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Audio Or Traditional Books – The Judgment

Written by Adrian

According to researchers, in the United States, audio book sales last year grew 16% and produced revenue of $1.2 billion, compared to just $940 million in 2018 and a 25% rise compared to 2017 (Source). The entire audio books publishing industry not only makes more revenue, but consumers also have more choices. However, some people may keep wondering, is listening to a book really the same as reading one?

In order to make the final judgement, we can make a simple comparison in terms of multi-tasking, emotional response, memorizing the books, and most importantly, price.

  1. Multitasking:

You can totally do something else while listening! Whether it is homework, your work day at the office or your daily travel, whether it is driving or using public transportation, audiobooks work.  When I do multitasking, I think audio books work better if you do not need to pay too much attention. I listen to audiobooks all the time while I’m driving, on the train and also when I do household chores like the dishes and laundry. On the other hand, stuff like driving or doing the dishes already take up too much of your attention to hold a book.

  1. Emotional response:

To me, it’s a more social experience to hear the vocals that come from another human being than read by myself. Also, some of the book-readers can be celebrities such as singers, actors, and also the authors. What is more interesting than having your favorite celebrity read a book for you, right? However, physically reading a book can be a more personal experience because your inner voice is responsible for creating everything that’s not on the page. The pros and cons of both types are yet to be undecided, but one thing for sure is that if J.K.Rowling is the vocalist for her own Harry Potter series’ audiobooks, I will not hesitate to choose listening rather than reading! Why? Imagine you are in love with Hermione at first sight like me, and then when you watch the movie edition, which is 2 years later, you realize that you had been pronouncing your favorite character’s name wrong the whole time!

  1. Ability to memorize details:

When it comes to this aspect, my preference has to be the traditional reading. Let’s take a quick example. As a student, research is the main thing I do everyday. Holding a book or physical reading material makes me feel more comfortable in taking notes to better memorize the key ideas. Taking notes on e-books is difficult enough, let alone listening to it and taking notes. I feel that when you pay more attention to the words on the pages, it will eventually be easier to memorize.

  1. Price: 

This factor is usually the most deciding one in many cases. All of us know that ebooks are cheaper than printed ones. Users expect audiobooks to work the same way. Audiobooks are also books in a digital format, so there is no cost of printing, right? Unfortunately, that is not how it works. It is narration which makes the cost. The storyteller needs to be paid, plus the expense to record and edit sound. An audio book version typically costs $20 to $30. This is double the cost of a paperback edition or Kindle version, which in some cases, is not worth the price.

All in all, after making a brief comparison between the two types of books, it comes down to your own purpose to decide which type suits you the most. If you intend to do something for leisure, then audiobook it is. But if the main goal of you is to get as much knowledge as possible, such as researching and studying, the best method is to “stick with the basics”. Which one would you prefer? Let TEDxTIU know by sharing your favorite ways in the comment section! 

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