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Why you should be a fan of Audiobooks

Ellen Gregory is visiting today. She loves audiobooks and wants you to know why. Welcome Ellen!

Three reasons why audiobooks are awesome

The rise of the e-book over the past few years has sparked some fun discussions about the various merits of ‘tree’ versus ‘e’… But there’s a third format that doesn’t seem to get all that much airtime – the audiobook. I constantly hear people say how they need to ‘read’ a book, and can’t absorb the words or the story when they are forced to listen. While I daresay this is true for some people – we’re all wired differently after all – I’m willing to bet a large number have never actually tried listening to an audiobook. I’m here to tell you they’re awesome!

Here are three reasons why:

1. Audiobooks are essentially a performance and provide interpretation.
Some books, no matter how wonderful, are hard work to read. Listening to an audiobook read by a talented actor, who injects pauses and emphasis into the narrative, not to mention different accents etc for the dialogue of the various characters, brings a wealth of meaning and comprehension to many a novel – or indeed non-fiction.

I’ve listened to audiobooks of Possession (by A.S. Byatt), Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf), and The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), where the nuanced reading greatly added to my enjoyment of the words and the story. In the case of comedy, a great reader adds to the humor! To this day, one of my favorites is Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (Helen Fielding), and it’s probably at least half because of the fabulous reader.

2. Audiobooks allow multi-tasking.
Just think: now you can ‘read’ during your long commute to work, or while you’re working out… or cooking… or gardening… Audiobooks allow you to make use of all the dead time. I actually find myself smiling when I’m stuck in peak-hour traffic, because it means I get to listen to my book for a few minutes longer.

In fact, it was an audiobook that got me into the habit of walking to work on a regular basis, despite having to get out of bed half an hour earlier. I leapt out of bed, because as soon as I started walking, I’d get lost in a fabulous novel.

3. Audiobooks keep you an honest reader.
Not everyone skips about in books to see what happens out of sequence (and at the end), but I confess I do have a bad habit of doing this. But I can’t with an audiobook! (Unless I also have a written version.) There’s no skipping over any ‘boring’ scenes either. It’s all presented to you, word for beautiful word, just as the author intended for you to read it. I like knowing that I’ve experienced a book in its purest form.

Have I convinced you to try out audiobooks? If you’re already a fan, what are the reasons you like them?

Thanks Ellen! I can see why audiobooks have a place in my library.
Visit Ellen's blog--here.


  1. I listen to audiobooks a lot to rest my eyes after a day at the computer, when I travel, when I'm waiting in a doctor's office. My iPod has made it easy to carry them with me. The right voices can add so much to the enjoyment of "reading."

    1. Anonymous7:39 PM

      Once you get into one, it's hard to stop listening isn't it! When I have mine in the car though, it stays in the car because I play it through a USB.

  2. I can't listen in the car because 1) it either lulls me to sleep or 2) I become so engrossed I forget to watch my driving. My husband is an avid fan of them, though. I should try it, though, for cooking and such.

    1. Anonymous7:40 PM

      I'm the opposite - when a tricky traffic bit comes up I lose track of the story and I have to rewind a bit...

  3. Anonymous4:25 PM

    I LOVE listening to audio books and always have one in my car for my work commute. Right now, I am listening to Libba Bray's "Beauty Queens". The author is reading it (I so love it when they do that!) and it greatly adds to the experience of the book. She has been doing all the different voices of her characters as she probably heard them in her head when writing it and it's cracking me up. I also listen to audio books when doing any baking. For some reason, the two go together quite nicely in my kitchen.

    1. I don't mind the author reading, so long as they're a good reader. And I definitely agree that they're great when baking!

  4. I love audio books -- partly because some days it feels like I live in my car. My children and I have listened to many great books this way.

  5. I absolutely adore audiobooks. I got hooked on them when I used to commute 2 hours each way in California. Fortunately, I had a library card to the Newport Beach public library and at the time they had tons and tons of unabridged audiobooks. I blew through them at an astounding rate. Now, I still listen in the car (but since I work at home it takes longer to finish), also when I'm cleaning, working in the yard, etc.

    I get a sensory memory, too. I remember I was mowing my yard during the Chocolate Pie reveal in The Help. I was riding the exercise bike during I Am Legend. I'm listening now to Atlas Shrugged, which is awesome.

    Great post!

    1. I know exactly what you mean about the sensory memory! I used to listen to audiobooks when walking to work, and specific scenes tend to come back to me when I walk past a particular section...

      And, yes, libraries are the best source, coz they're very expensive to buy.

  6. Audiobooks have helped me to get more housework done. I can't get the laundry folded or the dishes washed with a book in my hand. Also love them in the car for long drives.

  7. Anonymous2:59 AM

    Wonderful post, looks like I might have to indulge in an ipod, I already read a lot, but while folding washing, that sounds wonderful, not when I'm hanging it out though, that's my important work through creative things epiphany time, but folding ugh, hate it.

  8. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I listen to audio books every day, while driving and power walking. It is awesome, I do not know how I would live without this (since I am very introverted and really enjoy the conversation in my ear buds when doing repetitive tasks).