For me, audiobooks are a great way to make use of the least productive parts of my day. When I’m doing the housework, walking to the supermarket or tapping away at a mind-numbing spreadsheet, I put on my headphones and try to give my brain a bit of exercise. With a full time job to take care of and novel-writing on the side, I don’t have as much time to read as I would like, so audiobooks have really been a massive help in giving my creative muscles the nourishment they need to keep writing my own material. I recently finished Pride and Prejudice; a book which I never thought I would get around to reading but I ended up really enjoying. And now I am on to Stephen King’s It which has been equally good so far. The Netflix-style subscription services have made this all very affordable too as I am paying a flat price of £10-15. That’s pretty good considering that the prices of some audiobooks run into the hundreds.
But I do have some friends who can’t share my enthusiasm. They say it’s not the same as reading a paper copy and you can’t call yourself well-read from listening to an audiobook any more than you could by watching the film of the book. They seem to be implying that I will lose the ability to read if I don’t use hard copies and I can’t really agree with that. I’m reading right now so clearly audiobooks haven’t addled my brain. But they do raise one other point which I think has some merit, even if I don’t agree completely. Is it possible to really give your books enough attention when you are multitasking? Now, I admit that I sometimes miss a few sentences if the hoover cord gets tangled around my leg while I’m listening but I almost always rewind and listen again. But maybe I’m not giving the book enough attention if I’m doing something else at the same time.
What do you think? Do audiobooks have a significant disadvantage over paper or ebook.