An Esquire Magazine article I read recently had me livid. They claimed that certain audiobooks were better than the actual books themselves.
Before anyone points it out, yes I did spot the disclaimer at the top so yes, I understand that this is an affiliated post and they’re basically just trying to earn money using a controversial headline to get people to buy audiobooks so that they’ll get the commission for the sale. I’m not completely uninitiated on how this sort of advertising works.
However, what got me was how easily the magazine could claim that certain books were better as audiobooks whilst missing the fact that audiobooks are completely different things. Unlike ebooks, which are simply books stored on electronic devices and which still require actual reading, using your eyes, audiobooks use a different sense, hearing.
As such, audiobooks are a completely different experience from reading an actual book. While they are enjoyable in most cases, there’s something to be said for reading an actual book. And whilst there are some books that some people might prefer to hear in audiobook form rather than reading themselves, they won’t get the same enjoyment out of them because audiobooks are completely different to real books.
Also, in reading books our imaginations are able to craft the voices, settings and general characterisations for us, whereas audiobooks use sounds and different voices or accents to lend atmosphere to the listening experience. As a result, less imagination is required, but people get less from the experience of listening to an audiobook, and often have a completely different view of the text than they would’ve done if they read it.
In conclusion, it’s my belief that saying a certain book is better as an audiobook is like saying that you shouldn’t read a specific novel and instead just watch the TV show. You can like one, you can like the other, but you can’t seriously tell me that they’re the same thing.
2 thoughts on “Audiobooks Aren’t Better Than Normal Books: They’re A Different Thing”
You’re right, they are two completely separate things. I think it’s a question of the voice being a good match for the book, then you can get something really special that complements the written version not replaces it. I particularly like Derek Jacobi reading M R James and Rufus Sewell reading Ian Fleming.
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