“Audiobooks can be great to explore your mind and your soul.”

Andreas Bacher, Poet

Pros and Cons of Audiobooks vs. Paperback Books

advantages and disadvantages of audiobooks vs. paperback books

You think about switching from paperback to audiobooks but are not entirely sure whether this is the right way to go for you or not?

Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of audiobooks in the following chapters!

Advantages of Audiobooks

  1. You can save lots of time on reading
  2. You can listen to audiobooks on public transport
  3. You can listen to audiobooks while driving your car
  4. Your eyes will not get tired
  5. Audio books can be quite entertaining
  6. You can listen to audiobooks and do other things at the same time
  7. Audio books are perfectly portable
  8. Audiobooks can help you study
  9. Audiobooks are often cheaper than paperback versions
  10. Huge variety of audiobooks out there
  11. You don’t have to hold a paperback book
  12. A single account may give you access to myriads of audio books
  13. Audiobooks can help you fall asleep
  14. Good for people who can’t read
  15. You know how long it will take to listen to audio books
  16. Audiobooks are more durable than paperback books
  17. You don’t need lighting for audiobooks

You can save lots of time on reading

Listening to audiobooks is usually faster than reading a book in a paperback version.

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In fact, the speed of the narrator will stay relatively constant, also over an extended period of time, while you will often get slower with reading paperback books after a while.

Consequently, listening to audiobooks can be great for you if your time is limited and you want to utilize every minute of your time as best as possible.

You can listen to audiobooks on public transport

Audiobooks are also great to listen to on public transport.

While it is often annoying to read paperback books in public transport due to the high noise level, it is pretty great to listen to audiobooks since you can just use earplugs, cut off the noise around you and listen to a nice audiobook instead of listening to the noise of other people.

You can listen to audiobooks while driving your car

Another advantage of audiobooks is that you can also listen to them in your car while you are driving.

In turn, this allows you to listen to your favorite audiobooks while you can get to work or back at the same time and you would simply not be able to do so using conventional books since you have to keep an eye on the traffic.

Your eyes will not get tired

If you read conventional paperback books for quite a long time, chances are that your eyes will get pretty tired.

However, by listening to audiobooks, you will not have the same issue.

In fact, you can listen to audiobooks for many hours and will still feel well.

Audio books can be quite entertaining

Listening to audiobooks can also be quite entertaining. In fact, audiobooks can just make your life much better since there are always new stories to explore and new narrators who will shape the market in a completely different direction.

You can listen to audiobooks and do other things at the same time

Another upside to listening to audiobooks is that it allows you to do many things at the same time.

For instance, you can listen to audiobooks while doing the dishes or washing your clothes.

Opportunities are endless in this regard and listening to audiobooks can make those annoying tasks much more enjoyable.

Audio books are perfectly portable

Using audiobooks instead of paperback versions can also make quite a lot of sense since audiobooks are perfectly portable while you have to carry paperback books around with you.

Especially if those paperback books are really big and long, you will have to stress your body by carrying them and you can avoid this issue by just switching to audiobooks since they will have no weight at all.

Audiobooks can help you study

Audiobooks are also a great medium to study.

Since you can listen to audiobooks all day long and use every minute of your time in an efficient manner, audiobooks can be great to listen to books that are related to your studies.

By doing so, you can learn in a playful manner and can become naturally good at your subject and many surrounding topics.

Audiobooks are often cheaper than paperback versions

Another benefit of audiobooks is that they are often much cheaper than paperback versions.

This is especially true if you listen to audiobooks quite a lot since the price you have to pay for each book will be lower on average.

Thus, switching from paperback to audiobooks can also make quite a lot of sense from a financial perspective, at least if you compare prices and choose an audiobook company that provides good value for money.

Huge variety of audiobooks out there

While audiobooks have been rather exotic just a few decades ago, they are now perfectly normal and widely recognized in society.

In turn, there is a huge variety of audiobooks waiting for you and chances are that you will never have the time to listen to all of them.

You will also find almost every famous book you like as an audio version and the supply of great audiobooks will therefore be almost unlimited.

You don’t have to hold a paperback book

If you read books for quite a long time, chances are that your hands will get quite tired and that you will have to take a break sooner or later.

However, if you listen to audiobooks instead, you will not have to deal with this issue and can listen to them all day without any problems.

A single account may give you access to myriads of audio books

Some audiobook companies out there also offer you access to myriads of different audio books if you just make a one-time payment per month.

This can be great for you if you want to listen to many audiobooks per month since you will not pay much for each book and it would be much cheaper compared to buying every book in a paperback version.

Audio books can help you fall asleep

Audiobooks can also be great to fall asleep.

Especially if you suffer from sleeping problems and can’t fall asleep on a regular basis, you may want to try to listen to audiobooks since they can calm you down and make falling asleep more likely, at least if you don’t listen to a horror story but rather to something calmer and more relaxed.

Good for people who can’t read

Audiobooks are also especially great for people who can’t read or for those who have certain disabilities that prevent them from reading books.

In such a case, audiobooks can be great for entertaining but also for educational purposes.

You know how long it will take to listen to audio books

Another advantage of listening to audiobooks is that you will exactly know how long it will take you to listen to a certain audiobook.

This will make it much easier for you to plan your time and to see whether one audiobook fits into a certain timeslot or not.

Consequently, you don’t have to rush with reading paperback books to the end but can rather listen to audiobooks in a relaxed manner since you will know whether it works out or not right from the beginning.

Audiobooks are more durable than paperback books

Unlike paperback books, audiobooks are much more durable and can also be used during times of bad weather while you will have serious issues reading paperback books since the paper would just not stay nice at all in the long run.

You don’t need lighting for audiobooks

You will also be more flexible using audiobooks instead of paperback books since you can listen to audiobooks without the need for lighting.

This means that audiobooks can be great for camping or for other occasions where you don’t have access to sufficient light to read normal books.

As you can see, there are many advantages to listening to audiobooks.

However, it is still not all upside and I will therefore also show you all the issues that come along with relying on audiobooks.

Disadvantages of Audio Books

  1. Your brain will have to process more information
  2. You may unlearn how to read
  3. Not the same feeling as reading books
  4. Tradition of paperback books may be lost
  5. You may be cut off from the outside world
  6. You may become unresponsive
  7. Listening to audiobooks may become dangerous if you don’t focus on the traffic
  8. You may not like the voice of the reader
  9. You may get lazy
  10. Your mind may begin to work slower
  11. Listening to audiobooks requires access to power
  12. You often need a credit card for buying audiobooks
  13. You may have to listen to chapters twice
  14. Difficult to go back

Your brain will have to process more information

If you listen to audiobooks and do other things at the same time, your brain will have to process lots of information.

In fact, many people in our current state of the world suffer from information overload and if you are one of those people, you should rather cut back information flows instead of even fostering them by listening to audiobooks.

You may unlearn how to read

Another problem with audiobooks is that you may unlearn how to read.

While you might think this is ridiculous, it can actually happen that you will no longer be able to read with decent speed if you listen to audiobooks too much and don’t read any paperback books or e-books at all.

Not the same feeling as reading books

Opponents of audiobooks often also claim that using audiobooks will just not give you the same feeling as reading paperback books.

In fact, you will just have nothing in your hand and may feel lost by just listening to audiobooks instead of paperback versions.

However, this is just a matter of preference and mostly depends on the individual.

Tradition of paperback books may be lost

Another downside of using audiobooks is that the noble tradition of reading paperback books may be lost.

Paperback books have a long history that should be preserved and honored and if too many people switch to audio books, this will simply not be possible and traditional reading may become obsolete in the long run.

You may be cut off from the outside world

If you listen to audiobooks via your earphones, you will also be cut off from the outside world.

While this may not feel like a problem to you, it can become a real issue if you are just living in your own bubble and don’t want to deal with the real world anymore.

You may become unresponsive

Another disadvantage of audiobooks is that they can make you unresponsive to comments from your friends or other people out there.

For instance, if you listen to an exciting audiobook, you may just not have the nerves to answer to other people anymore and may rather want to be alone with your thoughts.

Listening to audiobooks may become dangerous if you don’t focus on the traffic

Listening to audiobooks can also be risky in case you are walking or riding a bike and don’t pay attention to the traffic in a proper manner anymore. In such a case, the risk of accidents will increase quite a lot.

Consequently, you should always keep an eye on the street and never entirely focus on the audiobook you may be listening to right now.

You may not like the voice of the reader

While it can be great to listen to audiobooks since it makes your life just more convenient in many different aspects, it can also be really annoying in case you don’t like the voice of the reader.

In fact, even though the book itself may be great, a poorly spoken audiobook can destroy everything and you can never be sure whether you really like the reader of such an audiobook or not until you’ve finally bought that book.

You may get lazy

If you listen to audiobooks too much and don’t read normal books anymore, chances are that you will also become lazy in the long run.

While being a little bit lazy will not matter that much, too much of it can lead to a state where you become too convenient to really achieve things in life and rather give up on things quite early if they don’t work out as you like.

Your mind may begin to work slower

If you listen to audiobooks on a regular basis and no longer read paperback books, your mind may also start to slow down significantly.

Not only will you be distracted from other things and also from your environment if you listen to audiobooks, but also your mind will be filled with ideas and you will also think about the things you are hearing.

Consequently, your brain has less space to deal with other things and this can be quite problematic, especially if you have many important things that need to be done within a rather short period of time.

Listening to audiobooks requires access to power

While you can read paperback books almost everywhere you want, you need access to power or at least some batteries for listening to audiobooks.

Hence, if you live off the grid and don’t have access to power at all, chances are that you will be much better off with reading paperback books instead of relying on audio versions.

You often need a credit card for buying audiobooks

For the major audiobook services, you will often also need a credit card or use other digital payment services.

If you don’t want to use those technologies, you will simply not get access to those platforms and may therefore have to rely on classical paperback books instead.

You may have to listen to chapters twice

Another issue with audiobooks is that you may not understand everything the first time.

In fact, you may have to go back to listen to chapters again and this can be quite annoying and will also prolong your listening time substantially.

Difficult to go back

If the audiobook you listen to is not structured and processed properly, it can also be pretty hard to go back to a specific point within a chapter and if you stop listening to an audiobook and want to continue in the future, you may not find this point anymore and may have to search for it quite a lot.

Top 10 Audiobooks Pros & Cons – Summary List

Audiobooks ProsAudiobooks Cons
Audiobooks will make you more flexibleYou need access to power or batteries
You can use audiobooks for your studiesAudiobooks can be quite distracting
Audio books can help you fall asleepYou may suffer from information overload
Your eyes will not get tiredYou may not like the voice of the reader
Multitasking is possibleTradition of paperback books may be lost
Great for your way to workNot the same feeling as with normal books
You can listen while driving a carYou may need a credit card
You don’t have to stress your handsYou may get lazy
Great for people who can’t readYour brain may work slower
Audiobooks are more durableYou may have to listen to chapters twice

Are audiobooks better than paperback books?

There are indeed many advantages of listening to audiobooks.

In fact, audiobooks can be a great way to give you more flexibility regarding how you want to consume content.

Whether audiobooks will be a full substitute for paperback books depends on your individual preferences.

In my opinion, while audiobooks are a great complement to conventional books, they will never fully replace them.

If you are not sure whether you want to use audiobooks or not, just give it a try. Anyway, what do you have to lose?! 😉

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiobook

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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