Feeling guilty for not being able to find the time to read is quite common these days because of the demanding lifestyles led by most. Some simply cannot concentrate on reading or have grown out of the habit of reading. However, many also feel guilty while consuming books if they listen to them rather than read them. The question is, should they? 

Is listening to audiobooks, not the same as reading a physical or electronic copy of the book? Read along to find the answer. 

For those of you unfamiliar with audiobooks, here is the definition of audiobook in Cambridge dictionary, “a recording, on a CD or made available on the internet, of a book being read aloud.” 

A 2016 study showed how the comprehension remains the same whether you read an e-book or listen to the audiobook. However, if audiobooks are compared to printed books, then printed books take the medal home for comprehension. Researches have shown that 10-15% of the time, we simply re-read, understanding the content better. So, if you’re thinking of listening to a podcast to study for a test, studying from a printed textbook would be a better idea.

It has also been scientifically proven that human minds tend to wander more if they are listening to an audiobook instead of reading the printed or electronic copy of the book. Hence, if you’re planning to learn something from a book, sticking to its physical or electronic copy would be wise.

There are, of course, plus points to listening to audiobooks. The biggest one is that audiobooks allow you to multitask — you can cook and listen to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” simultaneously. Audiobooks can help you get rid of the guilt of not finding enough time to spend with books. 

Audiobooks also elicit a more emotional response than the other forms of books. Since the narrators provide voices to the characters of the book, emotions like sarcasm, excitement and happiness are more vivid. This could also be a downside as many times booklovers want to be able to imagine everything — how you imagine the voice of a character may not be very similar to that of the narrator. 

For books with characters having unique names, especially evident in the genre of fantasy, audiobooks help tons! Finding the correct pronunciation of names of characters or fictional places is quite a difficult task which is made easy by audiobooks.

To summarize, reading a book and listening to an audiobook is definitely not the same. However, both do allow you to immerse yourself into the world created by the author. 

I, as a reader, stick to e-books when I’m on a holiday but listen to audiobooks when I barely find the time to enjoy fictional worlds. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah and “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman are two such audiobooks that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Share your views on audiobooks and comment below the names of audiobooks you enjoyed the most.

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