Books vs Audiobooks: Pros and Cons

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Books vs Audiobooks

Books vs Audiobooks

I love both formats and think each has its advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we will discuss different Pros & Cons of physical books 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

Books vs Audiobooks

In the last decade, an exciting alternative to physical books, i.e., reading, is becoming exceedingly popular among book lovers. The option is Audiobooks. These books are more comfortable and more convenient to consume and have many other benefits over conventional reading.

Books or Audiobooks

Multitasking

Books vs Audiobooks

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 going for a walk or carrying out another daily commute, 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.)

Books or Audiobooks

Real-Life Story

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

Internet!!! The Internet was in second place.

The first place was – Audiobooks)))))

Books or Audiobooks

Listen right away

Books vs Audiobooks

Choose a book. Buy it online. Voilà!

You may start listening.

It might take time to get delivered for a physical book after you order it online, or you will have to go to the bookstore to get it. But for an audiobook, it gets delivered to your device immediately after you buy it, and you can start listening straightway!

I prefer to buy audiobooks at Audible. They have a great variety and quality.

Narrators rulez!

Books vs Audiobooks

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.

No lights needed

Books vs Audiobooks

This is one of the best pros of audiobooks. If you are someone like me who loves reading at night but at the same time gets irritated by the lights, audiobooks can be the best alternatives. You don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on. You can listen even with your eyes closed, can’t you?

It is also useful if you work on the computer quite a lot because your eyes get stressed. Audiobook plays a role if distresser.

Choose your speed

Books vs Audiobooks

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.

Books or Audiobooks

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, but it let 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!

Books or Audiobooks

Super convenient

Books vs Audiobooks

You don’t have to turn pages or hold a book. Just press the play button, place the device 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?

Durability

Books vs Audiobooks

Audiobooks can last forever if you have a proper backup. That is not the case with physical books, mostly paperbacks.

The more you read a physical book, the higher is the chances of it getting damaged due to page-bends, broken-spines, or other physical damages. Physical books require good maintenance, unlike audiobooks.

Easy to share with friends

Books vs Audiobooks

It’s effortless to share audiobooks, send the file to your friend’s mp3 player, and you may listen to the book together, no need to wait until one finished reading the book.

Occupies no volume

Books vs Audiobooks

I love seeing books on my bookshelf, but there’s a limit to the number of books I can keep there. Audiobooks, on the other hand, require no physical space in your room. You only need to have a device with a memory that can store your audiobooks. I keep hundreds of audiobooks on my HDD.

Environment-friendly

Books vs Audiobooks

Audiobooks are environment-friendly as they do not use any paper, ink, or chemicals. Moreover, if you have to remove any audiobook, you can delete it from your device, and it will be gone!

Beneficial for people with visual disabilities

Books vs Audiobooks

One of the most notable benefits of audiobooks is their role in 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 an audiobook is more suitable than physical books is 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

Books vs Audiobooks

This is huge. 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 favorite moment to hear – is in your car while driving; some people call it “University on Wheels.”

Good fit for loooong books

Books vs Audiobooks

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 long chapters, convenient to stick to your schedule.

Portability

Books vs Audiobooks

I always listen to audiobooks when I’m waiting in line, in a queue at a dentist’s appointment, or running for small document-related tasks in the city. You don’t know how much time you will be waiting, and it’s convenient to grab a book every time. But audiobook is always in your pocket.

Audiobooks: Cons

Books or Audiobooks

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

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

You need a tech device

Books or Audiobooks

You need to have a technological device like an Android, iPhone, laptop, etc. where you can store and listen to audiobooks. Besides, you also need to access the Internet to download audiobooks or surf audiobooks websites online. And, of course, the battery issue. If your gadget is out of energy, then you will not be able to listen to anything.

Inconvenient navigation

Books or Audiobooks

Sometimes when you get distracted, you may want to go back, but it’s not 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 book and skip some content you may feel are not required. If the narrator explains unnecessary details or something boring and wants to cut that part, you may find it challenging to do that with audiobooks.

The amateur narrator or low-quality audio

Books or Audiobooks

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 cannot 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 bank card for online purchase

Books or Audiobooks

For purchasing audiobooks online, you need to have a debit or a credit card as there is no option for cash on delivery. It is an issue, especially for 3rd world countries.

Need a high-speed internet and computer

Books or Audiobooks

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

Can’t highlight

Books or Audiobooks

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 manually make a note of those lines, which may take some extra effort and time.

No illustrations

Books or Audiobooks

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.

Books or Audiobooks

The audiobooks industry is still in the development stage. Even though we have access to many audiobooks today, there are still books that don’t have an audio version. And sometimes, the text you want to read is missing the audio version.


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Absolutely amazing article!


Books: Pros

Books or Audiobooks

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

The book and nothing else needed

Books or Audiobooks

If the power is out or your phone or eReader is dead, you can still read your book. It is old school independence and self-reliance.

And suppose you will look back at the history of humanity. In that case, you will notice that almost every time, the only things left from disappeared civilization are some manuscripts or paper materials.

Owning a physical copy

Books or Audiobooks

Many people prefer to feel like they own the book, and they think that they don’t own the reader on an eReader or cell-phone.

Regular books give you that classic book feel. Some people prefer the look and feel of a new book over reading one on their Kindle or audiobook. Try to remember a new book’s scent. It smells good.

However convenient are ebooks and entertaining are audiobooks? There is nothing like going into a bookstore or a library, picking up a paper book, flipping through the pages, and — tenderly but instantly — falling in love.

Collect a library

Books or Audiobooks

 It’s great to own a library in your home. Books look classy, especially modern book editions. This cover is beautifully designed, and some of them have a 3D emboss effect. You may feel it with your fingers. Or even better to have a series of books, as they all have the same design, it looks pretty.

Easy to highlight

Books or Audiobooks

All you need is a highlighter. 95% of the non-fiction books I read, I do highlights and notes on the fields, and also I use unique book small sticky bookmarks for easy access to exciting thoughts.

Improves your ability to visualize complex concepts

Books or Audiobooks

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, and 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 just presented to you on a silver platter, you aren’t using your mind to interpret a given image.

Books train our brain and develop thinking processes

Books or Audiobooks

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 reading comprehension and writing skills

Books or Audiobooks

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

Books or Audiobooks

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.

Books: Cons

Books vs Audiobooks

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

Hard to read in the dark

Books vs Audiobooks

Some readers like dark rooms’ atmosphere with a good book and many find it easier to do with an eReader.

 And also worth mentioning that it is easy to screw up your eyesight if to read without proper lighting.

Occupies space

Books vs Audiobooks

If you’re an avid reader, your books end up taking up a lot of space in your home.

Books or Audiobooks

Real-Life Story

During my university, I was reading quite a lot, and by the end of my study, I had over 120 books collected in the dorm’s room. I wasn’t physically able to take all of them home. So, I started the sorting process, and to my surprise, only about 15% was worth re-reading. I sold 85% of my books in one piece.

Since that time, I read e-version or listen to an audio version of a book, and in case it is worth re-reading, I acquire a physical copy.

Books or Audiobooks

Requires care

Books vs Audiobooks

The book must be stored at a dry and cool place, or otherwise, they might be damaged or ruined.

Font size is the default

Books vs Audiobooks

You can’t change the font size to match your field of vision like you can with digital. Some books have a relatively small font size, which makes harder to read and adds a strain on your eyes.

Heavy to carry

Books vs Audiobooks

To read a book outside of your house, you need to carry it with you, and some books are heavy and sizeable, which makes it inconvenient to take it with you.

100% focus

Books vs Audiobooks

When you are reading, you can’t do anything else. You can’t walk, drive, cook, and think about something else.

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

Conclusion

Books vs Audiobooks

Final Thoughts

Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages.

The main advantage of physical books is that it is a real-life object that can be touched, put on a shelf, and needs no additions like batteries or devices. Secondly, books develop your thinking and visualization processes, strengthening focus muscles, comprehension, writing skills, and memory.

The physical books’ significant downsides are that they may occupy a vast space, heavy to carry around, and require care. Also, books can’t be read without lighting, font size is not changeable, and the reading process requires 100% focus, i.e., solid single-tasking.

Prime advantages of audiobooks that they occupy no volume and portable (100 audiobooks on your player), durable and convenient in usage(play/pause buttons, continues from a place you stopped, listen at desired speed). Audiobooks are environment-friendly, beneficial for people with visual disabilities, and requires no lights. You can listen to an audiobook during jogging, driving, cooking, waiting, etc. You can start listening immediately after purchasing and easy to share an audiobook with friends. Many great narrators make a book even more enjoyable.

Audiobooks’ main disadvantages are that they depend on technology, i.e., you need an audio player, Internet, computer, and bank card. Also, you can’t make highlights, you can’t see illustrations, and navigation is not simple. Not all the book summaries have an audio format, and sometimes audiobooks can have low audio or narrating quality.

Books or Audiobooks

What do you choose Books or Audiobooks?

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