‘I simply don’t have time for books anymore’ many of us would probably say when asked about book recommendations. Even bookworms would agree that reading a book is a truly challenging task, which rarely fits into people’s busy schedules these days. However, it is a fact that reading plays a pivotal role into the process of education. Just think about it, we listen to stories being read by our parents since the day we are born, and then learn how to read in school. Basically, books are essential in the process of intellectually growing and learning.
Since the start of the Internet era and the rapid development of technology, more and more people are now turning to the conventional books’ alternative – audiobooks. People love listening to them, and that is the main reason why the industry of audiobooks is rapidly growing. True book lovers have different opinions on the benefits when compared to the traditional reading of books. But one thing is certain. There are many benefits of audiobooks which is why they are super convenient for many situations. Let’s find out why they have gained so much popularity in the last two decades!
Audiobooks and podcasts seem to be two of the most popular forms of audio entertainment nowadays. And this shouldn’t be a surprise; both are readily available on any computer or smartphone and you can listen to them anytime, anywhere. However, some of you might not be familiar with what these terms refer to precisely. This is the time to distinguish between them.
This term refers to a professional audio recording of an existing text, which is usually a book. The most important thing that makes audiobooks different from podcasts is that their content almost always exists in another non-audio format. This means that they provide an alternate way to ‘consume’ the same content.
An episodic series of audio content, run by one or several hosts is called a podcast. This form of audio entertainment is offered in a variety of formats. They can be anything from quick news to long table discussions and more. What is typical for podcasts, is that they are released as shows on a regular schedule. So, unlike audiobooks, podcasts are episodic and they don’t represent a single product.
If you are trying to make the call between listening to podcasts or audiobooks, the solution is simple. Try both, and decide depending on how they fit in your everyday schedule.
Podcasts are usually shorter than audiobooks, which generally makes them easier to ‘commit’ to. Even though their length can vary, they frequently last between 30 to 60 minutes. This makes them ideal for your everyday commute to work or a workout at the gym.
Audiobooks, on the other hand, are quite different. A conventional book can run to more than 15 hours in its audiobook form, if listened to in full. The great thing about audiobooks is that they allow you to ‘read’ books that you wouldn’t have read otherwise. Besides, you can do this while performing other tasks, such as cooking or driving.
As we already mentioned, time has become a truly rare commodity for people who are always on the move. Many people opt for the audio alternative of books simply because they avoid investing in something that would be just stored on a bookshelf at home and probably never touched due to lack of time. An audiobook can be completed within a limited time, and the reader doesn’t usually feel bored while listening to it. Plus, you can listen to it basically anywhere!
They are very practical for students, too, especially those who go away for their studies. Their dorm rooms are often not spacious, and sometimes safe enough, to take their book collection. Audiobooks are amazing to consume on your way to work, or even if your work space is the car! Just make sure to take headphones on the train or connect your phone to the car. And there you have it – listening to your favourite book, often narrated by the author or a famous actor!
Many would argue that audiobooks are ‘butchering’ the time-honoured literature in terms of proper pronunciation. But, let’s think about this. Even though you can’t really feel the smell of the pages of an old book, or enjoy reading it in your own voice, this doesn’t mean that audiobooks should be underestimated. In fact, they contain all the flavours of printed books, and sometimes even have a few additional benefits. They are a great source of vocabulary for international students, especially beginners and those who want to become essay writers. Besides, they are very helpful for students who may feel intimidated in class due to the fact that they are foreigners. So, if someone asks whether students should have access to audiobooks in the classroom, the answer is definitely yes!
We’ve all been there, sharing the reluctance of learning as teenagers because we simply found it as a boring activity. Well thanks to technology, our children and people in general have been offered a fun new method to learn. If you listen to audiobooks with as much focus as you put into reading any other book, you will be able to remember the same amount of content, and thus gain the same amount of knowledge. Bonus points for ‘absorbing’ the emotional tone of the content due to its audio execution. Some people, especially children, find it easier to remember and retell the content once they remember the voice of the audio. So, when trying to weigh in the effectiveness of audiobooks in the process of learning, yes, books help us in the same way as their paper counterparts.
Let’s all agree that the process of gaining knowledge itself gives us great joy. This doesn’t only refer to learning through audiobooks, it can be through watching videos, browsing the internet, or reading conventional books or magazines. What matters the most is that unconscious feeling of reward and satisfaction our mind feels when we acquire new information. Many prefer audiobooks and watching videos over the paper-back books because of the visual and auditory elements. Just think about the clarity and the accent on emotions that can only come with listening and watching, rather than reading.
People who prefer conventional books would very often argue that listening to books is much less authentic and doesn’t require any effort. But this is not entirely true, as the act of active and focused listening for some requires a lot of effort. In fact, nowadays active listening is a vital skill which very frequently seems to be absent in many business personnel. This is why both teachers and parents should encourage and help students develop the skill of listening. The result is an adult with an acquired skill of focusing on others’ conversations even after their academic life.
Even though we are not required to move our eyes from word to word while reading, we have to make sure that our ear is highly engaged in the process of listening. Then, our ears should transfer the information to the relevant brain parts. This is also an engaging process, since we choose which information will be passed to the brain to comprehend. This requires quite an effort, right?
We can’t deny the perks of technology, and since the appearance of audiobooks in our lives, we can cut down on the ‘reading time’ when we are in a rush. This doesn’t mean that we should stop reading paper-back books. We should rather incorporate ‘reading more’ in our busy daily schedules in the form of listening to their audio counterparts. Adding the habit of listening to audiobooks can save us a lot of time, because it can be done while jogging, exercising in the gym, or travelling. These books easily fit into anyone’s day without the feeling of having to reach a bookshelf to grab a book.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Audible, an Amazon company that sells popular audiobooks and produces original titles. The mobile app is very simple and practical to use, and you can even swap books! If you’ve purchased an audiobook, but then realized that it isn’t for you, you have the option to return it and receive your credit back.
Even though the experience of reading a good book can’t be replaced, the invention of its audio alternative has been an immensely practical and very helpful thing in the modern era. Especially if you are a person who hardly has the time to sit down and ‘squeeze in’ a book before bed, audiobooks allow you to multitask and turn every run, train or car ride as an opportunity to ‘read’. We simply can’t stay indifferent to the benefits of audiobooks; they are convenient, affordable, educational and very entertaining. Audiobooks could improve our listening skill, the way we learn and the literacy of young readers and foreign students. So, if you are constantly ‘on the go’, incorporating audiobooks into your daily schedule will certainly change your life in a positive way!