Audiobooks: Revolutionary or Ruining Reading?


Recently some friends and I started to wonder if audiobooks would spell the end of real reading. Much like the Kindle before it, the audiobook has become a symbol of a new age in the reading market. Although the Kindle and eBooks have so far failed to outstrip real books in terms of sales and popularity, audiobooks are constantly growing, but will this put an end to the traditional book?

Over the years, Audiobooks have been billed as the new eBooks; a cool new means of getting existing and previously hesitant readers into the latest books and classic tomes. The idea is far from revolutionary, yet recently many new firms and platforms have sprung out of the woodwork as the literature market continues to seek new and innovative ways to entice customers to buy their products.

With the constant rise of firm such as Audible, it is no wonder that audiobooks are becoming more popular as consumers enjoy easier access to them. However, I have always wondered if they are ruining the real reading experience by providing a sort of rubbish version of actually reading a book. Is it better to read the words than it is to hear them spoken aloud?

To be honest, it is my belief that audiobooks, as they are today, have been around for donkey’s years in the form of radio shows. When I was a kid I listened to BBC Radio 4 exclusively for the dramatic readings it did of books. In the days before everyone had a computer and could Google things on demand, they were a great gateway into finding new authors I liked and reading the books for myself. That’s how I started reading Sapper’s Bulldog Drummond novels, and, they introduced me to Dorothy L Sayers fantastic Lord Peter Wimsey. These books were already in my parent’s house, but I had never even thought of looking at them until I heard them spoken aloud on the radio. The voices bought the stories to life and I couldn’t wait to have a copy in my hand to read for myself.

That, in my opinion, is the role that audiobooks play today. They allow people to get a taste of books, and then explore them for themselves. Whilst I am sure there are many who will simply skip the reading stage, there will be many more who have never previously dreamt of reading who will pick up books in earnest once they have heard them spoken.

4 thoughts on “Audiobooks: Revolutionary or Ruining Reading?

  1. Pingback: Incident Report No. 29 – Unlawful Acts

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