.com.

eBooks: Cons

Audiobooks or eBooks

Audiobooks vs eBooks
Audiobooks vs eBooks

Distractions

Depending on what you’re reading with, the notifications that pop up on your device can be too distracting. It is especially true when you’re reading eBooks on a tablet or phone instead of a Kindle device. It takes away from your focus and from the experience of reading the book.

Your phone gets different notifications every 5 minutes from apps, messages, and social media. Or someone may call you during the reading process. It distracts a lot from the book.

More is not always better

Audiobooks or eBooks

Collecting books you think you will read someday. Since eBooks don’t take up physical space, it is easy to get many them and never read past the cover. It is too easy to forget about them or about reading altogether.

Gathering a bunch of information like books, seminars, training for the future is an unproductive habit.

Real-Life Story

By the end of my university, I collected 200-300 eBooks and 50-60 training programs and tutorials. What percent of these materials have I started learning?

Less than 5%. And to add, that new things keep coming into “collection.”

So, I wasn’t happy with that situation and felt overwhelmed; I deleted almost everything and created a new rule.

The rule “One thing at the time. One thing on a computer.

Since that time, I have only one seminar on my computer, which I’m learning at the moment. I have one book at my desk, one eBook at my eReader, etc.

My wishlist I store at browser bookmarks or lists.

When I finish one, I get the next.

This technic can boost your effectiveness.

100% focus

Audiobooks or eBooks

When you are reading, you can’t do anything else. You can’t walk, drive, cook, and think about something else—the same issue as with physical books.                                                                        

Editing errors

Audiobooks or eBooks

Sometimes, an eBook is poorly formatted, has editing errors, and immensely decreases user experience from the eBook.

Many different formats

Audiobooks or eBooks

You may find book summaries in .txt, .docx, .pdf, .epub, .fb2, .mobi or .azw (Kindle) formats. There is no guarantee that the book you want to read will be available in a suitable format. Your device usually supports one specific format; you have to convert one format into the other.

The conversion process doesn’t give 100% accuracy in proper text formatting, aligning, and look, which will decrease the user experience of reading.

Useful remark

Amazon allows you to pair a Kindle book with an Audible audiobook. If you use Kindle on your phone or tablet and you purchased the Audible version as well, you can have the audiobook anytime time you want to stop reading and start listening. It can be convenient if you’re going to continue the book you’re reading. At the same time, you have to do something else, which should be something your brain has already automated again.

Conclusion

Audiobooks or eBooks

Audiobooks vs eBooks
Audiobooks vs eBooks

Final Thoughts

Audiobooks and eBooks are both have their benefits and downsides.

Audiobooks are great for multitasking, i.e., listen while you do something else, anywhere, and in every situation. They are very convenient in usage and let the listener choose the speed of audio playing. Audiobooks are suitable for people with visual disabilities and work as eyes’ relaxer. They are a good fit for long books, and if the narrator is a professional book becomes even more entertaining.

Downsides of audiobooks are that they require high-speed Internet, a computer, a relatively significant volume memory card, and you can store only several of them on your device due to their size. This format doesn’t have illustrations, highlighting functionality, and its navigation is inconvenient. Your listening experience can be shaded by low audio quality or amateur narrator. Also, not all books have an audiobook version, and even if they do, it is usually more expensive than eBook.

One of the significant advantages of eBooks is its small size, which makes it possible to store hundreds of books on your device and easy and fast download from the Internet. Even though the reading process happens on an eReader, it retains the book’s look and feels. Both eReaders and apps have highlighting functionality. If you are the owner of a modern eBook account like Kindle, it is to sync your whole library on a new device. And of course, the reading process develops your brain, memory, writing skills, comprehension, concentration, and ability to visualize complex concepts.

Downsides of eBooks are: they require 100% focus while reading, like a physical book. Suppose you read an eBook on your smartphone. In that case, there is a high chance of being distracted by the app, social media, and email notifications, so by calls. There are several different eBooks formats, and only one or two will suit your eReader or app. Some eBooks are poorly edited, and this fact decreases a reading experience. And yes, you may have store 1000 books in your gadget, but you will read only a few, which makes other useless burdens.

What do you prefer Audiobooks or eBooks?

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