Do you read with your eyes, or your ears?

This article discusses the decline in ebook sales, and explains some of the potential future challenges, once of which is that the main growth area seems to be audiobooks. Publishers are now seeing audiobooks as their best area for growth rather than ebooks.

This does not make me happy! I am not an old fashioned person who expects a book to be a physical object – I have both a well-stuffed Kindle and a rapidly read-and-returned collection of charity shop purchased books at home. Physical books are merely containers for the exciting contents, and the contents work as well digitally as they do physically. What I don’t have in my home however is any audiobooks. Because I hate the damn things.

I just cannot get on with them. For a while a few years ago I commuted by driving for about 30 minutes each way in often-semi-static traffic. So I thought I’d put some audiobooks on in the car so the time was a little bit more productive. Nope: it didn’t work for me. I was focused on the driving/traffic, so I tuned out everything non-essential to that…which includes voices…which meant I listened to maybe a third of the book the first time around, and the rest was when I rewound/repeated the chapter. Which is not easy to do if you’re concentrating primarily on being in control of a car rather than fiddling with CD player buttons, so often I couldn’t manage to do that. Which meant I got a very disjointed overall experience, and really didn’t have much of a clue if the book was good or bad, because I hadn’t fully experienced it.

Also: oh my GAWD, the narrators talk SO SLOWLY!! I read fast, so I can whizz through books in a few hours. But the equivalent “size” audiobook will take hours to listen to. And hours. And hours. So slow. So frustrating. I feel like I’m wasting so much time listening, when I could be enjoying reading.

The other problem I have is because I’ve not actually read the book myself, but it’s been read to me instead, it means that I don’t keep anywhere near the amount of information/knowledge about it in my head that I would retain if I’d been more “active” in my consumption. It’s like reading the comic book version of a classic novel – the story’s there, but the nuance is gone. I want to remember the whole thing, not just the bits that caught my attention as the words dawdled by me.

So please…take pity on a woman who just likes to read with her eyes, not her ears, and don’t take away my ebooks!