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Paper Book or Audio Book? (1 Viewer)

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Darkkin

WF Veterans
Since audio books are getting a thread I thought I might stand up for the actual books and say that as a reader I prefer them for sensory input, context, and information comprehension.

Active listening is not my strong suit. When I do it, I really have to work at it to the exclusion of everything else. Walking, driving, chores, etc...

Physical books provided a visual, linear construct of words and punctuation that give context that I might otherwise miss, while listening passively.

Yes, I want the information, but I don't want to have to just sit and listen to someone yammer. I want to be actively involved in the intake process. Having ASD/ADHD, I need the grounding stimuli of more than one sense.

(e.g. Reading which engages my visual and tactile sensory input, two of five senses working to ground my focus on the information, not merely auditory input, which I can and often do tune out due to sensory overload.

The feel of book pages, especially those I have read numerous times are a stim for me when things get overwhelming. Give me one of my books and a couple minutes with a familiar story and music can I ground and rebalance to avoid a system shutdown. )

From a writer's standpoint, I make a habit of reading aloud when I edit, so I can override my brain's autocorrect feature that can obscure grammatical errors and awkward phrasing. On the whole I need more than just simple auditory input to fully comprehend information.

As a reader do you prefer actual books (physical/ebooks), audio books, or both?

Also, have you considered why do you prefer your chosen medium?
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I only listen to audio books if I have to take a long trip in the car (cage in biker parlance), otherwise I prefer reading on my Kindle. Using it, I can change brightness, enlarge the font, and I can even look up terms that I don't know.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Since audio books are getting a thread I thought I might stand up for the actual books and say that as a reader I prefer them for sensory input, context, and information comprehension.

Active listening is not my strong suit. When I do it, I really have to work at it to the exclusion of everything else. Walking, driving, chores, etc...

Physical books provided a visual, linear construct of words and punctuation that give context that I might otherwise miss, while listening passively.

Yes, I want the information, but I don't want to have to just sit and listen to someone yammer. I want to be actively involved in the intake process. Having ASD/ADHD, I need the grounding stimuli of more than one sense.

(e.g. Reading which engages my visual and tactile sensory input, two of five senses working to ground my focus on the information, not merely auditory input, which I can and often do tune out due to sensory overload.

The feel of book pages, especially those I have read numerous times are a stim for me when things get overwhelming. Give me one of my books and a couple minutes with a familiar story and music can I ground and rebalance to avoid a system shutdown. )

From a writer's standpoint, I make a habit of reading aloud when I edit, so I can override my brain's autocorrect feature that can obscure grammatical errors and awkward phrasing. On the whole I need more than just simple auditory input to fully comprehend information.

As a reader do you prefer actual books (physical/ebooks), audio books, or both?

Also, have you considered why do you prefer your chosen medium?
In general, I prefer to read, but I can think of one notable exception. The main reason I prefer reading is that I can make up the voices myself - of both narrator(s) and characters. The big exception was Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. The first time I came across this was at a friend's house when a group of us were gathered. He put on an LP (yes, it was on vinyl) of the story and the voices and extra effects were probably far superior to any I might have imagined - and I could still make my own images in my head.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I don't listen to audio books but some of my readers do, which is why I always have one made, usually a couple of months after the release of the digital/print edition.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
I only listen to audio books if I have to take a long trip in the car (cage in biker parlance), otherwise I prefer reading on my Kindle. Using it, I can change brightness, enlarge the font, and I can even look up terms that I don't know.

Same here. I can't hold a book for more than a few seconds so my Kindle Paperwhite is one of my most prized possessions.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
If you're going to learn from audio books (the emphasis is on learning in my thread), then you have to learn to 'listen' closely. It forces you to think on the fly and more quickly. You can't backtrack and read it again (unless you rewind) and so you learn to do all the things you would do during a rewrite spontaneously. You do that often enough, it becomes second nature to apply it to your own work.

Nobody said audio books were better. I said they're a great tool to learn. The debate on which is better has no baring on what I'm saying. It's got nothing to do with it. As a 'learning tool', audio books are invaluable. Reading books is invaluable too. It's not a competition ... I was just pointing out what audio books bring to the table that books don't.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Would you consider directing all that effort of 'studying' the audio book or the radio to studying a paper book? It doesn't have to be huge investment of hours and hours, perhaps a couple of pages, or ten at a time.

How do we expect somebody to read our book if we won't read anybody else's book?

The danger is slipping into that well-trod and pleasurable thread territory - it pops up regularly - the delightful: 'Do I really have to read some books to write my novel?'...which itself is relative of the classic answer 'Think of my story like this: in the movie Star Wars...' zzzzzzzzzz.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Would you consider directing all that effort of 'studying' the audio book or the radio to studying a paper book? It doesn't have to be huge investment of hours and hours, perhaps a couple of pages, or ten at a time.

How do we expect somebody to read our book if we won't read anybody else's book?

The danger is slipping into that well-trod and pleasurable thread territory - it pops up regularly - the delightful: 'Do I really have to read some books to write my novel?'...which itself is relative of the classic answer 'Think of my story like this: in the movie Star Wars...' zzzzzzzzzz.
Again, this isn't about which is best, this is about what audio books bring to the table that books don't. Having to analyse without pause teaches you to analyse more quickly. So, when you're in full flow writing your own stories, everything you've learned happens spontaneously.

Nobody said they're better than books, nobody said don't read books, nobody said don't read books to learn to write.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
Again, this isn't about which is best, this is about what audio books bring to the table that books don't. Having to analyse without pause teaches you to analyse more quickly. So, when you're in full flow writing your own stories, everything you've learned happens spontaneously.

Nobody said they're better than books, nobody said don't read books, nobody said don't read books to learn to write.

Look at the opening question:

Which do you prefer and why? Merely asking someone to pause and think about how they learn. Audio books open doors for millions of readers. No one is saying they don't, nor is anyone begrudging that fact. Another fact that exsists is the fact that a decent number of people can and do struggle with verbal context and do better with the linear structure of the written word. (Visual cues) I cannot explain something to someone to save my life, but I can show how to do something. It depends on the individual and how they process information.

From a personal standpoint, I have a younger brother who struggled with reading. Audio books helped him understand the information he needed to know when used in tandem with the printed material. So yes, they are a great learning tool and an excellent escape for many. No arguements and debate on that point, they have a well earned place in the world.

Where I hit a snag is the sheer size of some of the audio books in unabridged formats. At minimum an average of 4 hours and upwards of 20 hours depending on the book and its topic. The time commitment to the active listening process alone is daunting. I also know that a majority of people can and do multitask while listening to audio books, I can do this with music, but audio books require a bit more attention. The whole active vs. passive listening. That needs to be a thread of its own.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Somewhere back in old WF threads is a discussion of ebooks vs. print and my own preference for print books. I may even possibly have not been a fan of audiobooks at the time either.

And...things change.

I still love print books, always will. As we're attempting to move from one house to another there are a truly staggering number of books already in my mother's house and also in my house. Like you, Darkkin, I enjoy the experience of a print book most of all. It is the quietest, most peaceful option of reading. The light is reflected off of the page rather than beaming into your eyes from an e-reader and the only voices speaking are those of your imagination. This is still my preferred reading experience.

And then the pandemic and suddenly all the libraries shut down. We were regular library users so this was a problem.

So I do, still somewhat reluctantly, read ebooks (I know this wasn't in your thread title) and I like audiobooks when I can get a hold of them. It can be tricky to find a good selection of audiobooks that I really want to read.

So I guess my guiding principle is that I really love books and I will put up with a variety of book-presentations in order to get to the book. Can't get Dean Koontz at the library because the library is closed or their selection is bafflingly small? I'll go to kindle for the ebook and either pick up the audio for free or a reduced price with audible.

So I'm a book opportunist at this point. I have no shame!
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
They're books. And there is no wrong or right way to enjoy them. (If you want to do active listening training to better one's skills that is an option.) And I guess that might have been my point all along, that books no matter their format really are one of life's greatest pleasures. Do we learn form them yes, but we also find something more. An escape. A finite bit of time when the world around us stills and we can get lost in the story or a different idea. It is access to the creative strata we might otherwise overlook. We are lucky to have a variety of mediums and the ability to making them widely available.
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
I like physical text and audiobooks equally. Though, at times, I feel a preference for one or the other, depending on my mood.

It's the same with television/film vs. reading. Sometimes I'm in the mood for reading text. Other times, I'm in the mood for something more audio/visual. So it varies.

I suppose, in the end, these are just different mediums for accomplishing the same goal: extracting the story so the characters and setting can infiltrate your brain, occupy your thoughts, and toy with your emotions. Perhaps how the story gets there isn't as important as how it makes you feel, once you're in the flow of it.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
Michael Pollan and Stephen Fry are two authors who translate wonderfully across available mediums. The subject they address are interesting, but it the manner in which it is presented that truly engages the audience. Soundly researched, their tone is personable, a bit wry, and quirky.

They make the experience one the audience (reader/listener/watcher) enjoys. The time and effort expended was not given begrudingly, (e.g. the student wishing they were anywhere other than class or the guy taking ten minutes of roundaboutation to reveal the two pertinent pieces of information you need to identify and locate the book he saw on Fox news.).
 
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Cephus

Senior Member
Audio books unfold so much more slowly than I can read that I get frustrated.
Exactly. I can read the book 10x faster than I can listen to it and I've got no time for that. The number of books I have to get through is higher than I can see already.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Paper book, hands down. I can develop a much clearer picture of what I need to derive from the words on a page a lot
better than someone's voice droning on and on. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike audio books, I just prefer the written
word above all else, and I can also go at my own speed (general faster than an audio book).

-JJB
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
During the snowy winter months, my audiobook consumption is at its highest. I listen with a pair of wireless earphones while shoveling the driveway/side steps/back porch. In heavy winters, this becomes a daily ritual of sorts.

Sometimes I'll stop shoveling during a particularly well-written passage, take off a glove, scoop my phone from my pocket, and hit that 30-second-rewind button, just to hear to the part again.

Some authors have a knack for making my fingers cold.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
My preference in ascending order is: eBook, audiobook, paper book, and my rationale is purely rational as apposed to emotional reasoning — a rational rationale. I have no horse in this race.

Regarding paper books, I have trouble focusing. I'm dyslexic and have a stigmatism in one eye, and I suffer from ADD, so trying to read a paper book is a real struggle — so much so that I rarely make it even halfway through unless it's about something in which I'm really interested. My eyes get tired after half-an-hour or so. I had a lot of problems in school because of that and would avoid any class when I could that required a lot reading. I was in college in the '90s and there wasn't the eBook option back then.

Audiobooks are better, but there's the concentration issue — mainly due to my ADD because my mind wanders. And it takes so damn long to get through an audiobook. Plus, if I don't like the narrator's voice, it tends to ruin it for me. I prefer to have my own interpretation of the writer's literary voice.

Which leaves us with eBooks, which have been a literary lifesaver for me. When I increase the font size and the line spacing, I can actually read without too much trouble. I'm actually reading four books simultaneously right now, and I'll eventually get through each one.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
A few years ago I only read paper books and ereaders were the devil incarnate... over the last five years, I have given away ALL, bar a couple of my fiction paper books, and read everything on my Kindle paper white.
  • I can adjust the font size
  • read in poor light
  • no delivery charges
  • immediate delivery
  • more choice.
  • cheaper, especially Deals of the day via Amazon. I actually buy more fiction books than I used to.
  • more convenient to carry.

Audio books, the jury is still out. I have listened to a few short stories which I enjoyed. Time will tell. But at the end of the day it would boiled down to price, especially for an unknown author.

I do prefer listening to poetry rather than reading it.
 
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