Thursday, December 3, 2009

Narrator, will you please read to me?

I love audiobooks. I am a username-carrying member of I have two mp3 players, peeps: one's just for books.

I don't agree with the assertion that audiobooks are not real books. The knowledge or story represented by the words is in my brain when I'm finished. How is that not reading a book?

5 Great Things about Audiobooks:
  • Pronunciation of difficult names: not a problem.
  • I clean when I listen/read. I can tell how good a book is by how clean my house is.
  • My dog's walks are longer when I'm listening to a good audiobook.
  • I read WAY more books per year since I embraced audiobooks.
  • I get read to sleep every night.
Of course, they're not perfect.

3 Sucky Things about Audiobooks:

  • Sometimes I want to press stop on an audiobook and open a text version--like when the house is clean, the dog is walked, and my finger is poised over the pause button, waiting for a good break.
  • I rarely booknap from audiobooks because I forget to bookmark good parts, and I can't flip through an audiobook to find what I want.
  • Sometimes when I listen/read, I wish I could see how something looks on a page--like when the narrator in Juliet, Naked reads Wikipedia pages, I want to know how they look.
And then there's my Kindle.

Best thing about the Kindle? It's easy to read while eating. I put a piece of tape over the page-turn button so I don't even get it dirty. Kindles have the option (on most books) to turn text to speech--this was a selling point for me--but I hate robot voices that have no inflection, so I hardly ever use that option.

Some books are so good I have them in audio and print form. I've read a Kindle book and then bought the hard copy too--just because seeing certain titles on my bookshelf makes me happy.

And now I introduce my point.

Want to know why I'm always reading more than one book? Because I keep a traditional book, an audiobook, and a Kindle book going simultaneously. It's not a perfect method, but it's a way for me be able to read in the easiest way whenever I get a chance. Publishing industry peeps who are looking for ways to increase profits, take note: I would pay extra to get a Kindle, text, and audio version of a book in a bundle--not every book, mind you--but just like I shell out extra cash for a hardcover on occasion, I'd have no problem paying extra to get some books in all three forms, and if they were available as a package price instead of $25 for audio, $15 for print, and $10 for kindle, I'd feel like I was getting a deal.

What's your take on audiobooks? Like 'em? Hate 'em? Don't consider 'em real books? Never tried 'em? Got any recommendations? Want mine? Lolitaread by Jeremy Irons rocked my world.


  1. I share your reading program (except I don't have a Kindle). I usually listen to one book in the car, one in the house (for cleaning time), and I read one. I love books in all forms.

  2. I've never listened to an audio book. I don't have anything against them (and consider them to be "real" books), but I've never tried them. They're pretty expensive, and that's a huge reason. But I think the other thing is that I'm a really fast reader, and I'm afraid that the slow pace of listening to someone read would drive me nuts.
    I'll need to try it out one day, just to see how I like it.

  3. Marie, the only time I listened to audio books was right after my brain aneurysm ruptured, when I was temporarily blind in one eye and reading was difficult at best. A couple of really nice sales reps sent me some audio books and I listened to them while I recuperated (some MG novels and YA novels, of course, and this was back in 2005 so it was titles like Inkspell, and Eldest, neither of which I'd recommend). Otherwise, I have no patience for audio books. Like Megan, I'm a very fast reader and want to go at my own pace. I also find it easier to visualize what's going on in a book if I can see the words, for some reason.

    I do, however, read several books at once, usually one at home and one at work on my lunch breaks. Don't own a Kindle, and never plan to buy one (That nasty Amazon will be the death of Indie bookstores).

  4. As a Librarian and aspiring writer, I am more a luddite than a fast adapter. But that's just me.

    I don't own a Kindle and won't until the prices come down. For writing, I love my MacBook Pro. But for reading, I'm more the book-in-the-hand type of gal. I don't listen to audio CDs much although I should. Thanks for the nudge.

  5. I'll echo Megan Rebekah here, except I did try it once, and the narrator did read too slowly for me to enjoy the book. It drove me a bit crazy. I think I devour books. Maybe I should learn to slow down and smell the literary roses.

  6. I want a Kindle, but cant afford one yet. But yes, I like audio books, and I'd be all about that bundle package too. :) Great idea.

  7. I listen to them on car trips. I especially like the ones with background sound effects.

    Otherwise, I don't have the luxury of personal audio time.

  8. As a Kindle owner, I must say: if you don't have one, you don't need one.

    If I traveled more, I could see a greater need for it. If you read a lot of texts that aren't available in hard copy: manuscripts, self-pubbed e-books, etc., an e-reader would be indispensable. I also think it would be a great a great addition to writing workshops, where 20 copies of 100 pages are being printed, read, and commented on every week.

    And you fast readers, I hear you. Every once in a while I get a project at work that only uses the automaton part of my brain, so I guess having someone read to me, slowly and with enunciation, is just a pleasant way to pass the time. It's no good for all of your attention, but it's lovely for when you have a few hours of mindless labor ahead of you.

  9. I DO like audio books. I haven't listened to many lately though. This makes me want to again.
    I'm typically reading about three different books at a time too. All on very different topics. It gives me variety...