Book Blogger Buzz Tour & #Giveaway: Audiobooks vs…regular books?

Posted July 25th, 2014 by in Blog, Features, Giveaway, Musings / 43 comments

 Today it is my pleasure to welcome Pam from MidnyteReader.Com to HJ!



The Book Blogger Buzz Tour is the brainchild of the Fab Rachel at Today Pam from Midnyte Reader is stopping by to Talk about Audiobooks vs…regular books. Take it away Pam.

Audiobooks vs…regular books? ~ 

I resisted audio books for the longest time. I wanted to read the printed word. Isn’t the whole point of a book to *read* it? I liked to get lost between pages and immersed in black type against crisp white paper. I liked to feel the weight of the book in my hands and run my fingers over the cover. I wanted to provide my own pace, my own picture of how the characters sounded. Their tone, their cadence, their speech, conjured by my imagination.

I didn’t want an interpreted variation that might be subpar to the scenes created in my own mind read by voices that didn’t sound like they belonged or a droning narrative

A book is supposed to be read!

However, didn’t storytelling begin as an oral medium? Long ago, people sat around their fires and relayed the events of the day, tales of their ancestors, their myths and legends. Cultures used language to pass down customs and traditions. And you. You who are reading this. How did you learn playground chants for jumprope or superstitions from your grandmother? Probably by listening, right? What do you today around a campfire besides roast marshmallows? Tell ghost stories perhaps?

What changed my mind wasn’t by rationally telling myself the above. It was by actually trying audio books. I’m a slow reader and to supplement my bookish endeavors I finally perused the audio section of my library. They don’t have the biggest selection and their Horror is a bit lacking (relegated mostly to Stephen King and Dean Koontz), which is great, but I’ve read most of them, so I’ve had to expand my audio book selection. (No, I don’t use Audible yet – long story, which I won’t go into here.)

There are certain books that I would prefer to read as opposed to listen to. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s only because I already bought the book and I want to get my money’s worth. Perhaps it’s for the reasons I resisted audio books in the first place. So, yeah, audio books are great. Not all audio books. Let’s face it, some are…not so good. The narration might be like the buzz of white noise to put me right to sleep. A male narrator may portray a female character in a laughable light or vice versa. Maybe the narrator may even perform like they are reading to a classroom of tots. Or maybe the voice may just grate on you.

But sometimes, you get magic. I recently listened to The Bone Season, and let me tell you, Alana Kerr, could read a phone book to me. It helps that she’s speaking in an Irish brogue and her speech is like music. And listening to Stephen King read Bag of Bones was the next best thing to him sitting next to me to tell a bedtime story. A good performance can bring a whole new layer to a story.

However, I just tried to listen to The Luminaries. Granted, I only listened to the first CD, but it was so detailed and had so much exposition, that I listened to it three times before I decided to try something else. The premise sounds very cool, but I just wasn’t digesting it. I will give it another try though. If it still doesn’t work, I’ll try to seek out a printed copy. I then started Something Wicked and I really can’t get behind the narration. The dialogue seems forced to me, over dramatic and almost cartoonish if that makes sense.
So, I can’t help but wonder if I had started these books in print in the first place, would I have felt the same way? I think it really depends on the book. I have read the print version and listened to the audio of The Night Circus and loved them both, but I admit I enjoyed the print version more.

Which brings me to my next thought: Do I judge audio books the same as print books? I only listen to audio books in the car while driving. Sure I zone out sometimes and miss something, I can’t flip back through the pages, I can’t put a Post-it note on a passage. However, I can’t really listen at work or listen while I’m on the computer at home. The car is the best place for me. I feel very efficient because I’m accomplishing two things at once. Running errands/driving to work PLUS reading! Because of this, if a book isn’t as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be, it’s okay because at least I’m getting other things done. I don’t feel as if it is as much of a waste of time. For this reason, I’ll also give a title a try on audio that I may not in print. I’ve found some gems and some duds this way, but it’s all good because with an audio, at least it fills the time during a long road trip and it’s giving me yet one more book to blog about and discuss.

So you might prefer audio books or you might prefer print books. There are a myriad of reasons for liking one over the other and there are pros and cons to both. You cannot deny, however, that they are both delivering the same thing, just in a different package. A story. It is important enough to get the recipe just right for any book, but for an audio book, the right narrator can be the icing on the cake.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for printed books or audio books? A criteria for either? We’d love to know your thoughts!

Midnyte Reader



43 Responses to “Book Blogger Buzz Tour & #Giveaway: Audiobooks vs…regular books?”

  1. mskind81

    I have never listened to an audio book before so I really can’t make a fair judgement. I have my reasons for not buying them, I don’t drive anymore due to medical reasons, but its my choice. I have a 7&2 yr old so I can’t put on headphones and not be able to hear them. Maybe one day I will try a couple and could make an actual decision.

  2. Vanessa

    Printed books. I love books in this order:
    hardback, paper of misc size, e-books, pdf e-books that I sometimes have issues with, audio…

  3. Taswmom

    I definitely prefer to read a book myself. I have listened to the scriptures on audio, and even sometimes noticed something I hadn’t really caught before, probably because it’s just flowing along without my normal emphasis and timing. But I can’t listen to just anyone read them. Some voices, some reading styles, some under or over acting really turn me away. I do have access to a couple of audio books, but haven’t tried them. Like you, I thought maybe I could listen while driving, or while I crochet, but just haven’t acted on it.

  4. melanieanu

    I much prefer to read a book, but I have found that audio books have their moments eg when driving on long journeys 🙂

  5. Elizabeth L.

    I’ve only listened to a limited number of audio books, since I tend to prefer reading vs. listening to the books, yet it’s always something I’d consider to do so more often.

  6. infinitieh

    I generally read paper books because I can read a whole lot faster (or skim) than the audiobook’s reader. I do listen to audiobooks though and I have favorite readers. For instance, George Guidall is excellent and I prefer Stephen Fry over Jim Dale for the Harry Potter series.

  7. christytea

    I usually prefer printed books but I’ve been reading audiobooks more and more and really enjoy them as well if the person reading has a nice voice.

  8. Laney4

    I like audio books for non-fiction, but I prefer printed books for fiction. I can “slip into the story” more easily, without distractions (whereas I can stop non-fiction anywhere).

  9. Krysten M

    I definitely like printed books the best. I’ve never listened to an entire audio book before though, just a sample. I like picturing/getting house the character is in my head rather than someone telling me

  10. cheryl c.

    I prefer paperbacks. With an audio book, it’s too hard for me to skim back to a previous section to check names and facts.

  11. Robin B

    I love print books. I haven’t tried audio books yet just because I’m afraid I will run off the road if I’m listening and driving and a good scene comes on.

  12. rebelovesbooks

    I like to listen to certain types of audiobooks when I’m driving on long trips, but I prefer to read text because I read a LOT faster than I can listen to books.

  13. Janie McGaugh

    I love audiobooks, but I still prefer printed books. It’s much easier to go back and double-check a passage for something you didn’t think was important at the time. For the audiobooks, though, it’s important that the narrator be good and be able to do both the male and female voices believably. I’m frustrated, many times, by the samples that are given, because the chosen sample often doesn’t give us a chance to determine this.

  14. Dawn Burzawa

    I Had Shoulder Surgery About 3 Years Ago, Audio Books Helped Me Survive. It Was Hard To Hold A Book 2 Read. Thanks

  15. ki pha

    Ooo Great topic Pam. I actually prefer printed books but I have listened to quite a few audio books from Audible which were amazing, except one or two of them. Even though I have listened to them I find myself wanting to read them for myself anyways. They were great to listen to at work but I felt like I missed some stuff and weren’t actually in the story while at work.

  16. Colleen C.

    I have not even tried an audio book… something bugs me about it. I want to experience the book in my own time frame… using the author’s printed words in my head to create the picture… not listen to someone read it to me.

  17. Irma Jurejevčič

    I do own a Kindle and like to read on it. But I prefer paperbacks more.

  18. orchid7

    I do like audiobooks. I check out quite a few of them from my library. I prefer the mp3 downloadable ones. I take my phone with me while I walk my dog, and I can “read” (aka listen) to more books while I exercise. I’ve read many more books this way! Sometimes I’ll also set a timer on the audio and listen to a book for 15 minutes or so in bed before going to sleep, when my eyes are too tired to read.
    I do agree that some of the performers are annoying, and I’ve had to give up on a few. But for the most part, I enjoy them. I wouldn’t use them exclusively, but they are great in the proper settings.

  19. Midnyte Reader

    Thank you so much for having me on your blog for this part of the tour! I love everyone’s comments. Seems like most people still prefer the printed word to audio. Which I totally get. I think it takes just the right mix to make a good audio book.

  20. Sony

    I am a some what of an audiobook virgin. I listened to one for about 5 min and was so bored! I would love to listen to one so when I travel I could have a book to keep me company. I get carsick so I am not able to read on the go. I guess I should look into finding the right kind of reader like you have said not all stories are not told the same and some can pull it of with ease.

  21. Texas Book Lover

    I love both…with is why I love my Kindle keyboard so much because I can switch between the Text-To_Speech function and reading. I will be extremely sad when it finally dies. I adore actual audio books too but they are pricey…so they are few and far between for me. I am so used to the voice on my kindle that it doesn’t bother me at all now. I use it every day on my drive back and forth to work and when I am around the house. Like I said I don’t know what I will do when my Kindle stops working…it’s my baby!

  22. Amy R

    I have purchase a few used audio cds from my library but haven’t tried them yet, my concern is the length of the audio book vs my reading in print speed. I don’t drive far enough when I’m alone in the car to warrant trying to start an audio book.

  23. Barrie

    I’m not a big audio person but maybe it’s a good thing to do while I’m cleaning the house! My hubby listens to a lot of audio books as he drives 1.5 hours to work, one way.

  24. marcyshuler

    I prefer reading books to listening to them. I’m a fast reader and would be frustrated if an audio book didn’t read at my pace.

  25. Rachael

    I prefer printed books. However, I have never tried an audio book so I can’t say whether or not I like it.

  26. Lori Hopkins

    I CANNOT listen to an audio book! I have tried. I have come around to ebooks, but I will not go further. And I really like the book, I will be getting a hard copy!

  27. Inga

    I love to listen to the audio version of mystery and nonfiction books. The only downside is when the narrator isn’t good. But when the person is good it can be a book even more enjoyable.
    Print is still my first choice, but audio books make up a large portion of my book collection.

  28. mrsmac19

    I’ve never listened to an audio book, so I can’t really pass judgement. I do prefer the convenience of e-books to printed books.

  29. Laney4

    One of the reasons I love my paperbacks is that I can easily share them with others, as I leave them in a seniors’ apartment building lobby.

  30. Laney4

    Love a book’s smell! (It takes me to a quieter, simpler, easier time….)

  31. holdenj

    I just tried a new audiobook this summer from a friend. I wish my commute was longer, I found that if I listened in the car, my mind wandered at stoplights. Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. Laney4

    Not in a car long enough to listen to romance audio books, but I CAN follow non-fiction books (because it doesn’t matter where you leave off).