Mar 14, 2013

More on Audiobooks


A little under four years ago, I was not an audio book listener. I'd heard a few books on audio because I was "forced" to in class but I didn't really listen to any on my own. One day, I stumbled upon a new library in my neighborhood and the way they had their YA section set up was having both physical books and audio books combined. I'm used to having audio books on their own shelf far off into a corner, but instead, these were right in my face. So I though, why the heck not? And I gave it a shot. I picked up The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, and at first I disliked the idea of listening to the book, instead of reading it. It was weird for me. But by the end of the book, I was in love.

From then on, I started checking out audio books more regularly, and I've been listening to them for years now. I love the experience of being able to listen to a book, while I'm driving or doing chores around the house, or working out/running. It's awesome! In fact, this year, I've been so busy with school and life that I have only listened to most of the books I've "read" this year.

Earlier this year though, I almost gave up on them. I don't remember where I saw it but there was a forum of some sort that was discussing audio books. Someone made a comment that listening to audio books wasn't really reading. You weren't actually doing the reading, so it didn't count. I was stumped. Was that person right? Was it really not "reading"? I felt like I'd been cheating on my Goodreads challenge because I was adding all these books that I'd only listened to and didn't actually...well, read.

Then one day, I posted something really short about it here on the blog. It was a Top Ten Tuesday post and I mentioned I didn't want to listen to anymore audio books. And you know what? Rachelia from Bookish Comforts left me a comment that said I shouldn't let someone else's opinion sway my mind if I was doing something I enjoyed. She also went to say that, "I think audiobooks do count as reading - while it's a different experience, you are still devoting hours to listening and immersing yourself in the story." And I thought, damn, she's totally right. So I'm still listening to them like crazy.
So what about you? Do you like listening to audio books? If no, why not? Do you think they count as "reading" a book? Share any of your favorite audio books too! And favorite narrators, if you have any! I love Jesse Eisenberg (White Cat by Holly Black) and Scott Brick (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga.) I'm always looking for new suggestions, so share them with me! :)

41 comments

  1. I've never tried audio books before. I was much like you were before but now? Maybe I'll give it a go.

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  2. I don't do audiobooks, mostly because I think I can read faster than someone can read to me. I also don't have a lot of downtime where I would need to listen to something through headphones - my commute to work is less than five minutes lol

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  3. I've never tried audiobooks. Like you mentioned, they're usually tossed to some corner of the store where you don't even realize they're there. I swear I didn't even realize they existed until like three years ago. I knew they used them in schools, but didn't realize people actually listened to them for pleasure.

    That being said, I hold nothing against those who listen to audiobooks. It is reading all the same. Just because you're not reading the words off the page doesn't mean you are not connecting to the story on the same personal and intimate level as if you were. Sometimes having someone read a book to you can even help create that relationship with a book because they add more life to the characters than you can in your mind.

    The point is whether or not you're reading by reading the words off a page or by listening to them through an audiobook, the point is that you're interacting with a story to begin with. To me, that's all that matters.

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  4. I love audiobooks! I am allowed to listen to music at work, so I'd rather use that time to "read" a great story. I've never felt like I'm not reading. I mean, come on. You're still getting the whole story and falling in love! In fact, some books I'd rather listen to on audiobook.

    If you're a fan of Urban Fantasy all the Kate Daniels books (Ilona Andrews) are wonderful on audio! So is Leisl and Po by Lauren Oliver and Blood Red Road by Moira Young!

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  5. I love audiobooks! I am allowed to listen to music at work, so I'd rather use that time to "read" a great story. I've never felt like I'm not reading. I mean, come on. You're still getting the whole story and falling in love! In fact, some books I'd rather listen to on audiobook.If you're a fan of Urban Fantasy all the Kate Daniels books (Ilona Andrews) are wonderful on audio! So is Leisl and Po by Lauren Oliver and Blood Red Road by Moira Young!

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  6. Wonderful post, Cindy! To be honest, I've never listened to an audiobook before. So far NONE of the libraries close by have them, and to buy them myself would be too dang expensive! So I really wouldn't be able to tell you my experiences, but I totally agree with Rachelia. I do think audiobooks count as reading, even if it's in a different form. You're listening to the exact same story as reading, and it's totally different from watching a movie (in case anyone wants to argue with that, haha). If I had the chance, though, I would definitely try audiobooks out. Just one question: if I were to buy them, would they be worth my money? They're EXTREMELY expensive on Amazon, last I checked!

    Great post!

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  7. Wonderful post, Cindy! To be honest, I've never listened to an audiobook before. So far NONE of the libraries close by have them, and to buy them myself would be too dang expensive! So I really wouldn't be able to tell you my experiences, but I totally agree with Rachelia. I do think audiobooks count as reading, even if it's in a different form. You're listening to the exact same story as reading, and it's totally different from watching a movie (in case anyone wants to argue with that, haha). If I had the chance, though, I would definitely try audiobooks out. Just one question: if I were to buy them, would they be worth my money? They're EXTREMELY expensive on Amazon, last I checked! Great post!

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  8. At first I also had a lukewarm reaction to audiobooks. But now they are a huge part of my life. I agree that you should let opinions of others sway you. Lovely post!

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  9. Absolutely! I agree 100% that listening to audiobooks is reading! You're still putting in the time and you're still getting into the story. I find that some stories are much better for listening, in fact, than reading -- at least for me. Keep on with the audiobooks! I love them!

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  10. Absolutely! I agree 100% that listening to audiobooks is reading! You're still putting in the time and you're still getting into the story. I find that some stories are much better for listening, in fact, than reading -- at least for me. Keep on with the audiobooks! I love them!

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  11. I love audiobooks, and agree with Rachelia, listening to audiobooks is READING. Or count as reading, you know what I mean :)
    I listened to the Curse Workers series on audiobook, too, and it was fantastic. One of my recent loves is Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. Also, the Gone series by Michael Grant!!! Love those books and they are best in audiobook, imo.
    What else.....oh yes, 11/22/63 by Stephen King was really good too. I don't really like when SK reads his own books, but that book was narrated by Craig Wasson, and he did a great job.

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  12. I love audiobooks, and agree with Rachelia, listening to audiobooks is READING. Or count as reading, you know what I mean :)I listened to the Curse Workers series on audiobook, too, and it was fantastic. One of my recent loves is Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgings. Also, the Gone series by Michael Grant!!! Love those books and they are best in audiobook, imo.What else.....oh yes, 11/22/63 by Stephen King was really good too. I don't really like when SK reads his own books, but that book was narrated by Craig Wasson, and he did a great job.

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  13. Oh I think audiobooks definitely do count as reading! Reading is not the act of following your eyes to words, it's the act of being told a story and imaging it, making it come alive in your mind instead of in a TV screen. And an audiobook does just that. And if the narrator is good it can even make the experience better with character voices inflections etc. I don't care what anyone says differently, I count every audiobook as a book I read. You read it, I listened to it, we got the same story out of it, no? *shrugs*

    I was never a big audiobook listener. I listened to my first ones after I got Lasik and I couldn't be on the computer or read for 4 days it was kind of the only thing I COULD do. Then I didn't really start again until maybe 3-4 weeks ago. I started to listen to Gone Girl when i was sick (reading or any motion would make me nauseous) and I haven't stopped since (well I moved on from Gone Girl lol). I've since start listening while I work (a big part of my job is just mindless planning and stuff) and it makes the day go by SO quickly! Plus I'm racking up reviews to go on the blog which means I'm getting ahead for once!

    My favorite narrator is Sarah Drew (she's Kepner in Grey's). I LOVED Before I Fall on audio she was fantastic. She also narrated Delirium which I'm listening to now actually. Gone Girl and White Cat were fantastic as well. I also really liked Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers. And if you're into fantasy, Graceling has a full cast audio and it was great!

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  14. I read recently that we have the ability to hear up to 600 words a minute, but we only speak at about 100 or 200 words a minute. And, this is why most people are such terrible listeners-- our minds get bored (this came from some training video at work...). Anyway, I'm one of those terrible listeners. My mind wanders whenever someone talks too long. I have a hard time listening to audiobooks. I wish this wasn't so though. I'd love to listen to audiobooks while I do monotonous filing at work or during long drives.

    I did try the Harry Potter books on tape. Jim Dale's narration was pretty outstanding. But even a series that I hold so dear to me couldn't keep my attention 100% of the time!

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  15. I read recently that we have the ability to hear up to 600 words a minute, but we only speak at about 100 or 200 words a minute. And, this is why most people are such terrible listeners-- our minds get bored (this came from some training video at work...). Anyway, I'm one of those terrible listeners. My mind wanders whenever someone talks too long. I have a hard time listening to audiobooks. I wish this wasn't so though. I'd love to listen to audiobooks while I do monotonous filing at work or during long drives. I did try the Harry Potter books on tape. Jim Dale's narration was pretty outstanding. But even a series that I hold so dear to me couldn't keep my attention 100% of the time!

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  16. I definitely drive more than that, and I only listen to them while in my car. I also think I read pretty slow, haha, so it helps me get through books faster!

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  17. You should try them out! You never know :)

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  18. Yes, I've learned that that is all that matters to me too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. I would love to listen to both Leisl and Po and Blood Red Road, but I have hardcover copies of those books and I only listen to books I don't own, and don't ever plan to buy!

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  20. I would love to listen to both Leisl and Po and Blood Red Road, but I have hardcover copies of those books and I only listen to books I don't own, and don't ever plan to buy!

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  21. Audio books are pricey! I've never actually bought one, and to be honest, if I was at the bookstore and had to choose between an audio book and a physical copy, I'd go for the physical copy. I love them, but I'm not sure I'd spend too much money on them. You should try finding used ones. Usually, people listen to them once and then send them off (like myself) so that could be an option.

    If you really want to try them out, you can also try something like audible.com, but that can be a little too much for some people :/

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  22. Audio books are pricey! I've never actually bought one, and to be honest, if I was at the bookstore and had to choose between an audio book and a physical copy, I'd go for the physical copy. I love them, but I'm not sure I'd spend too much money on them. You should try finding used ones. Usually, people listen to them once and then send them off (like myself) so that could be an option. If you really want to try them out, you can also try something like audible.com, but that can be a little too much for some people :/

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  23. I will! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  24. I've listened to Christine by SK and liked it. It wasn't read by him either! I'll check out the Gone series on audio, since I already have a physical copy of Sweet Evil, and thanks for the suggestions!

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  25. I've listened to Christine by SK and liked it. It wasn't read by him either! I'll check out the Gone series on audio, since I already have a physical copy of Sweet Evil, and thanks for the suggestions!

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  26. Ooh, thanks for all the suggestions! I have a hard copy of Before I Fall, so I might not choose that one, and I've read Delirium, but I might want to listen to that and see how I like it. I loved White Cat! I will have to check out your other suggestions, for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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  27. I'm not an audiobook person strictly from the standpoint they take so much longer to get through than a standard book and I'm an instant gratification person. I like to tear through a book and devour it in one sitting, and I'm just not sure I could sit through hours and hours of an audiobook. Now, if I was in a car and listening, that would be a different story. But I know if I was sitting at home, I would get all antsy. I'm challenged sometimes. I don't know what my deal is! BUT, I agree completely that you shouldn't let someone else's opinion sway you, if you like audiobooks and listening to them, GO FOR IT! And definitely count it toward your Goodreads challenge, you're still experiencing the story, just in a different way:)

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  28. I'm not an audiobook person strictly from the standpoint they take so much longer to get through than a standard book and I'm an instant gratification person. I like to tear through a book and devour it in one sitting, and I'm just not sure I could sit through hours and hours of an audiobook. Now, if I was in a car and listening, that would be a different story. But I know if I was sitting at home, I would get all antsy. I'm challenged sometimes. I don't know what my deal is! BUT, I agree completely that you shouldn't let someone else's opinion sway you, if you like audiobooks and listening to them, GO FOR IT! And definitely count it toward your Goodreads challenge, you're still experiencing the story, just in a different way:)

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  29. I'm not an audiobook fan... but I really don't mind listening when its a good book! As for me, I definitely regard them as reading, because you don't have to use your EYES to do it, but your ears count as well! Great post by the way!

    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  30. I've actually never listened to an audiobook before! I don't know why, I just like reading for myself and have never really seen the appeal of someone else reading to you. However, I would love being able to "read" more while I drive or do other things like you mentioned. So maybe I should give it a try... hmmm. Love the post!

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  31. I've actually never listened to an audiobook before! I don't know why, I just like reading for myself and have never really seen the appeal of someone else reading to you. However, I would love being able to "read" more while I drive or do other things like you mentioned. So maybe I should give it a try... hmmm. Love the post!

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  32. I love me some audio books- I do artsey stuff which takes an hour or two at a time, so it's really great to still be able to get through books I'm interested in while doing that- two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. I'm so glad you're still listening to them- Rachelia sounds like she's awesome-sauce.


    Romi @ Where the Writer Comes to Write.

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  33. I love me some audio books- I do artsey stuff which takes an hour or two at a time, so it's really great to still be able to get through books I'm interested in while doing that- two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. I'm so glad you're still listening to them- Rachelia sounds like she's awesome-sauce. Romi @ Where the Writer Comes to Write.

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  34. I've been thinking more and more lately I need to FINALLY start trying out audio books. I haven't felt like reading lately so maybe audiobooks will spur me on.

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  35. I started listening to audio books last year and I really enjoy the experience now. Sometimes I don't like the narrator or the book, and I wonder if my opinion would have been different had I read a physical copy, but I defo think that audio books count as reading!

    p.s now following your blog :)

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  36. I started listening to audio books last year and I really enjoy the experience now. Sometimes I don't like the narrator or the book, and I wonder if my opinion would have been different had I read a physical copy, but I defo think that audio books count as reading!

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  37. I do think they count as reading! Like the commenter said, you are devoting hours and hours of your life to listening to a book. You're still getting the story and you aren't cheating or anything because you still have to put time into it.


    I'm not the best audiobook listener because I get distracted really easily, but I enjoy rereading books in audiobook form. I use them as more of a refresher for books I haven't read in a while. I recently listened to The Host!

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  38. I wish I could listen to more audio books. When I had a two hour drive for work I listened all the time, but now I live too close to listen. I loved the Gemma Doyle series on audio and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I think they totally count as reading, because it does and that's all there is to it. Punch those other fools in the face.

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  39. I wish I could listen to more audio books. When I had a two hour drive for work I listened all the time, but now I live too close to listen. I loved the Gemma Doyle series on audio and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I think they totally count as reading, because it does and that's all there is to it. Punch those other fools in the face.

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  40. I wobbled about counting them as "really read" books, too, again because of a comment someone made on a pro-audiobooks post I did years ago. Then I realized I didn't care what that person thought-- I was reading, and it counted, and they could go suck an egg if they didn't like it. I'm glad you didn't let that person stop you from doing something you enjoyed!

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