Bibliophile Commentary

Audiobooks: Pros and Cons

I had never really been into audiobooks when I was younger because I loved the feel and look of an actual book. However, in recent years, with becoming an adult, I have truly learned to appreciate the audiobook as a friend and helper.

Amazon has the audible membership available where the customer pays $14.95 a month for one credit that is good for any audiobook no matter the cost. I jumped at the membership because as you may have noticed, audiobooks are super expensive. I joined in 2014 and have been hooked ever since! However, there are pros and cons to consider before joining in on the audiobook fun. 

Let’s start with the cons: 

Con #1: Character Confusion 

If a book has a lot of characters, audiobooks have a habit of making me extremely confused. The narrators are usually very good about changing their voices depending on the character, but I just get lost sometimes and I have to listen again and again to get things straight. One way to combat this to know the characters in a book before you start the audiobook. 

Con #2: Action Scenes 

I’ve found that sometimes action scenes are hard to listen to in an audiobook. Listeners can have a hard time catching the fine details or even crucial parts of an action scene. One way to help with this problem is to adjust the listening speed or just go back if you missed something. If you know an action scene is coming up in your audiobook, make sure to pay attention! 

Con #3: Narrator Dislike 

So this is probably the worst con I’ve encountered with audiobooks and it is a completely biased issue. The narrator of an audiobook can make or break a listener’s opinion about a book. I have bought a couple of books where this was a HUGE issue and I had to just stop listening. For example, I picked the audiobook, After, with my audible credit and I could not wait to listen; however, the narrator was so whiny and irritating that I immediately returned it. (BTW: If you have audible, you can return books if you don’t like them and they will refund you a credit, but you can only do this so many times.) 

I unfortunately don’t know how to solve this issue so use caution when picking audiobooks and check their reviews and ratings. Also, different companies have different narrators for the same book, so you might like one from one company and dislike one from another. 

Now the pros: 

Pro #1: You Can Read and Do Something Else 

This is the most amazing thing about audiobooks. (I am actually listening to an audiobook as I’m writing this post.) You can do so many things while listening to an audiobook. As an adult, we don’t get a lot of time to read and it sucks. However, audiobooks have solved this problem and it is amazing!!! 

Have to clean? Listen to an audiobook while you do it! Have to make dinner? Audiobooks are your friend! Driving to work? Audiobooks will save you from the traffic frustrations and terrible music on the radio. The only thing I would suggest is to get wireless headphones for chores around the house because the sound will be better and it will make for better listening. 

Pro #2: Character Pronunciation 

Have you ever read a fantasy or a book translated from another language and the characters are named names you have never seen before? Audiobooks are amazing at allowing readers to know how to exactly pronounce a character’s name because the author usually will make sure they do so. Sometimes authors will include the phonetic spelling in their books, but that is rare and a lot of people won’t read it. 

Pro #3: Narrator Love 

As I said before, narrators have a way of making or breaking an audiobook so narrators are both a pro and a con of audiobooks. Like I have encountered some terrible narrators, I have also encountered some AMAZING narrators. These amazing narrators just have a voice that is captivating and will draw you into the story and never let you out. One of my favorite audiobooks was The Witches of New York. The narrator just made the world so vivid with her voice and had different inflections for each character and I couldn’t stop listening. Again, this is a totally biased thing about audiobooks and I encourage you to make your own decisions about this pro. 

Audiobooks are an amazing addition to anyone’s reading format. If you don’t have time to read or have difficulty focusing, I would recommend trying an audiobook instead. 

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