Author Topic: Drawbacks to audio books?  (Read 3942 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Drawbacks to audio books?
« on: November 01, 2015, 06:37:23 PM »
I understand that audio books are very efficient compared to classical reading. However, are there any drawbacks to it, in your view?
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Offline PANTS!

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 06:58:13 PM »
Yes.

You can't easily reread a sentence to get meaning. 

You can't flip back and forth between two related passages.  Especially a pain in prophecy heavy  fantasy novels. 

Sometimes the reader sucks ass

You have to pay attention or else you will turn around and be 2 chapters down the road, and have no idea what is going on.

I sometimes enjoy reading while listenjng to music.

There are others I am sure....
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2015, 07:46:28 PM »
I listen to too many podcasts to dedicate any of my listening time to audio books. Especially when my Kindle works just fine for me.

Also, when you're on limited downloads, a four-hour audio file may contribute towards blowing out your limit, and it can take a while to download on slow networks.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2015, 07:51:18 PM »
You have to pay attention or else you will turn around and be 2 chapters down the road, and have no idea what is going on.

You can't easily reread a sentence to get meaning.
This is the biggest issue I have.  It's especially problematic with nonfiction so I pretty much read nonfiction and listen to fiction.

Also, as Pants said, a bad reader can make the best story unlistenable. 

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 08:39:23 PM »
Yes.

You can't easily reread a sentence to get meaning. 

You can't flip back and forth between two related passages.  Especially a pain in prophecy heavy  fantasy novels. 

Sometimes the reader sucks ass

You have to pay attention or else you will turn around and be 2 chapters down the road, and have no idea what is going on.

I sometimes enjoy reading while listenjng to music.

There are others I am sure....
Even though I listen to a good deal of audiobooks for my narrative fiction I mostly agree with this. My one point of contention is with reading while listening to music. I just can't do it. Invariably I find myself tuning out the reading material and listening to the music instead, and then I lose my place / forget what I was reading.

I vastly prefer regular old reading for denser, non-narrative material but I actually prefer audiobooks at the moment because of the flip side of what you're saying: I read a lot of 19th century Victorian literature in college because that is what you do when you get a degree in English, and one thing I learned was that sometimes when a book is not written... I don't want to say "well" because a lot of the books I had to do this with are written just fine in a technical sense, it's just that stylistically they're pretty jarring compared to modern books. I see the same effect sometimes with translations. Anyway, what I learned was that if you just power through them, using something similar to what the speed-reading experts say you should do, you will actually remember a lot more of the book/characters/etc. than you might expect. In fact, once you get into a "groove" (closest term I can think of), you even stop noticing the style.

Where audiobooks really, really help with this is that they kind of force you to do this. If you *really* want to you can rewind the book but by and large the narrator just narrates and you have no choice but to follow along. The above method for me is sometimes hard to start, and sometimes, too, it's hard to get started every day you're reading the particular book.

As one example, I chose to listen to Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel rather than reading it. Wolf Hall is a work of historical fiction about one of Henry VIII's courtiers (a real life member of the court but I won't give away what happens to him). Wolf Hall is a modern book but there is a *very* large cast of characters. Now, I may have been helped a lot by knowing a lot of the cast in advance (again, English major), but there's also a really great extent to where if you just plow through a book like this and trust that you'll remember who everyone is, you'll come out just fine. Ditto Shelby Foote's MASSIVE 3-volume history of the Civil War, which is not fictional at *all* but is still very narrative-based. Again, massive cast of characters, lots and lots of moving parts, but if you trust your brain your brain will sort things out without you ducking out of the narrative to look stuff up.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 09:11:57 PM »
Even though I listen to a good deal of audiobooks for my narrative fiction I mostly agree with this. My one point of contention is with reading while listening to music. I just can't do it. Invariably I find myself tuning out the reading material and listening to the music instead, and then I lose my place / forget what I was reading.

I've found through long experience that I can process words from one input at a time. So I can read while listening to instrumental music, but not music with words. It's why I listen to podcasts while I'm driving - driving doesn't use the "word-processing" part of my brain.
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2015, 12:51:16 AM »
I do enjoy playing "Guess how that name is spelled" for certain SF/F books. I don't think I got a single one right for Ancillary Justice.
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Offline Sordid

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2015, 01:55:58 AM »
In addition to what everyone else already said, audiobooks require an electronic device. Books can't run out of batteries.

You have to pay attention or else you will turn around and be 2 chapters down the road, and have no idea what is going on.

That's the big one, IMO. When you're reading a book, you're reading a book. You can't do anything else at the same time, so you're forced to pay attention. Audiobooks are great precisely because you can listen while doing something else, but that also means it's very easy to let your attention slip and miss things.

Offline Harry Black

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2015, 08:47:20 AM »
I think audiobooks are on the whole, excellent.
One disadvantage I find is that once you build up a collection, you need to start deleting things that may have been handy for reference. You could always download them again of course but then your bookmarks etc are gone.
Battery time is a good point (though in really hot climates I like kindle because paper books fall apart)
The other thing is that reading is a different activity in itself, enjoyable in its own right. I do love sitting in a cafe or bar with a whiskey or coffee and getting lost in a good book. If Im sitting there with earphones in, staring at the wall while I drink, then I dont feel so comfortable.
One of the few things I miss about 9-5 jobs was saturday afternoon in a diner with a book. And the chance that a person may ask a question about it and start an enjoyable conversation.
Edit- Quetz, you ask some awesome questions. We had a bumpy start but the forum feels more enjoyable with you on it these days.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2015, 09:39:13 AM »
I do enjoy playing "Guess how that name is spelled" for certain SF/F books. I don't think I got a single one right for Ancillary Justice.
The reading version is guess how that name is pronounced.  I mostly read the Silmarillion by thinking to my self, Guy whose name starts with S and ends with uin.

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2015, 09:58:49 AM »
I think audiobooks are on the whole, excellent.
One disadvantage I find is that once you build up a collection, you need to start deleting things that may have been handy for reference. You could always download them again of course but then your bookmarks etc are gone.
Battery time is a good point (though in really hot climates I like kindle because paper books fall apart)
The other thing is that reading is a different activity in itself, enjoyable in its own right. I do love sitting in a cafe or bar with a whiskey or coffee and getting lost in a good book. If Im sitting there with earphones in, staring at the wall while I drink, then I dont feel so comfortable.
One of the few things I miss about 9-5 jobs was saturday afternoon in a diner with a book. And the chance that a person may ask a question about it and start an enjoyable conversation.
Edit- Quetz, you ask some awesome questions. We had a bumpy start but the forum feels more enjoyable with you on it these days.
Yeah, I just plain don't buy physical books anymore, really. Either I'll get an audio version or I'll get something I can read on my Kindle/iPad. I imagine that you, like me, have to pack light (you probably moreso than I) and carting around a bunch of heavy books on the off chance that you might want to read one of them is not efficient. I think that at present I have I want to say 4 book books in my possession - 2 roleplaying gamebooks (which can be a chore to flip through and bookmark, although I will say that even at that I have done okayish with the game I'm GMing online right now, last week notwithstanding) and I think 2 books on writing I picked up a while ago but haven't really read through at the moment (maybe it's 3).
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2015, 10:02:15 AM »
I still love the idea of real books even though I mostly read on my tablet and listen via audio. 

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2015, 10:13:01 AM »
I have thought about this - there's a "level of attention" spectrum.

Requires the most dedicated attention...........................................Requires the least dedicated attention
Reading a book........Audiobook...........Hardcore History.....................Any other podcast....................Music


The first obviously takes up almost all of my attention.

The second two I can do while walking, driving, taking transit, shopping.

The last two I can while working.
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2015, 10:44:19 AM »
I still love the idea of real books even though I mostly read on my tablet and listen via audio.
I think because of star trek, I much prefer reading on a device.


Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Drawbacks to audio books?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2015, 03:24:40 PM »
Yes.

You can't easily reread a sentence to get meaning. 

You can't flip back and forth between two related passages.  Especially a pain in prophecy heavy  fantasy novels. 

Sometimes the reader sucks ass

You have to pay attention or else you will turn around and be 2 chapters down the road, and have no idea what is going on.

I sometimes enjoy reading while listenjng to music.

There are others I am sure....

I agree with this. Some writings you need to actually read to get a clear overview of what is being conveyed, just not listening to it. At least I feel that way.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

 

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