The idea of listening to a book has never appealed to me even when a few friends suggested audiobooks as an alternative way of consuming books.
I’ve always wondered whether the people who listen to audiobooks are people who used to read books and then switched (fully or partially) or whether these are people who previously did most of their reading through audiobooks or even did not read at all before audiobooks.
Personally, the act of reading is something i treasure. I love its simplicity and its demand for concentration. It requires the attention of your eyes and hands and it’s a completely personal experience whether you are sitting at a coffeeshop, lying on a public beach or your living room couch.
But is it inefficient?
Audiobooks have some obivious advantages, the first of which is the time investment required to do it. The second (and related to the first one) is that it allows one to multitask such as exercise, drive, do some gardening or even cook while listening to the audiobook. As long as the other task is repetitive enough and requires limited thinking, concentration on the audiobook is possibly not a problem. I know that from listening to podcasts and i imagine it’s similar with audiobooks.
Frankly, in spite of these advantages, i can’t see myself reading books in this way. Even if it means reading twice or three times as many books within the same time period.
A significant part of the pleasure comes along with the inefficiencies of reading. It’s a package.
However i will give audiobooks a chance, for a specific purpose.
There are always lots of books i want to re-read but rarely manage to do so. I’ve chosen a non-fiction book for this test because i can’t see myself being immersed in a fictional world and story while listening to someone narrating other than my own inner voice. Especially a world i have already imagined and fantasized about.
Let’s see how this goes.
The audiobook is How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer which i first read a couple of years ago.