Audio books vs. the actual thing

February 1, 2008

This week I found there was a lot more variety, and I took a liking to Mike Arrington’s blog. I found an article that related to a few of the discussions that we had in class the past two weeks about audiobooks. In the post-called: Amazon Strengthens Its Digital Hand With $300 Million Purchase of Audible, it describes how Amazon has bought the right to sell audio books.

Although Amazon seems to be ecstatic about this acquisition, I’m not so sure it will be as successful as they hope it to be. With technology changing by the second, it does seem like a good idea to switch everything physical to digital, especially books in Amazon’s case. An audio book would prove to be useful, if you were in the car for a better part of your day or take road trips often, or if you just want to close your eyes and relax (you definitely cant do that if you wanted to read) or if you want to multi-task while listening to a favourite book. It is also very convenient not having to carry a book around whenever you have the urge to listen; it would be as easy to access thru your mp3.  Also it would be ideal for those who aren’t able to read at all. 

But what about those people who want the physical object in their hand. I know especially if you aren’t all that into technology, you would prefer to have the actual book in your hand. Also when you finish reading a book, you feel the satisfaction of actually finishing something and a lot of people keep a collection of books to show off what they have read throughout the years. And when somebody asks you “hey did you read this book” you can only respond with “no I only listened to it”, it isn’t quite as good in my opinion. 



14 Responses to “Audio books vs. the actual thing”

  1. agelliott Says:

    I agree Jen, I think for a lot of people they would still prefer to hold the physical thing in their hand, in this case its the book. I would like to think that I’m somewhat tech savy, but I don’t think I would give up holding on to the book as opposed to listening to audiobooks.

  2. wattsy Says:

    It will take a lot of people a while to switch over to audio books. Personally I would rather hold a book in my hand than buy an audio book. But I can see why audio books are becoming more popular. In my opinion there will always be people including myself who like holding the book in there hands – no matter how popular audio books get.

  3. davecanvin Says:

    I agree….

    Thing with an audio book is you’re stuck going at their pace. Im a fast reader and I don’t think I have the patience to sit there and listen to someone read to me.

  4. David McKenna Says:

    I absolutely love reading. I do it all the time on my free time because I enjoy it so much and I enjoy furthering my education with personal finance/leadership/motivation books. I would die if there were only audio books and no more hardcopy books.
    Saying this, I would love to have some of my favorite books on audio. I think it would be great to be able to do something like clean my room or play x-box and still be able to “read” the book.
    So coming from an actual book lover, I think it’s an incredible idea.

  5. jencampbell Says:

    Yeah there are definetly both positive and negative to both. But i still think the majority of book lovers still want the actual physical book in their hands. But when holding the book in your hands isnt a posibility, it would be nice to be able to turn on a book and listen to it. And DaveC i never thought about the speed that the book is read to you, thats so true, the people they get to read the books are usually generic speakers that read at relative speeds. They might have different options of what type of voice you want reading to you, but I personally, imagine a voice like Kiefer Sutherland reading the books, his voice is used for quite a bit of advertising already.

  6. Tasia Says:

    I definitely don’t think audiobooks are going to take over the physical books. I have downloaded a couple of audiobooks before, but only to help learning a foreign language. It was extremely helpful because you could hear the different words, accents, and say them back after listening. It made learning it much easier and memorable!

    However, it would be kind of odd listening to all novels as audiobooks, if they became overwhelmingly popular. What about text books, or books with calculations? Those books wouldn’t be very helpful in audio. Could anyone imagine taking Sean’s finance course using an audio book? Well actually it would be pretty funny, “Dupont this! ITC that! Current cash flows!!!”. Actually I might get it, only if Sean was narrating. But in general, I usually like to read parts of the text books over a couple of times, write little notes and highlight like a maniac. I’d much rather have the book, then keep on trying to find out where I left off on an audio track.

  7. romizuddin Says:

    I agree with Tasia that audio book will take over the physical book. Though people tend to more excited open a text file in a computer than open a book; but for me I feel more exciting to open a new book than opening a new computer text document or e-book.

  8. jblaquiere Says:

    I don’t know guys……
    Personally I think that physical books will stay popular, however I still think that audio books will be a competitive substitute. I heard some where that people who read a lot do better in school, because reading exercises your mind. By only listening to audio books this would take away from the exercise (kind of like standing on a treadmill with rollerskates) it does nothing for your mind. Also, I personally enjoy having the physical books. They are (in a way) like trophies. So physical books I don’t think will die off. Nor will audio books.

  9. David McKenna Says:

    Commenting on Tasia’s thought about how it would be annoying to find where you left off on an audiobook, I think if audiobooks really became incredibly popular, someone would create a neat way to deal with it. With software coming out the way it is, I think someone would make a bookmarking piece of software. I don’t have any idea how they would do it but I’m sure it can be done.

  10. Kant Says:

    What about turbo learning through reading and listening to the an audio book simultaneously?

  11. Charlie C Says:

    I find it almost impossible to listen to an audio book and do anything that takes a level of concentration such as playing x-box. I love audio books but there is also something nice about having a good old paper back.

  12. Basil Sands Says:

    I am both an avid audio book listener as well as an audio book creator. From that perspective I would say that audio books will never overtake the written word. For that matter I am banking on it by giving away my audio books for free as MP3 downloads at my website,

    The primary reason that audio books will not corner the literary market is two fold.

    1. They force the actors/producers view of the characters onto the listener rather than let the imagination of the reader lead.

    2. They are noise…most readers, myself included, prefer to sit in a quiet place and enjoy a book with our thoughts doing all the work and our ear drums at rest.

    I love to listen to audio books while working out, driving, or riding my bicycle. The combination of those times lets me listen to a new audio book almost every week. But late at night I still like to sit in my comfy chair with a glass of port and cozy up to a nice chunk of paper and ink.

    Books aren’t going away any time soon.

    Basil Sands

  13. Tim Says:

    I love going back and forth from paper books to audio books. But in response to the original author, about not being able to claim you’ve read the book, only listen to it. I consider it read. I mean, you took in the information, or enjoyed the authors ideas.. isn’t that the point?

  14. Luigi Fulk Says:

    awesome comment about motivation

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