I’ve listened to one and a half audiobooks now and thought I’d pass along my thoughts on them. Several years ago we also listened to the Focus on the Family Radio Theater productions of Chronicles of Narnia and Les Miserables, but I think those were dramatizations rather than readings.
In general I would still prefer actual books. I just prefer reading that way and I like being able to mark specific passages, to linger over some spots or reread them, or trip a little more lightly through others. Plus I can read with other people around and still be available to them: with an audiobook, I either have ear buds in or am in another room, so I tend to listen to them when alone. That’s not really a problem unless it’s a really exciting part of the book and I’d love to listen to a few pages but can’t!
However, audiobooks have helped immensely with driving time. It’s about a 20-minute drive to my mother-in-law’s place and to a few other destinations, and I’m hardly aware of the time going by, whereas beforehand I was chafing at the time in the car not accomplishing anything except moving from one destination to another. I’ve also started listening to them while getting ready in the mornings and want to incorporate them while exercising or house-cleaning.
I don’t think I could listen to a non-fiction book that way that wasn’t in story form. Those kinds of books take a little more concentration, anyway, and I tend to mark passages, place sticky tabs all over to try to help me retain information from them. I could listen to them and glean something, I’m sure, but I just wouldn’t get the full benefit of them just by listening. That might be a good way to review a book I’ve already read, though, or preview one I plan to read.
I am more of a visual learner. A few times just when my attention has lagged or I’ve forgotten something in the audiobook that I can’t then go back and look up (without listening to significant portions again), I’ve wondered how difficult it must have been for people to retain Scripture when they primarily heard it, when they didn’t have written portions for everyone, when the Colossians got a letter from Paul that was read at their assembly. I don’t know how easy it would have been to make copies. They were probably more trained to really listen then than we are now, but I am still glad to have lived in an era of the written word.
But I find I am enjoying audiobooks immensely at times when I can’t get into a paper book.
I started a trial subscription on Audible.com that is $7-something a month for the first three months, and you’re able to get one credit (which usually gets you one book) each month. After that trial period it goes up to the regular $14-something a month, which seems pretty high to me. If I am going to pay that much I’d rather get the actual book. I’m not sure why they’re that expensive: I know the author needs to be paid royalties and the reader and producers need to be paid, but it seems if you’re making one file that multiples of people can download, that would be less expensive than making multiple copies of the actual book. So I may drop the Audible account after that, I’m not sure.
I have discovered some good resources in learnoutloud.com and http://gobible.com/. They’re regular prices seem expensive but they do have good sales or occasional free downloads.
How about you: do you know of any good resources for audiobooks? Do you enjoy them? What is your experience?