Audiobooks: The Pros and Cons

Hi, guys! Happy weekend.

It’s been a while since I’ve thought up anything to write about for this segment. Back in January, I wrote about how I was thinking about trying audiobooks and bookish podcasts. Well, I’m here to tell you that I did try both of these. In fact, it quickly became the best part about my job. I did listen to the So Many Damn Books podcast for a while, but then Goodreads kept throwing my stupid reading challenge in my face with “You’re 15 books behind schedule, Alyssa” and “What the hell are you doing with your life, Alyssa” and “Why do you spend endless hours scrolling through your phone instead of reading a damn book, Alyssa.”

Okay, not really. Goodreads isn’t that mean to me. But I did fall behind pretty quickly. My goal for this year is only a measly 50. If I can’t even reach that goal, I don’t even know who I am anymore… So I thought, you know what, let’s give audiobooks a try. So I did. Unfortunately, I got off to a rocky start with ZOM-B by Darren Shan. Absolutely horrible. Please don’t make this same mistake.

My reading selections did go up from there, though. When choosing what to listen to, I decided to start at the waaaaaaaaaaay back of my TBR. Yep, all those weird books I don’t remember adding when I was 17 years old. I decided against series because I’d rather actually read those—don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. I also reevaluated each book and asked myself, “Do I really want to read this?” If no, I deleted it off my TBR. If yes, I loaned it from the Ohio Digital Library. And there you have it: Alyssa’s Super Interesting Audiobook Selection Process. Feel enlightened yet?

So far, I’ve listened to a total of 7 audiobooks, which makes me really proud because I always swore never to listen to one. But I’m making progress! And being 7 (almost 8) audiobooks deep, I can now create this totally legitimate post about the pros and cons of listening to audiobooks.

Con: I listened to it, I didn’t read it

This is my own personal fault. I can’t bring myself to say I’ve read the book… I have to say I’ve listened to it. I know I sound elitist and I hate it. But I can’t get over the literal meaning of “read.” I know! I know. You don’t need to leave comments explaining why I’m being ridiculous because I know I’m being ridiculous. It’s just my personal flaw. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pro: You can listen to it ANYWHERE

At work, on the commute to work, in the bath, while you’re cooking or cleaning, while walking your dog, etc. Literally anywhere. And I think that’s magical. You don’t even need a light on! For me, it’s a lifesaver at work. And it is great for long car rides, too, because I get headaches while reading in a car. I love the versatility of it.

Con: Wait…what?

If you space out, you’re fucked… I am constantly spacing out for like, 3 seconds and losing my place and have to do that annoying ‘rewind then fast-forward then shit I went too far then fuck I’m somehow back at the first chapter?’ thing. And I hate it. Everybody does it while legitimately reading, too: you read a paragraph but somehow didn’t actually read it. But it’s a quick fix—you just reread the paragraph. With audiobooks, I am terrible at getting back to where I need to be. I don’t know why. I just kind of mess it up entirely.

Pro: Tackling that ever-growing TBR

Audiobooks are a great way to super boost your TBR and help meet your Goodreads goal (and yes, I do count it towards my goal and having “read” it, but I will clarify to someone that I listened to it and I will not count the pages being “read”). I find it hard to bounce back and forth between reading multiple books; however, it’s a lot easier to have a work book (my audiobook) and a home book (my actual book). Yes, I am still 12 books behind schedule (thanks, Goodreads…), BUT I am 7 books closer to my goal thanks to audiobooks. You spend 40 hours a week at work—why not listen to a book while there?

Con: You miss some stuff

In my experience, you miss little details because you’re listening to it, not reading it word-for-word. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the spacing out thing. If I realize I’ve missed a really important thing, I will spend the annoying time trying to find my place. Sometimes, though, if it’s just a couple words, or maybe like one half of a conversation, I will just let it go, because trying to find my place isn’t worth it. And then I feel guilty. But I’ve just come to accept that I’m probably missing a lot of things when I listen to a book as opposed to reading it.

Pro: I don’t really want to buy this book

I don’t want to buy it, so instead, I’ll just listen to it! Audiobooks allow you to read those books you kind of want to read but would never actually buy and keep on your shelves. Libraries accomplish this with physical books, too, but if you have more listening time than reading time, audiobooks are a plus. I know a lot of the books I’ve been listening to are books I added to my TBR years ago and are books I’d probably rather delete off my TBR than buy.

Con: MY QUOTES!!!! 😭

You can’t underline quotes when there’s no physical book/e-book 😞 God bless Goodreads and their most popular quotes section. But still, it’s not the same as marking all of my favorites for myself…

Pro: 8 hours and counting

You know exactly how long until you finish an audiobook. It literally tells you how many hours you have left, and you can speed it up by increasing the narrator’s reading speed! E-readers allow you to track how long you have left in the book, too, but it’s dependent upon your reading speed, which varies in certain situations, so it’s nice to have that exact time with audiobooks. It shouldn’t be something I care about, but I do.

Con: When the narrator ruins it

Biggest con about audiobooks: you can’t read it in your own voice. You have to listen to a random person read it to you. I prefer when authors read their own works. Neil Gaiman reading his own work is probably one of my favorite things of all time. But most audiobooks are read by random people. And let me tell you…that can easily make or break a book. For me, at least.

Pro: I’m not depressed, I’m just reading

This one may sound silly, but…you can stare at a wall for 6 hours without someone asking if you’re ok because you can be like, no, I’m not depressed, I’m just listening to an audiobook and have nowhere else to look.

Con: Missing the aesthetic

I am a bookstagrammer. Without the book, there’s no photo. And without the photo, there’s just a blog post. Goodbye, photoshoot…

Another con because I ran out of pros: It’s just not the same

Listening to an audiobook just doesn’t bring the same mood/feeling as reading a physical book. This goes for e-books as well, but even more so with audiobooks because you’re listening, not literally reading. Nothing will ever beat holding a paperback in your hands and reading the written word. Nothing.

Final tally
Pros: 5
Cons: 7

I do have more cons than pros with listening to audiobooks. But that doesn’t mean I won’t listen to them. That just means I prefer reading an actual book. And that’s okay! I’m proud of myself for trying audiobooks, and I’m happy I enjoy them enough to stick with them, if only to get my through the workday.

Let me know in the comments what you guys think about audiobooks! I’d love to hear your thoughts and any additions you may have to my pros and cons list ❤❤

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