I must say that I, as a conservative supporter of the printed word, did not have much interest in audio books, as such, for a long time. The interest came from the filing of two people – my friend Oleg, who handed me about 40 discs with recordings of “Models for Assembly” and my wife Svetlana, who gladly accepted them. The fact is that my wife, having been visually impaired since childhood, got acquainted with audio books while working in UTOS. Then it was still those same bobbins working at 4th speed. So she “swallowed” all the MDS discs quite quickly. And soon the children, spending time at computer games, became addicted to audio reading.
What is attractive for such a way of “reading”?
Let us examine the arguments for the points:
1) Audiobooks are simply a lifesaver for both the blind and the visually impaired (for example, the elderly). It is quite suitable as a “bedtime story” for children, but I would not advise getting involved in it because, I repeat, such tales are primarily a psychological act of communication between parents and children, including joint experience, and sometimes discussion.
2) If you spend most of your time on the road (no matter shaking on the train, subway or yawning in a traffic jam), you have the opportunity to brighten it up with audio reading. After all, reading traditional books in transport is extremely inconvenient, but on the run it is almost impossible. Thus, by plugging a headphone into your ears, you simultaneously preserve your vision and expand your literary horizons. Audio books are also good for any monotonous mechanical work (home cooking, cleaning, etc.), many computer games and during passive relaxation (on the couch, on the beach, etc.).
3) In the above circumstances, you have the opportunity to get acquainted, first of all, with those books that your hands do not reach .. Or add an idea of those works of which you doubt very much about the quality. Sound books are good and just for fun. Here, for example, I don’t really like to read classic detective stories, but I watch and listen to them with pleasure.
And of course, they are excellent advertising. After all, if you like the audio news, then you will definitely need to buy the printed version. Moreover, the price of an audiobook is 2-3 times less (not a word about the pirated Internet! ..).
4) Lazy schoolchildren or philology students loaded with reading can thus get acquainted with the necessary literary work without sacrificing, for example, a computer game. Of course, information is better remembered from a sheet, and people usually read faster than they listen. But listening is not so tiring. I think it’s not worth talking about foreign language audio courses and other trainings.
Despite the above, audiobooks are completely unable to compete with printed text. And there are also many reasons for this.
1) Most of those who saw only light entertainment in reading have long been consumed by television.
2) For the ease of audio reading you have to pay for the lack of freedom of handling the text. Sound text is linear, print is not. It is not for nothing that an audiobook is usually split into five to ten minute pieces to make it easier to find the right place. Reading a traditional book, you are free to perceive the text at your own pace. You are able to stop, think, make a note, return to what you have already read, and even perceive the volumes of the text whole. With an audiobook, such tricks do not work, therefore, the awareness and memorization of the text is significantly weakened. Moreover, not all texts are equally conveniently perceived by ear. Where the information density of the text is high, you do not always have time to “savor it”. And the lectures on philosophy are unlikely to leave much in mind, if not supported by a printed publication.
3) The second drawback of audio books is the dependence of their perception on the manner of the reader. It is not without reason that most authors, when giving permission to record an audio version, most often prohibit staging their work. Reading books aloud is a whole art, and it has its own talents – both in the “moderate” direction (for example, E. Ternovsky) and in “Acting”. When reading with your eyes, you are not only a reader, but also a co-author, director, interpreter of what you read. An unsuccessful musical background is especially harmful to the perception of the work.
In general, as you can see, printed text is still the most effective and productive form of the book. Audio books, on the other hand, occupy a clearly defined scope and can only serve as a complement.