I just finished my first audiobook. And it was an experience worth sharing:
I’d been reading reviews, blog posts, and tweets about Seth Godin’s newest book, Linchpin. I went to a couple of bookstores on the way to work / home; I was not available. So I went to Amazon.com to order one. I was on Amazon after a long time and was surprised to see the available options: Kindle (e-book download), hardcover, paperback, audio CD, and audio download. Audio download seemed like the fastest option so I checked it out. He took me to Audible.com, an Amazon company, where an audio download was offered for just $ 7.49 with a new membership. I signed up, paid the money, downloaded the book, and started listening to it right away. The benefits:
1. It’s fast. I was listening to the book after a few clicks in a few minutes.
2. It is cheap. Versions of the books cost between $ 13 and $ 25.
3. It is convenient. I copied the file to my iPhone to listen to it during my commute to and from work.
4. It is safe. A copy on my computer, iPhone, and backup will likely last (without damage) as long as I want.
5. Does not take up space. So less clutter. Don’t worry about keeping, selling, recycling or giving away.
6. It is environment friendly. No paper, ink, chemicals.
7. It is comfortable. For someone who spends a lot of time in front of computers or books, this is a good rest for the eyes. You can listen while standing, walking, or lying down.
And the downsides:
1. You need technology: computer, Internet access, applications like iTunes and power supply
2. You need a handheld device to maximize the use of audiobooks: iPhone, iPod or any other MP3 player.
3. You need a credit card to make purchases online
4. You cannot share. I love gifting my books to someone who can enjoy or benefit. Most audiobooks cannot be shared across multiple computers / accounts.
5. You can’t refer so easily. I like to go back to particular passages from my favorite books to inspire / inform / share. In audiobooks, you can fast-forward to chapters, but it is difficult to go to the exact passage you are looking for.
6. You can easily lose it, unless you have a good backup system.
7. You become antisocial. Your chances of having interesting conversations with strangers are greatly diminished if you are wearing headphones in your ears.
Ultimately, I think it depends on your lifestyle, circumstances, and even the type of book you want to read. Please take a few minutes to share your views through the comments: Have you tried an audiobook? If not, will you? What other pros and cons can you think of?