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Reading a Book Vs. Listening to Audiobook: Which is Better?

A love of reading shouldn’t have parameters as to what type of reading actually counts. Reading a physical Book and listening to the audiobooks are two different paths leading to same destination. However, the experiences from both differ, which is why there is a long-haul debate still surrounding which is better- reading a book or listening to audiobook. 

Personally, I have found immensely rewarding common ground in my reading life with reading a book in traditional way as well as with the audiobooks. It is more fun to love both ways of reading.
In this post, I’ll discuss the debate on which is better: reading a book versus listening to audiobooks. I really hope we can transit from the long debate and end up sitting in a comfy chair where your headphones sit along with books and everyone loves each other.
Reading a Book Vs. Audiobook 

1) Comprehension 

As both the methods differ so they create different experiences and memories in readers and listeners. However, neither is better or worse than the other. This is because different people have different choices and perspectives which is why some enjoy listening to audiobooks while others may still prefer the same old way of reading a book. There has been a fair amount of research on the subject of comprehension in reading a book versus audiobooks.  

When you read something, you are looking at symbols on the page and your brain is busy filling in all the blanks such as the scene, the sounds of the voices, the plot, the deeper meaning, the inflection, etc. Whereas in case of audiobooks, you are much likely to do a better job of trying to extract the gist of what someone meant when you are hearing them than when you are reading. This is because we can’t go back and reread something while listening to audiobooks.  

Audiobooks can be great for kids. Why? Don’t you remember we all start out by listening to stories that are read to us by our parents, teachers, librarians, etc. So, there’s no need to judge those who prefer audiobooks over the traditional books because as with reading that enhances our word-recognition ability, listening alone can expand our vocabulary as well. 

2) Emotional Response 

I’ve already mentioned in my previous post about how doctors recommend physically reading a book because that can bring a more personal experience. This is because your inner voice is responsible to create everything which is not on the page from only the words on the page. Most of us who love reading the books physically can’t even envision the story without our inner voice creating the imaginary world inside our heads. 

Listening to audiobooks can sometimes elicit a more emotional response to the content especially in case of listening to comedy show with laughter. This is because it is more of a social experience as we hear the vocal nuances, sarcasm, etc. which comes from hearing another human speak. So, next time don’t fully dismiss the idea of listening to audiobooks before first trying it yourself. 

3) Sharing 

Sharing physical books is cool with a downside that your friend might not return the book burrowed from you. Yeah, I know that feeling! Sometimes, I note down the best lines from the book I read and share it with my friends.  

Now pretty much all sharing of things take place over the social media and texting apps.  You can share the short clips of audiobooks with apps like Audible to your friends and there’s no downside to it. Sharing is indeed caring. 

4) Pronunciation 

You know when you read a book and fall in love with the main character, you scour the internet for more content and find more about the author and go through their interviews. It’s then you realize that you’ve been saying the character’s name wrong in your head the whole time.  

The same thing happens with audiobooks if only you find the perfect book with the perfect narrator. Otherwise when you know and love this character’s beautiful sounding name and go to social media to see who else is gushing over it but when you see it in print for the first time, you are more likely to shrug off like who’s that? 

5) Public Versus Private 

This post first appeared on Nyasa's Book Shelf, please read the originial post: here

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Reading a Book Vs. Listening to Audiobook: Which is Better?


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