A couple weeks ago I did a discussion post on what everyone listens to while they’re reading, but a couple people mentioned audiobooks, and the whole thing got me thinking about *why* it is that I’m able to multitask with music in the background when so many others aren’t and if it has anything to do with my inability to listen to audiobooks.
So… I made a post about it :-) And now we shall all discuss why we like or dislike audiobooks!
*Psst! This is 2021 me here to say this post is from 2016, and you’re welcome to keep reading it, but you might also enjoy my updated thoughts on why I like audiobooks now!*
I do not listen to audiobooks. I have tried. And I might be willing to try again, especially since Hoopla and Overdrive carry certain books I want only in audiobook format. But I just can’t do it, for various reasons. And those reasons are:
1) My mind drifts. As you may already know from my discussion about listening to music while I read, I’m able to have music on even while I’m doing cognitive things because I usually have no trouble zoning out audio to the background. In fact, my mind does it automatically most of the time, through no effort of my own. If I’m engaged in a conversation, that’s one thing. But if the sound is not something I’m actively participating in, my own thoughts just overtake it. Even if I’m only doing something with my hands, not anything that requires thinking, my mind will wander and before I know it I’ll have spent 30 minutes in lala land and missed three whole chapters. In order to listen to an audiobook, I literally have to sit there doing nothing but listening and intently focusing… and that’s both a waste of time and not fun.
2) In a similar vein, I don’t process information very well in audio format. I’m a visual learner. Maybe also a kinesthetic learner, if we’re going that deep. But either way, I’m just not an auditory learner. That’s why I always hated required attendance in lecture classes and usually spent the whole time sitting in the back reading from the textbook or doing homework for other classes. If I had sat there listening, I would’ve only wasted an hour because I would’ve grasped none of it and would’ve had to read the textbook anyway. The same applies to books. I can’t grasp the information or form the images in my head nearly as vividly.
3) They take too much time. I suppose if I had thought of audiobooks a few years ago when I spent 8 hours driving every other weekend or when I commuted an hour each way to school, I wouldn’t have this complaint. But now I don’t have a whole lot of time that I’m just free to listen while doing something else. And the slowness of the reading compared to the speed when I read in my head bothers me.
4) I can’t control the pacing. This is similar to #3 but not quite the same. Sometimes I may want to read faster, like in a fight scene. Other times I may want to read slower and savor something. Other times I may want to go back and re-read a line or a paragraph. Can’t do that with audiobooks (at least not easily).
5) I can’t save quotes. I’m a chronic quote-saver. My ebooks are full of highlights. My paperbacks have a million little pieces of paper in them to mark pages. But that’s another thing I can’t do with audiobooks.
So there you have it. The myriad of reasons why audiobooks are just not for me. But now I want to hear from all of you!