Audiobooks have jumped in popularity. Just a year ago I occasionally ran into a service advertising audiobooks but now it happens daily. And there are many services. So I asked myself, what makes them so popular?
Audiobooks have been on the rise for a few years and according to many sources, they are even surpassing ebooks in sales. They’ve been around for a long time in one form or another but now they’re going big.
I’ve always liked to listen. As a child I had several audio cassettes with children’s stories and they were wonderful at making me sleep — if I fell asleep before the cassette ended. If not, I’d wake from any slumber and want to hear it again from the beginning.
Which brings us to the first perk of audiobooks:
Many read in bed to help them sleep but for me it’s always been a bit challenging. Either I can’t find the perfect spot and my arms/neck/whatever starts hurting, or I get so absorbed into the story that I forget I was supposed to sleep.
With audiobooks? Just lay back and listen.
No need to hold the book above your face or prop yourself up with pillows or lean on your other side while flipping the page. No need to strain your eyes. No need to search for the bookmark that’s lost somewhere in the sheets.
But people read everywhere, not just in bed. What else you’ve got?
Look Ma, no hands!
Reading a physical book usually requires either two free hands or one hand and a table/other surface. E-books drop it to just one hand for swiping to next page. Audiobooks remove the need for hands altogether.
Drop your phone in your pocket and chop up those veggies. Ride your bike. Scrub the toilet.
Life is more hectic than ever and some people might find they simply don’t have the time to sit down and read. Instead of forgetting all the wonderful adventures books have to offer, they’ve found the perfect way to create more time: multitasking.
I like listening to audiobooks while sitting on the bus because reading in a bumpy environment easily gives me a headache.
Speed up… or slow down
While I love reading, I’m not always the fastest. Sometimes I’m tired or get distracted or my eyes just lag behind.
With audiobooks, you don’t have to be a fast reader. Someone else is doing the reading for you and you’ll know exactly how much time you’ll need to finish a certain book. Depending on your reading speed, audiobooks can help you power through much more books — or, if you’re a fast reader, you can take it easy for a change.
Ever skipped a paragraph while reading? Missed a piece of dialogue and had to check back? Won’t happen with audiobooks! You’ll go through every detail and every word, no pressure.
Hearing is believing
This point, even more so than the others, depends heavily on the person. Some love to rely purely on their imagination but sometimes it can be nice to have a little help.
Voice is a powerful thing and at least for me narrators are key in bringing audiobooks to life. When you hear something in a voice that actually matches the description, it’s much easier to see the scene in your head.
There doesn’t seem to be that many people reviewing the quality of audiobooks but it’s definitely something to think about. Why?
We’ve all had that one teacher who managed to ruin even the most interesting subject with their dull, monotonous speech.
I’ve never listened to an audiobook where the narrator was horrible but their voice does make a difference. It’s not something I can put my finger on, at least not now, but I’ll definitely want to pay more attention to the quality of production. Maybe I can figure out what type of narration works best for me.
These have been mostly my musings and thoughts on audiobooks, so I’d love to hear what you think.
Do you like audiobooks? In what situations do you listen to them? What makes a good (or bad) audiobook?