Audiobooks – my experience

27 Mar

As i mentioned in January, i wanted to explore the world of audiobooks.

The first attempt was with How We Decide and it proved to be a disaster. I did most of the listening during my walks as i wanted to minimise the distractions i.e. no multitasking. In spite of this, my mind kept drifting away. It could be that the subject matter was not suitable for audiobooks as it does have some technical information and tests/experiments and so t i often found myself thinking of other things. But i never rewound the audiobook to listen to those parts again. I found it inconvenient to do so. So it was pretty much a fail.

However, that was not the end of the audiobooks experience. A friend of mine, let’s call him Loud O, recommended that i listened to the audiobook while actually reading the book. So i did.

I did it with The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. It was much, much better but not perfect as i did have some problems with the experience..

The first is that i had to consciously try to synchronise my reading with the narration. Sometimes i was ahead while less often behind. And if i wanted to highlight a passage or re-read it i had to pause the audiobook. Too fiddly and distracting, making me over think of how i was reading instead of what i was reading. I imagine it is something that might improve over time but i believe this will always be an issue to some extent.

Another drawback was the narrator. Although i thought he was very good, at a certain point in the book his tone changed. I don’t know if he did that part of the narration at a different time than the previous passages but it was noticeable. My mind kept thinking about the change constantly for the next 20-25 pages once again ruining the immersion.

The third drawback is of course, the cost. The audiobook cost me US$13.45 and the ebook US$12.40 i.e.US$27.75. This is simply too high a cost for reading and listening to books. Certainly not worth doing for more than a few times a year.

I am not done with audiobooks yet. I will do a few more audiobooks the regular way and also a couple more the Loud O way in the future.

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Books


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