The audiobooks vs reading debate

On our saddest and happiest of days, books serve as great companions. The art of storytelling and its compilation in different forms has existed since times immemorial. From Theban Plays, ballads, epics to novels and short stories, the realm of reading encompasses all. However, like every other aspect of our lives, technology seems to have revolutionised our reading habits too. At first, the term reading catered to the act of absorbing or enjoying a work of literature from a physical book. But nowadays, other options such as e-books and Audiobooks are also available. Therefore, the question begs, are other forms of familiarising your self with a book as effective as reading or not? Today we at Daastan are hoping to settle for you the Audiobooks vs the reading debate.

The reason behind animosity for Audiobooks

Those in favour of audiobooks desperately want to pinpoint the moment in history where a conventional reader said that “audiobooks are lesser than reading”. Since that unnamed moment, readers seem to have a grudge against them. Conventional readers claim that audiobooks destroy the purpose of reading. For reading is a personal experience between a person and a book, as he flips through the book taking in the scent of its crisp pages and tasting every word written on a page at the tip of their tongue.

Illustration by Grace Easton

But before giving a final verdict let us hear from the defendant (audiobooks) as to why they should not be considered less than reading.

Let’s talk about the Pros and Cons of Audiobooks

Audiobooks like any other medium have pros as well as cons. The question arises “do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa?” To explore that we are going to enlist for you some of the wonders and shortcomings of listening to books , leaving up to you to decide whether audiobooks are really worth the hype.

via pinterest

Pros of Audiobooks

  • You can listen to them anytime at any place.
  • You can multitask while listening to audiobooks; a luxury that reading does not provide.
  • Gentle to the eyes! This is such a huge advantage that audiobooks have over reading. They do not give you headaches as prolonged reading does.
  • Audiobooks bring life to the characters of a story.
  • Finally, they are not only a great way to enhance your pronunciation but also teach you the musical qualities of a language.

You can find a great variety of audiobooks on Scribd, Youtube and even Soundcloud.

Cons of Audiobooks

  • It’s possible that you’ll get the wrong tone for the narrator’s voice.
  • They are not easy to comprehend for beginners.
  • You will miss out on the illustrations and collectors editions if you only have an audiobook library.
  • Last but not least, the aroma of old or new book papers!

via @wonderlandbookcorner on Instagram

Nostalgia and Reading

The audiobooks vs the reading debate is never ending. However, after shedding light on the benefits of audiobooks, let us revisit an old love for a while i.e. reading. Despite the convenience brought by audiobooks, some people enjoy the good old way of reading directly from a physical book. The journalist William Giralidi expresses the joy of reading from physical books in the following words.

“For many of us, our book collections are, in at least one major way, tantamount to our children — they are manifestations of our identity, embodiments of our selfhood; they are a dynamic interior heftily externalized, a sensibility, a worldview defined and objectified. For readers, what they read is where they’ve been, and their collections are evidence of the trek.” — W.G (Story Terrace) 

Illustration by Grace Easton

Which one is better?

Undoubtedly both forms are different ways to approach a piece of literature. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to debate which one is better. For people all around the world have different preferences when it comes to learning. Studies show that around 65% people are visual learners whereas, the remaining 30-35% are better at grasping concepts through auditory and tactile aid. While the statistics favour reading, audiobooks still offer a suitable alternative many other reasons as we shared with you above. Hence, we learn from this debate that different people enjoy different mediums when it comes to reading. And, that is completely okay. The purpose of books is to offer solace to a person and it’s up-to that person how to navigate through that experience.

Let us know which one do you preferred; audiobooks or paperback? For more literary goodness, stay tuned!

Noor Hashmi
Noor Hashmi is a student of literature at Numl University. She is an aspiring poetess. She runs a blog by the name of “Diaries of Huda” sharing her journey through poetry. In her free time, she loves to paint and bake.

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