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I’ve never listened to an audiobook, should I start now?

I’ve never listened to an audiobook, should I start now?

So I have a confession: I’ve never listened to an audiobook. Not once. Never downloaded one. Nothing. Since I work from home, I always figured I don’t have a need since I don’t have a commute. Whenever I do travel, I lug around several different books at a time. But after reading about the growth of audiobooks and hearing plenty of people talk about listening to them, it’s making me wonder if I should give it a try.

After all, check out these audiobooks stats from the Audio Publishers Association (APR):

  • 67 million (!) Americans listened to audiobooks each year
  • Estimated audiobook sales in 2016 totaled more than $2.1 billion, up 18.2% over 2015
  • Far more listeners are saying they use their smartphone most often to listen to audiobooks
    than ever before – 29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015.

While I know plenty of people who listen to it on their commute, apparently, according to the APR, a majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), with the car being the second most frequently-cited location (32%). 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks. Other multitasking activities among frequent listeners include baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%). Side note, I love stories but I don’t think an audiobook will help me work up a sweat.

Audiobooks aren’t a new concept, in fact, according to a PBS article, audiobooks technically first emerged in 1932. The APR says that the top three reasons why there’s a current boom for audiobooks (beyond the widespread usage of smartphones) are: 1) They can do other things while listening; 2) Audiobooks are portable and people can listen wherever they are; and 3) They enjoy being read to.

“They enjoy being read to” – now that’s an interesting concept. I can see how an audiobook can add an extra component of nuance to a story through the voice narration. That is a neat idea.

Still, the act of reading a printed book, nothing beats that. And I wonder if it’s difficult to keep as focused on a story with audiobooks or does the mind wander? And will it still offer the same enlightening experience when the book is finished? It also seems as if it’s an old school radio show instead of a novel.

Then again, I haven’t tried it so maybe I should give it a chance. Even though I do bring plenty of books when I fly, I’ll sometimes listen to a podcast as well so maybe I should add an audiobook while I’m at it. Or on our next road trip.

But the next question is, which book do I begin with?

Champian Fulton

Wednesday 18th of April 2018

I love listening to Audio books in the car! "Go Set a Watchman" was actually really great, even though at first I thought Reese's accent would be annoying - I ended up loving it! I rent audiobooks from the library actually! haha and it is nice being read to!

However, I LOVE podcasts and I love the New Yorker's podcasts where author's read you their own short stories and read their favorite stories by other authors. I use it while on tour because the stories are about 30 - 45 minutes and it's perfect on the train or when I can't hold a book in my hand because I have too many bags or something.