I’ve been listening to audio-books on and off, for about five years.I started in high school, while driving my sister and me to school. We listened to Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells Series and Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone Series on our 20 minutes treks, to and from school. It was a nice way to bond over books and pass the time. But I never really thought about audio-books or whether they were better than regular books. I would just buy the physical copy of a book and take the audio out from the library.
Through out college, during the semesters I commuted, I would listen to romance novels on audio-books. The most notable were books from Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars Series and Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven. During this time, I realized the impact of the narrator’s voice and diction on my enjoyment of the story. While I had really liked Just Like Heaven when I first read the book, the narrator’s voice was grating and piercing at times. As much as I liked the story, and to be honest, I’m a huge fan of Julia Quinn, I found myself wishing the audio-book would end faster, just because I couldn’t stand the narrator’s voice.
Now that I’ve graduated college and moved on to my first adult job (scary, right? I’m still in denial. The real world is terrifying), I have a decent commute to work. I’m in the car for about 90 minutes each day. I’ve noticed that on average, audio-books are about 8 hours long. Unless you’re listening to War and Peace. I’m sure that’s easily 24 hours long. Never-mind, I just googled it. According to Amazon, an audio-book of War and Peace is 61 hours and 8 minutes long. Damn, that’s a long time. So far, most of the romance audio-books I’ve listened to are about 8 hours, which usually takes me about 5 days to finish. Look, see, I can do math. Nice to know my college degree and massive amounts of student loans are good for something.
Anyway, I find myself listening to audio-books pretty regularly. I started out listening to books I read already, albeit a long time ago. This is because I’m cheap (see aforementioned student loans) so I just take out audio-books from the library. (Resisting the urge to go on a tangent about how much I freaking love the library). I discovered audio-books are a nice way to revisit old characters and books that I knew I enjoyed but haven’t felt a burning desire to reread. The issue with audio-books is when I listen to new books. Then I find myself volunteering to drive places or forcing my passengers to listen to my audio-books with me. But really, how can they not appreciate having to listen to Bet Me. It’s a gem! Seriously, who doesn’t laugh at Bet Me??
I have no self-control when it comes to romance novels and when I get caught up in a story, I binge-read. Binge-reading is hard to do for audio-books though. I’m partly afraid that one day I’m going to run out of gas because I sat in a parking lot listening to an audio-book….
My final verdict for audio-book vs books is I will always buy the physical book over the audio. While audio-books are great, especially for commutes, it’s probably better to not listen to new books on audio. Or at least new romance novels. I could probably listen to a new historical non-fiction book on audio and not want to waste my gas waiting to discover if Henry VIII executes Anne Boleyn or not. (Spoiler Alert: He does.)