7 Pros and 7 Cons of Audiobooks

I just finished my first audiobook. And it was an experience worth sharing:

I had been reading reviews and blog posts and tweets about Seth Godin’s newest book, Linchpin. Went to a couple of bookshops on my way to work/home; it wasn’t available. So I went to Amazon.com to order one. I was at Amazon after a long time, and was surprised to see the options available: Kindle (ebook download), hardcover, paperback, audio CD and audio download. Audio download looked like the fastest option so I checked it out. It took me to Audible.com – an Amazon company, where an audio download was being offered for just USD7.49 with a new membership! I signed up, paid the money, downloaded the book, and started listening to it right away! The benefits:

  1. It’s fast. I was listening to the book after just a few clicks in few minutes.
  2. It’s cheap. Book versions were USD13-25.
  3. It’s convenient. I copied the file to my iPhone to listen during my commute to and from work.
  4. It’s safe. A copy each on my computer, iPhone and backup is likely to last (damage-free) as long as I wish.
  5. It takes no space. So less clutter. No worries about whether to keep, sell off, recycle or give-away.
  6. It’s environment-friendly. No paper, ink, chemicals.
  7. It’s comfortable. For someone who spends a lot of time in front of computers or books, this is a good break for the eyes. You can listen while standing, walking or lying down.

And the disadvantages:

  1. You need technology – computer, Internet access, applications like iTunes, and power supply
  2. You need a handheld device to maximize the use of audiobooks – iPhone, iPod or any other MP3 player
  3. You need a credit card for online purchase
  4. You can’t share. I love giving away my books to someone who might enjoy/benefit. Most audiobooks can’t be shared on multiple computers/accounts.
  5. You can’t refer as easily. I like to go back to particular passages in my favorite books for inspiration/information/sharing. In audiobooks, you can fast-forward to chapters but it’s difficult to go to the exact passage you are looking for.
  6. You can lose it easily – unless you have a good backup system.
  7. You become anti-social. Your chances of interesting conversations with strangers greatly diminish if you go around with headphones in your ears.

On balance, I think it depends on your lifestyle, circumstances and even the kind of book you want to read. Please take a few minutes to share your views through comments: Have you tried an audiobook? If not, will you? What other pros and cons can you think of?

[Photo credit: purplecrying.info]

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7 thoughts on “7 Pros and 7 Cons of Audiobooks

  1. I have never tried an audiobook and might not. I can never be the same as reading a book yourself. It might be harmful to have earphones on for until you finish listening to the entore book too much strain on the ears.

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  2. I would definitely like to give the audio book a try, for the experience. However, I may not opt for this extensively, as I am talking to and listening to people on the phone a great amount of time.

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  3. hmm.. my opinion

    Read it First, and Listen it afterwards (but ofcourse if you have enough time to do so); this procedure will help you to contain valuable knowledge by using both important senses i.e. Sight and Hearing.

    What i do that i give all my books to my father as he is a Book Worm and Genius (Interpreter and translator of 7 languages), and in the end he shares gist of tht books with me.. 🙂 Which helps me to save the time 😛

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