Tuesday, July 27, 2010


If you listen to an audiobook, can you count that book as read?  I'd like to know what you think.

Arguments in favour:
1. Time committment.  I'm currently listening to "Heidi" and it's over 9 hours long.  "War and Peace" is over 60 hours long.  I think this is a shorter time than it would take me to read, due to the fact that I do a bit of re-reading and there are probably a lot of things I stop for. That said, it's still...

2. An Unabridged Work.  There is nothing different here than in a book.

Arguments against:
1. You don't actually read the book.  You could probably read some while you work out, but in the car... this is wasted time and can only be filled in audioformat.

2. Perceptual Differences.  You hear someone else's intonations which may change your perspective of characters and the overall feeling of the work

There are three things I look for when I am choosing an audiobook.
1. A book I don't think I'd get around to reading.
2. It's usually a classic, because of copyright reasons you can get these for free instead of paying for them on iTunes.
3. A good review - which usually means a good narration.  This is key, because you don't want to listen to anything taxing, expecially if it's going to be for 10 plus hours.

Thoughts on audiobooks and if they count as books you have 'read'?


Rebecca Chapman said...

I recently had a similar post on my blog about audiobooks. It was the first time that I had ever really listened to them. Here is the post if you are interested

On what you said, I have actually found that the best audibooks to listen to are those that you have actually already read. Only because my attention can wander a little if I am listening to the story being read, and if I know the story I don't miss anything.

I have also found that listening to easier reads, light hearted ones, like Harry Potter and The Hobbit are the best because the dramatisation of it is really fun.

Having a good narrator is also essential. The Harry Potter audiobooks I have listened to are narrated by Stephen Fry, a very talented and hilarious English actor that brings the characters alive.

Audiobooks just aren't the same as readding a proper book for me, but they definitely have their place

TheBookGirl said...

Hi. I found your blog through Blog Hop Friday and have enjoyed reading it. This year I made several personal reading goals, one of which was to read 12 classics.
I have also recently started using audiobooks, and find I like them for certain situations: when I'm walking outside or on the treadmill or for a book that I might otherwise not have tackled due to the length (recently, Atlas Shrugged). In line with your comments, narration is key for me: if I don't like the narrator, I won't listen.

Eclectic Indulgence said...

As I listen to "Heidi" I realize just how the narrator can sway my opinion of the book. This novel seems childish to me, and from the perspective of a young Swiss girl, it makes a bit of sense. But my internal monologue would be more serious and 'adult', and I think that would help me a little more with the story. I don't know whether it's more accurate or not, but it would help me relate a little more, especially when dialogue is concerned.

Glad you stumbled across my blog... hope you stay awhile. I'll be checking out yours as well.