Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? #JIAM | Fun Questions

June 7, 2014 Fun Questions 44

#JIAM

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Since June Is Audiobook Month – and you know that’s a BIG deal in my world – I couldn’t let it pass without a little celebration! So for the month of June, Saturday’s Fun Question Posts have been taken over by audiobook related themes. And I’ll be giving away ONE AUDIBLE AUDIOBOOK of your choice at the end of the month (see rafflecopter below to enter). This is open in the US & Canada only (since I don’t think you can get Audible books International).

Anyway, join me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question (about audiobooks) that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks?


Though you wouldn’t know it looking at my blog, I’m fairly new to audiobooks. I’ve been listening to them for only a little over a year. I was reluctant to try them because I really didn’t see how I could enjoy listening to someone read a book to me for hours on end. Boy was I wrong! I’m addicted and I want to tell you why.

So Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? From my own experiences and from some Google searches it seems people have 3 main reasons for not listening to audiobooks. And I have an answer for all of them. You ready?

Reason #1: Listening is NOT reading. It doesn’t count.

I’ve read this reason a few times and I guess I have to ask – count for who? Are you reading to impress someone? Because if that’s the case, you’re really missing the point of reading (and probably a lot of really good books).

Now if your concerned that this doesn’t promote the kind of literacy skills you want in a child or something, I’d have to say there’s an argument for both sides of that. It’s true, listening to an audiobook doesn’t give a child practice reading. But it does still expose them (or any reader) to vocabulary. And they’re hearing it pronounced correctly, with emphasis and tone that helps them learn the meaning.

So in my opinion, that reason isn’t really a good reason not listen to audiobooks.

Reason #2: I don’t think I could stay focused.

This reason seems particularly legitimate to me, because it was my concern too. And every now and then I listen to an audiobook that doesn’t work for me because my mind is wandering way too much. But this isn’t a reason to discount ALL audiobooks!

I’ve found that some narrators appeal to me more because the way they speak – from tone to pace and even volume – tends to hold my attention better than others. Some of this is trial and error, so you can find what works best for you. Another thing to keep in mind is the KIND of books you choose to listen to. If you know you’re particularly prone to mind wandering, I wouldn’t pick one that you know requires close attention to detail. Don’t try Crime and Punishment, for example. Go for something light and fun.

The other side of this is – don’t overburden yourself while you listen. One of the things I love about listening to audiobooks is that it frees up my hands and eyes to do other things. I workout. I clean. I take a shower. I do things that don’t require the same focused attention as a book does. So yes, I’m not 100% focused on the book or the cleaning, but I’m MORE focused on the book than the cleaning. And that’s a definite plus.

So yeah, in my opinion, fear of not staying focused isn’t a reason to avoid trying audiobooks.

Reason #3: Audiobooks cost so much!

Okay. I get it. Audiobooks are really expensive. When I get an audiobook for $5, it’s a GREAT deal. But you don’t have to buy all your books. I know not all libraries are as great as mine, but libraries do carry audiobooks. And a lot of them have a great selection of brand new books and in really great formats. You can get them as CDs, MP3 devices (called Playaways) and even online downloads via OverDrive to your cellphone.

So price really isn’t a reason not to try audiobooks either.

I obviously love audiobooks and my answers to the objections above are a bit biased. But I think you have to admit that it makes sense 🙂 And now I’m giving you a chance to win one to try yourself!

This giveaway will be running all month and you’ll have opportunities to earn extra entries with each Saturday Fun Question Post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why are you hesitant to try audiobooks? Or, if you love them like me, why do you think people should try them?

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Berls

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

44 Responses to “Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? #JIAM | Fun Questions”

  1. John

    Hey Berls,

    nice article! 🙂

    Personally, I only listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something that keeps me from reading “regularly”, like when I’m driving. A friend of mine even listens to them when he has to do a dull task in a computer game (like grinding in WoW).

    My main reason not to go “full audiobook” is the reading speed – I read rather fast and have the feeling that audiobooks are just too slow for me.
    John recently posted…41 Books like Game of Thrones – recommended by GRRMMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Thanks!! That makes sense. I don’t think I’d ever go “full audiobook” because there’s too many books that aren’t available on audio – indies especially – or that are badly narrated and that does make a big difference for me. But I actually listen more quickly – I think it’s less that my own reading speed is slower but more that I have more time available to me where I am able to listen than able to read.
      Berls recently posted…“Catle Leoch” S1:E2 | Outlander ThoughtsMy Profile

  2. Jenna
    Twitter:

    I do read audiobooks, but before I started listening to them #2 was my reason. And it is true for me. I listen when I’m driving to work, when I’m running, and when I’m working in my garden. I know I miss parts (especially when driving and a traffic situation comes up) and I don’t always feel like going back and relistening unless I’m completely confused. That’s one reason I rarely review audiobooks, but I am trying to start doing that more.
    Jenna recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Breathe, Annie, BreatheMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I think it’s true for most people to some extent – I know for me I have to be careful when I chose to listen and what I listen to. But I’m glad I didn’t let the reason completely keep me from trying Audiobooks. Sounds like you know when works best for you 🙂
      Berls recently posted…How do you post pictures side by side?| Fun QuestionsMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I have to read a book I can look at before I go to bed – without it, I lie awake unable to sleep. No matter how good the book is, they help me go to sleep. But an audio book – well I’ll go to sleep and it’ll keep playing. I’ve tried timmers but I always time them wrong. Other than the bedtime read though, I pretty much only listen to audioboks during the day. Love them! Wish more books – especially some of my indie authors – were on audio!
      Berls recently posted…Teaser Tuesdays | Awakening Foster KellyMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I didn’t think I would like them either – but then I found Amanda Ronconi. That was the end of that LOL. I’m a total junkie like you and I find that I listen to Audiobooks faster than I can read a book.
      Berls recently posted…How do you post pictures side by side?| Fun QuestionsMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I don’t know – what are you waiting for 😉 I believe there was a promise to try one in July… it’s July 20th. How’s that coming? LOL 😛
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 50th EditionMy Profile

  3. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
    Twitter:

    I have recently started listening to audiobooks, too, and I have found several I really, really love! The narrator definitely has a very important role to play, though, because he or she needs to be able to live the story so that I can, too.
    I love listening to an audiobook while I iron. I hate ironing, but listening to a fun book makes everything about it much better 🙂
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Tabula Rasa – Kristen Lippert-MartinMy Profile

  4. A Voracious Reader

    I have listened to audiobooks for years. YEARS! There have been some that the narrator irritated me, but on the whole I’ve really enjoyed them. I started out reading to my kids, but my throat just doesn’t have the stamina for that, so I switched to audios. I’m not sure exactly how long we’ve listened, but I’d say a good 10 years. Then, when I had a newspaper route for about 6 years I got sick of the same songs on the radio played over and over again and my CD collection was pretty bare. So audios it was for another 4 years before the cost of gas rose so high in 2006 that I said enough. Even when the CD player quit working I carried a Walkman in my car. LOL I got away from listening to ones on my own, but now that I have a treadmill I’ve sorta gotten back into it. I’ve been lazy lately though and really need to pick it up again. Especially since my daughter will be a Senior in the Fall and I see the end of our evening listening when she lands an after school job. *sigh* All good things come to an end.

    1. Listening is reading, imo. My kids are huge readers and are excellent students in school. So that excuse is invalid.

    2. Fast-paced books work better at keeping the attention as does listening during ‘boring’ things such as cleaning or exercising. Again, excuse is invalid.

    3. Most libraries have a decent collection of audiobooks (that’s where I got 98% of mine) and there are other not very expensive places such as Audible or Booksfree to get a subscription. Hell, even Cracker Barrel and Truck Stops lets you rent them. Or at least, they used to. I wonder why there isn’t a Satellite Radio station for audios or how/if that would even work. Hmmm…
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 45th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I think it’s so great that you’ve had this tradition of listening to audios with your kids, even if they are starting to get to an age where you won’t be able to continue so much. And I agree – there’s really no good excuse not to try audiobooks. I do get that they don’t work for some people, but at least try them first.
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post |44th EditionMy Profile

  5. Jan
    Twitter:

    I’ve listened to audiobooks sporadically through the years–mainly when I had to drive quite a ways. I remember listening to Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein years after I read it during a car vacation trip with our teenage son a few years ago. That was fun! A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was a favorite of the whole family years before that. It was just a once in awhile thing.

    I’ve started listening more regularly this year and am loving them. I find I can do housework and other things around the house while listening. I haven’t tried reading and listening. That’s an interesting idea!
    Jan recently posted…Sunday Post–June 8My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’ve never tried reading and listening either – I know it works for people really well, especially that whispersync feature, but I’m a strictly read it or listen to it girl. I think audios are something you just have to find your place with and everyone has really different listening styles!
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post |44th EditionMy Profile

  6. Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages

    I have to admit I like audiobooks, but I don’t love them. Books that I know I’m really going to enjoy I often won’t listen to in audiobook format. I much prefer to read the printed word. Last year I started listening to the Cedar Cove series through overdrive and I loved the narrator. I was so interested in the books. I have read the last couple, but it looks like I could go back to listening if I want to since the library has all the books. I also listened to Peter Pan and it was truly magical. In some cases I can’t stand the narrator so instead of hating the book for the bad narrator I just read the book. The Sync Summer Audiobook program is great. It really introduced me to new audiobooks. I’m currently listening to Cruel Beauty and it is wonderful.
    Rachael recently posted…Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (no spoilers)My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I can definitely understand not wanting to read your favorites via audio, since you can get distracted and miss out on details or just not have quite the same experience. I have a few favorites that I can’t imagine reading, actually, because the narration was part of what made it so great. But I definitely have some that I would never listen to as well.
      Berls recently posted…Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran| Audio ReviewMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      LOL! You amaze me with how many audiobooks you read a year – but I do know what you mean, just the same. I can’t imagine having to give them up – if it weren’t for audiobooks I wouldn’t be able to read nearly as many books as I do.
      Berls recently posted…When do you listen? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

  7. Lark
    Twitter:

    I love audiobooks because they keep me immersed in a story while freeing my hands and eyes and body to do something else — like drive, knit, wash dishes, fold laundry, vacuum (well, no, the vacuum cleaner is too loud. Other housework works, though), work out at the gym, go for a walk… you get the idea. I also love them because audiobooks, along with me reading to her, probably kept our daughter loving books during the years when she had visual and reading issues that we didn’t know about. She is really the one that got me into audiobooks — well, she and Jim Dale. The Harry Potter audiobooks were her go-to-sleep listening for years; over time, I grew very fond of them. And then we discovered Full Cast audio, and I’ve loved audiobooks ever since.
    Lark recently posted…News and Notes – 6/07/14My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I think there should really be a lot more emphasis put on the way audiobooks can help children with visual impairment and general reading challenges – I’m so glad you had them for your daughter! I haven’t listened to a full cast audio book yet – but I own a couple and plan to listen to them this summer. Really looking forward to it – I hear that it’s a real treat!
      Berls recently posted…When do you listen? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

  8. YvonneJ

    I’m a long-time (20+ years) fan of audiobooks. I started out listening to them while walking so focus really wasn’t an issue. With access to many more audiobooks since the introduction of OVERDRIVE to the libraries in my area, I’ve started listening to audiobooks while simultaneously reading the printed book – I’ve heard this called immersion reading. I speed up the audio to 1.5x – 2x the normal speed (I’m listening on iPod Touch). It sounds strange until you look at the printed page and then your brain adjusts and it sounds normal. I’ve only done this while riding my exercise bike so I don’t know how well it would work in other situations.

    I laughed when I saw that you said that you listen to books while in the shower……my husband makes fun of me because I do too.

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      LOL Yvonne – you’re definitely not the only one who listens in the shower. Someone else commented today that they do that too – so that makes three of us at least! The way I see it, if people can listen to music in the shower, I can listen to an audiobook 🙂

      I have never tried immersion reading, but that sounds neat. Do you feel like you get more out of the book that way?
      Berls recently posted…When do you listen? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

      • YvonneJ

        All of my reading is for pleasure so I guess if you mean do I enjoy it more the answer is yes because I get to hold a real book and someone else reads to me. I think I absorb and retain more of the book content but that probably depends on the book. The first book I read/listened to was The Black Count and it contained a lot of French names, places, words and phrases. Being able to see the words and hear them pronounced correctly was a lot more satisfying than just skipping over them. Last week at the library where I work I introduced two reluctant and challenged readers (brothers) to the idea of reading/listening. They each checked out a Playaway and it’s real book companion. I’m hoping for a good report when they return the books.

        • Berls
          Twitter:

          Oh that’s great Yvonne! I hope that it really helps them to listen while reading – it seems like it would be similar to having someone read with you – a great way to practice when you can’t get someone’s help!
          Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 45th EditionMy Profile

  9. Angie F.

    I’m not hesitant to try them, I have tried them and they simply don’t work for me. My biggest pet peeve is being read to aloud when I can easily read whatever it is to myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, instructions, a grocery list, I don’t care. Just be silent and let me read it myself! This started way back in first grade and it’s still a problem today. I cannot listen to someone read without either tuning out or being extremely irritated, or both.

    I can listen to books I’ve already read though. I only do this for the 24 hour readathon, but I can do it! I think it’s because I don’t really have to focus, since I already know the story and can fill it in myself as it goes along.
    Angie F. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #133My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I listen to audiobooks all the time and just yesterday I had to stop one because I couldn’t stay focused on it. The narrator just wasn’t working for me – I think it was the overall tone of the book was to quiet and not upbeat enough to hold me. So it happens to all of us. But I would be surprised if switching to a really upbeat audio book – take for example a Molly Harper book narrated by Amanda Ronconi – wouldn’t hold your attention pretty well. I hope you will try it again 🙂
      Berls recently posted…Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

  10. Jennifer

    I love audiobooks now. I don’t get to listen to them as often as I’d like, because I’m one of those who is easily distracted, but I love listening to them when I’m getting ready for work in the morning, when I’m commuting, when I’m cleaning. Oh my gosh, I clean so much more efficiently and faster when entertained by a book! Haha.

    My libraries (three – #booknerdproblems) have a great selection of audios, so I’m fortunate. I recently cancelled my audible subscription because there is just no reason to buy.

    Also, I believe that the Free Library of Philadelphia will give anyone a membership for $15/year if you are not a PA resident and their selection is AMAZEBALLS!
    Jennifer recently posted…UPDATE: 2014 Audiobook Challenge!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Oh you know, I think I had heard that about the Free Library of Philadelphia but I forgot! I need to go check that out. I don’t know if I could ever cancel my Audible subscription, because I really love owning audiobooks. But I may eventually get to that point – I check out more and more from the library these days (I have memberships to 3 library systems too!)
      Berls recently posted…Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

  11. Stormi
    Twitter:

    I love audiobooks now..I was hesitant for a long time because a long time ago when I was 19 or somewhere around that age..I tried a Danielle Steele book at my college..it about bored me to tears..lol. Needless to say they have come a long way from back then when it comes to the tone and pacing of reading audio books. 🙂 Two of my favorite narrators are Jim Dale (he does a lot of middle grade books)and Amanda Rocconi (who does my favorite authors books Molly Harper!)

    I listened to my first Alex Cross book a few years back and the gun shots and breaking glass totally threw me it was soooo cool! Everyone needs to try audio books!!!!!! 🙂

    Oh and do you know about http://www.audiobooksync.com/free-sync-downloads/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=20140605SyncWk4 they do two free downloads of teen books each week during the summer. 🙂 Just passing on the love to my fellow audio lovers. 🙂 (Hope that link works.)
    Stormi recently posted…Stacking the Shelves: Cowboys and More!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Oh yes! I forgot to mention that in my post, I probably should add about the SYNC program, thanks for mentioning it! And I LOVE Amanda Ronconi, she’s one of my favorite narrators and I think she’s particularly good for people hesitant about audiobooks because I don’t think you could not stay focused with her narrating. She just holds your attention!
      Berls recently posted…Why are people hesitant to try audiobooks? #JIAM | Fun QuestionsMy Profile

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