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Do you prefer traditional books or audiobooks?

Audiobooks have gained in popularity recently and it’s easy to see why.

Even for people who love books, finding the opportunity to read can be a challenge. Many, then, have turned to audiobooks, a convenient alternative to old-fashioned reading. And as a welcome boost for the publishing world, listening to the latest bestseller while exercising or cooking dinner seems to be pulling in new audiences who may not traditionally buy books or perhaps for people conscious of their screen time, it’s a relaxing alternative.

Gone are the days of stuffily-read versions of the classics. Audiobooks have come of age with the likes of Elisabeth Moss reading The Handmaid’s Tale, Meryl Streep narrating Charlotte’s Web, Andrew Scott reading The Dubliners, Rosamund Pike reading Pride and Prejudice and Stephen Fry with a 72-hour long reading of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection.

With such A-list talent it’s no wonder that Deloitte are predicting an audiobook sales boom.

In fact the boom is so great that some authors are even skipping print and writing exclusive audio content. Many are actively embracing audio such as Ben Aaronovitch, author of the Rivers of London fantasy series, who has admitted that he now has actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s version of this character in his head when he writes. Others such as Michael Lewis, Adam Kay, Jon Ronson, Joanne Harris and Phillip Pullman have all written original works for Audible.

With dedicated teams and the creation of in-house studios in order to produce increasingly creative and ambitious listening experiences, many publishing houses are trying to broaden the audience for books.

“We’ve invested a lot in audio over the last few years,” says Richard Lennon, publisher at Penguin Audio. “There’s a real enthusiasm around the opportunity to do exciting, creative things, and broaden the audience for books. Our approach to it has been to think about how we can keep pushing the listening experience further and further.”

But is listening to a book really the same as reading one?

Human beings have been sharing information orally for tens of thousands of years while the printed word is a much more recent invention, says David Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “When we’re reading, we’re using parts of the brain that evolved for other purposes” he explains. “Listeners, on the other hand, can derive a lot of information from a speaker’s inflections or intonations. Sarcasm is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text. And people who hear Shakespeare spoken out loud tend to glean a lot of meaning from the actor’s delivery,” he adds.

But as most of us have been reading the printed word since we were five years old really it comes down to personal taste and convenience. Doesn’t it?

Which would you choose? An audiobook or a traditional book? Or would you choose both? We would love to hear your views.

Do you prefer traditional books or audiobooks?

225 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Audiobook Traditional book

What are your views?

We'd love to hear your comments

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JOHNEFF
16th Oct 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
It is the size of the print that first drew me to kindle. Most books the print was too small and gave me eye strain.
GOLDSURFER
11th Sep 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
The books (fiction) that I write are available as ebooks and paperback and, 4 of the 24 published, are audio. Sales of ebooks, especially in the USA treble my sales in the UK. Paperbacks sell very slowly and yield very small royalties.... audiobooks are very expensive and long-winded to develop and, personally, not worth the effort... although I keep trying as I am particularly supportive of people with sight problems. Although readers tell me they like to 'feel the pages turn' etc when it comes to it... they buy ebooks!
AlanW64
21st Aug 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Definitely prefer a proper book in my hand, or at a push ( holidays for instance) a kindle. I've tried audio books, but if I'm not moving around I tend to fall asleep within about 10 minutes
Yodama
15th Aug 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I prefer holding a book, to see them lined up on the bookshelf, their titles inviting me. "Pick me, pick me" they seem to say. It is a comforting feel.ing to be surrounded by my books.
Audio books are a great idea but I find they are only as good as the narrator, I do listen to audio books when I am doing chores or something else, but sometimes the narrator has an off-putting way of reading and spoils it for me.
I sometimes narrate my own recordings of books or poems that I like and listen to them.
ChrisY6
13th Aug 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I just love a proper book - wether well worn from the charity shop or new - you cat quite curl up with a tablet!
Mari50
7th Aug 2020
0
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I do prefer traditional books as I like the smell of the paper. Unfortunately because of my disability I can read only those with less than 400 pages dur to the weight. I do have a kindle and use it at bedtime. I do not like audio books at all.
Valleyman
5th Aug 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Due to eye problems I could no longer read normal print books. I moved to large print and then to audio. Print books are still the treasured items I have known all my life, but audio have given me new worlds when lying in bed in the dark. Wonderful.
LorraineB142
5th Aug 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I use my phone to access audio books from my local library and listen when out and about on the bus in the car (as a passenger, hubby listens to music on the radio) and at bedtime as it saves disturbing my husband with the light. The rest of the time it has to be a book - nothing like the feel of the book and pages.
Vancouver101
3rd Aug 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I think there is a place for both. Audiobooks are great for listening to when trying to get to sleep for instance, and a kindle Is so much easier to carry than a book when out and about
ExitStageLeft
2nd Aug 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I love both. You can’t beat a hardback for home reading and keeping in the bookcase. But, I love my kindle. It fits in my pocket easily and goes everywhere with me in case I get held up or have to wait for an appointment. Also there’s some books I don’t want to keep once I’ve read them and I don’t like paperbacks. So like most things it’s a balance
fhsgb
31st Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
i would chose both audio books are great when working on computer, as well as recorded fromradio.Nice if you can get in to a book
Dereksargeant
30th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
love a traditional books for reference, but use an audio book for convenience especially for taking on holiday slips easy in to your travel bag.
Seffi
29th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I have a Kindle ereader, which I love. Lighter than a book, easier to hold, and no irritating earphones or ear buds.
Trogger
29th Jul 2020
5
Thanks for voting!
There is nothing compares holding a book and turning a page
Lionel
29th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Well said. I was beginning to feel lonely around here.
spencer1
29th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
As an avid reader i can't read the small print in a book anymore and ive not tried audio books yet as i have a kindle which is worth its weight in gold as i can enlarge the print to my needs.
swaneldo
28th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Traditional books are lovely, but for space saving and convenience I love my Kindle as I can carry around a thousand books in one little tablet. I live in a flat so space is of a premium. I gave my whole wall full of books away so someone else can enjoy them and replaced them all with electronic books so nothing's lost. When I go on holiday, I just pop the tablet into my bag and I have a whole library to hand. I'm not keen on audiobooks as I find them a bit too demanding for attention!
Lionel
27th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I'm sure a sound economic case may be made for electronic books but in terms of personal preference we have paper books. I cannot make the case for changing the habit of a life time.
Newone
26th Jul 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Love the feel of a real book, enjoy looking round bookshops & browsing in a library. During lockdown though I relied on a Kindle which I’d never used before. Now am hooked but still prefer to read from a physical book.
viking
26th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Having used audio books connected to earphones in the past ,I found the sound of a monotonous voice sent me to sleep quite quickly when I did not want to sleep.
Using the audio story books in a cassette in the car was too relaxing for driving.
AnnS69
26th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I first found audio books when my husband had a stroke and couldn’t hold or read a book anymore. I and also use an audio book to help to get to sleep, having a story read to you is very relaxing and pushes away unwanted and worrying thoughts.
The library can help you find free audio books on line ( RB digital ). I use this and audible which I pay 6 pound a month for. I love reading a book . Why not use both?
Woowoo1969
25th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Reading an audio book is simply not the same as picking up a traditional book and reading. Reading from a screen does not feel the same, I love reading and for me nothing beats a good old book
Irene88
25th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I can get books, magazine etc online from my library but I'nver used it.. I love just being able to fit a few miniutes reading or just read when I want. I spend quite a bit of time each day on a computer the last thing I need is screeen when I want to relax and unwind.

With my head in a book I'm in another world away from all the cares of life - even if it's only waiting for the kettle to boil or letting the washing machine finish it's last spin. A book in my hand anytime.
MaryjaneR
25th Jul 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I much prefer to hold a physical book. I recently joined borrow box an online library through our local council, but just couldn’t get on with it. There were some good titles though.
MrsPat
24th Jul 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I use both and enjoy them equally.
sparrer
24th Jul 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
It has to be a traditional book for me. There's nothing like the feel of a book in my hands, much more preferable to a headset covering my ears. Another advantage is when I fall asleep it's easier to find my place than it is trying to run back though 'virtual' pages to find where I was!
Not2grey
24th Jul 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
I have a kindle but i hardly ever use it . i prefer a 'proper 'book be it hardback or paperback . You can't swop e books or audible books unless you have bough them so I will continue to read books which I either buy at charity shops or swop with pother people .
Eubow42
24th Jul 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I read both as well as kindle books. They all have pros and cons. I just love the choice.
silver72
24th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I find reading books tiring for my eyes.
SueC62
24th Jul 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Well, I misread that as I don't use audio books just have readable books on my Kindle.
SueC62
24th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I have over 500 books to read on my Kindle; many were free. How many of those could I fit in my hand luggage when going on holiday. I moved to audio books many years ago as they are space and weight savers on holiday. As I'm now downsizing, the only books I need to ditch are the cookery books I've never opened and the non-fiction books I've only ever read once.
viking
31st Jul 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Can Kindle audio books be re-cycled via a charity shop ??
Or are they microchipped to the original buyer ??
SueC62
31st Jul 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
No idea but I'd imagine you can't pass them on.
CharlesJ8
24th Jul 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
due to my dementia adio books are much easier.
Wilf
24th Jul 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I really need to start using audio books and in fact this debate will get me to look into it. Many friends listen as they walk their dogs and I am finding reading books is becoming a strain on my eyes.
Munsterlander
24th Jul 2020
6
Thanks for voting!
I much prefer a good paper book however I think they should be banned as they cannot be good for the environment with all those trees being felled to make them.
viking
25th Jul 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
If you ever have the chance to find out how much precious metal is contained in a kindle, mobile phones, cameras etc., it may come as a shock. Much of this is obtained from the African continent by mining methods. No need to go further about exploitation etc, etc.

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