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What Are the Pros and Cons of Audio Books Vs Regular Books

What Are the Pros and Cons of Audio Books Vs Regular Books

Technology has changed so much of how we do just about everything. Reading is no exception. Thoughts and ideas captured on paper have given civilization accounts of the past and was an essential form of communication, record keeping and storytelling. Much of what we know about the world has come from the written word. However, audio books are now stiff competition against paper books as the best way to relay information or tell a good story.

There are many obvious pros and cons to listening to an audio book over sitting down and reading a regular book. Audio books have been around for a long time, but are changing and becoming more efficient as technology changes. They are no longer just cassette tapes you put in the player and listen to. You can now download and buy audio books to listen to on CD, on your IPod, or MP3 player. You can literally find audio books available in any format that now exists.

One obvious advantage to audio books over paper books is the undeniable convenience. With our busy lives and constantly being on the move, most people cite not having the time to sit and relax as the number one reason they are not enjoying a good book. Most Americans spend an average of just over an hour in the car commuting to work each day, and then they are usually running around trying to do all of the other daily errands and chores. With audio books in the car and on your IPod or MP3 player, you can enjoy a classic or new book while on the move. It is the ultimate way to multitask and keep up with the world of literature.

For those who are not looking to listen to the latest novel, there is still an advantage to audio books. There are many business oriented motivational and educational titles out there you can listen to. How to books and lectures are very popular for those who are looking to expand their knowledge base in their careers but don’t have time to sit down with a nightly book on the latest trends in finance or business.

Audio versions of harder to read or extremely long books are also easier to muddle through than the paper version. Larger or more complex stories can be difficult to follow, but with the rhythms of the spoken word you can follow the intent and flow of the language much easier, therefore enjoying stories that may be intimidating in book format.

There are specific groups that find regular books almost impossible to enjoy. Nursing homes can play audio books to elderly residents in groups and they can all share in the common experience of the story. Also, those who are visually impaired obviously find audio books helpful.

Audio books are also cheaper in price than traditional hardcover new editions. You can download some titles for a fraction of the cost of buying the same book at a national book store chain. Even new titles are cheaper in the digital format. You can also rent audio books at the library now just as you can traditional books.

Along with all of these wonderful benefits, there comes a downside to choosing audio books over paper books. One aspect that can put some elderly or financially strapped book lovers at a disadvantage is the technology requirements. Some may find it too expensive or difficult to deal with downloading an audio book. While CDs are fairly simple, you must also be able to transport these devices to listen to a book away from home. For some, the thought of relying on technology to read at the beach or on the subway is just not their idea of convenience.

The traditional feel and sound of pages flipping and the sensation of opening a new book is something some people associate with reading a good book. While they may find audio books to be easier, the feeling of reading a regular book is irreplaceable. The mental aspect of reading requires you to focus and be in the moment, the page, and the line, not be driving or doing laundry. Your brain and eyes work together to process the written word and this provides your mind with exercise it needs to stay sharp in later years. When you read the written word, your mind creates richness in the characters and their voice. An audio book cannot replicate this.

While there are many advocates of both sides, all agree that both forms have their advantages. As long as people still crave a good story, it really does not matter what format they get it in. A love of reading either paper books or listening to a good story on audio is time well spent.


Last modification: Thu 6 May 2010

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