Audio Books

Young tattooed woman listening to music on headphones


by Raymond M. Coulombe

For me, audio books are a strange animal. Is it even a true book?

Unlike a movie, it’s the complete book as the author wrote it. Movies adapt and change due to the requirements of the media. A word for word adaptation would not make any sense at all. The movie would be too long and pretty weird. A good film maker can show something in twenty seconds that would take pages of exposition to explain.

We read books to our children when they are little. If someone is injured or infirm, we may do that too. Lovers also read to each other. If you’ve never done that, perhaps you should. Trust me, it’s worth it, but I digress.

So is an audio book basically the same as having someone read to us? You would think so, but it’s not quite the same. When someone is reading out loud to a person, they tailor the presentation to their audience. The audience provides feedback to the reader. It’s an active process.

A professional recording is usually really good. There are some amazing readers out there. It’s not an easy thing to do well. However, it’s a generic presentation to an unknown public. While we have all the advantages of a good professional recording, we lack the live feedback. It’s the difference between a recording of your favorite band and seeing them live.

Personally, I don’t listen to many audio books. I’m a really fast reader so audio formats seem long and drawn out. There is one exception when I absolutely love to listen to audio books. That’s on a long drive. For some reason the story keeps me awake better than just about anything else. The miles just fly by as the audio plays.

My guess is that most people listen to audio books while engaged in something else. Perhaps, like me, they go on long drives. Maybe they like to listen to a book while walking, doing housework, or engaging in other actvities.

I am curious how many people just sit down and do nothing but listen. There must be some out there.

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1 Comment

  1. I am an audiobook listener. I have a long commute, and that’s the only way I can get any reading done with everything else going on. Some are definitely better than others. I can’t just sit and listen to one, though. If I had time to do that, I’d pick up a real book. 🙂

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