Today, I discovered the blog The Bookmark Chronicles, run by Rae. On Mondays, Rae posts a ‘This or That?’ challenge, wherein the point is to choose between two scenarios. I think this is a pretty cool weekly post to debate over, so I’m going to get involved! Go check out Rae’s post for this week here.
This week, the topic is…
#27 – Do you listen to audiobooks? Yes or no?
I’m in two minds about audiobooks. I’ve only ever listened to two (and a half) audiobooks, and had a very good experience listening to both. My first experience with audiobooks was when I used my Audible free trial to listen to ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor, as I was desperate to read it and couldn’t get access to a print copy within my budget. I was truly hooked by it. The narrator read the book in a captivating manner, putting on accents for characters who required them and managing to portray the lyricism of Taylor’s writing perfectly. I then went on to read the book in print form and found that I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed listening to it. My second full audiobook experience came after I had read the physical book, and that was YouTubers Dan Howell and Phil Lester (aka Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil) with their ‘The Amazing Book is Not on Fire.’ I really enjoy watching these two’s videos, and decided to listen to the audiobook (once again with an Audible free trial on a different account) because the pair of them were narrating it, and I wanted to see if having the writers narrate their own work made it more entertaining. It certainly did, and in the case of this autobiography-style book, I actually preferred hearing Dan and Phil read it. The half-listen was the time I listened to part of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ at my friend’s house. While I grew up reading them, my friend grew up listening to the audiobooks, and I wanted to experience that. Brilliantly narrated by the fantastic Stephen Fry, I enjoyed listening to this one, although of course I am glad I read it first. Part of the enjoyment, as all three of these experiences prove, is reliant on the narrator. I have not listened to an audiobook where the narrator was not either a popular figure whose voice I would listen to anyway on TV or YouTube (Stephen Fry, Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil) or able to do something interesting to keep the listener hooked, such as the ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ narrator with her accents. If the narrator is poor, or even just boring or perfectly normal, I’m assuming audiobooks are nowhere near as fun or charming to listen to.
Right now, though, I have no desire to listen to audiobooks. First of all, they are very expensive. Second of all, it takes much longer to listen to someone read the book aloud than to read it myself. Third of all, every time I have found enjoyment in an audiobook, I have either already read the book or went on to read it right afterwards. If I were to solely listen to the audiobook, I doubt I would get the same enjoyment from it – even though I had already listened to it, I only really counted having read ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ after I had read the physical copy. Listening alone is less memorable and less fulfilling than reading the book, and it begs the question: in most cases, if I am going to enjoy reading the book more than listening to it, and if reading it is quicker and cheaper, why would I bother listening to it? It is for this reason that I do not listen to audiobooks.