Do you listen to audiobooks?As an avid reader, I'd prefer to be a passenger on trips so I can get in some extra reading time.  When I drive, I always think it would be a more productive use of my...

Do you listen to audiobooks?

As an avid reader, I'd prefer to be a passenger on trips so I can get in some extra reading time.  When I drive, I always think it would be a more productive use of my time to listen to an audiobook, so I try.  Something about it lulls me into a daze; no matter what I do, I just can't concentrate on the story.  I've tried all kinds of texts, but it doesn't make a difference. It's so frustrating because I'd love to enjoy the experience, but I can't. Anyone else have this experience or any advice?

Expert Answers
burbina eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Personally, I prefer a book in my hands, because I'm one of those who likes to makes notes in the margins.  For my students, however, I think that audio books are a wonderful resource to help them balance everything on their plates.  Many students are trying to balance sports or other activities, jobs, home life, and school.  Sitting down to read isn't an option for many.  On the other hand, the majority of my students are attached to their iPods or MP3 players, so listening to a book rather than physically reading it would possibly be more effective for them.  It's amazing how students can remember the words to a song they've heard once or twice.  Putting books in the same media helps them stay interested and allows them to understand the literature in a way their brains are conditioned to remember.

chimeric eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Personally, I prefer the printed word. However, I recently did an internship at a homeless shelter and someone donated several audiobook CDs. I thought it was a wonderful gift for the men  there because some of the residents had cataracts or other vision problems and couldn't read. The shelter had some CD players available, so I added these audiobooks to the library.

While I was at it, I found a couple of titles that I hadn't read and decided to give it a go. I was somewhat reluctant about the idea, believing that I wouldn't enjoy the book as much as a printed version, but surprise, surprise, I enjoyed them quite a lot.

Will I make the switch to audiobooks as my primary book experience? No. Will I continue to add variety with audiobooks? Definitely.

dastice eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I really do enjoy listening to audiobooks.  They remind me of being read to when I was a child.  They help pass time on a road trip or when walking on the treadmill at the gym.  My favorites are those read by the authors themselves...I feel they add additional insight into the author's message.

They do have their downsides, of course.  I am the type of reader who often skims back through text to refresh my memory, and this is something I cannot do with an audiobook.  I also frequently skip over slow, descriptive, wordy parts of a story, and this cannot be done either.

Audiobooks are great for multitasking, but if time allows, I still prefer a real book.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think my frustration with audio books is that I can read so much faster than I can listen.  Whether I am LOVING more merely LIKING a book, I still want to keep moving -- quickly.  When a book is dragging, I can skim ahead to get to a scene of dialogue or peek ahead to see how many pages are left in the chapter.  It gives me a goal.  I don't do much long distance driving, and I always have a young passenger with me, so I think that contributes to my staying away from books in the car.  On my IPod at home, I feel like my idle hands need something else to do.

ajmchugh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm with you, auntlori--I just can't do the audiobook thing on my own.  I, too, would love to listen to a good book while I'm on the treadmill or driving.  I've found, though, that I can't really stay focused enough to appreciate the experience.

I love using audiobooks in my classroom, and I think the kids really benefit from listening as they follow along.  (I find them to be most useful for reading Shakespeare, as the kids often aren't able to convey the meaning of the lines in a way that will allow everyone to understand what's going on.)

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All the time.  I have about an hour in the car every day as part of my commute during the school year, and am usually so busy I fall way behind on my reading list.  So I've taken to downloading audiobooks onto my iPod and playing them as I drive down the valley.  Sure, it takes me about a week and a half for a single book, but that's way more frequently than I could read one normally.  It does lose something in the transfer, and I miss just crashing on the couch or the porch with a real book, so it hasn't completely replaced reading for me.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also love audiobooks.  Had a 30 minute commute to work for 3 years and could take in an extra 7-10 novels a year this way.  It highly depends on the reader for me, however, if I can make it through.  Certain voices (usually female) can drive me so insane I will end up hating the book simply because of the reader.  Those I tend to turn off.  That said, here are a few I loved simply because of how great the reading was:

Middlesex (Eugenides)
A Home at the End of the World (Cunningham)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Kingsolver)

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like the idea of audiobooks better than actually partaking in them myself. I tried listening to Stephen King's "On Writing," but like many of you, I found myself dazing out during certain passages that were mundane. I have found that by using the audiobook format in class in conjunction with the printed text, kids connect more with the text presented. Sort of an audio-reinforcement, if you will. Plus, audiobooks give us the chance to stop, pause, discuss, and debate vital points in literature. They're a big help.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am a visual learner also, and I never thought that I would be able to comprehend a lengthy text read to me.  But lately I have truly enjoyed audiobooks when I have been travelling.  I read the American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld,  and Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons, that way.  I like Michael Crichton as well.  Suspense novels or thrillers work very well, but be careful, you'll get so hooked that you won't want to leave your car.  Try them again.  I think you'll like them. 

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people are just unable to listen to audiobooks and prefer reading an actual book. My mother-in-law on the other hand loves audiobooks and listens to them in the car whenever she is driving alone. Maybe you would be able to listen to the book if you were alone, instead of being with other people. My husband and I listen to audiobooks while on trips sometimes (without the kids) and as long as both like the book there are no issues and it makes the drive go by much quicker.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The audiobooks are so enjoyable and engaging on longer trips; I find it easier to not become mesmerized by the tedious interstate highways if I listen to books.  But, once, as I listened to Forest Gump on audiotape there was an episode not included in the movie that was so hilarious I lost control from laughing so hard and drove off onto the shoulder of the road at a high speed!  So, I just sat for a time and replayed this episode.

martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I was given an audiobook as a gift and tried to listen to it.  I just did not find it as enjoyable as sitting down and reading a book.  Also, it seems the only time I listened to it was when I was in the car driving and I much prefer to listen to music while I am in the car. I don't find audiobooks as convenient as a real book.  Too much trouble finding something to play it on and then putting on the headphones etc. 

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having four young kids means audiobooks is not possible for me but i do dream of a future when they might be! To be honest though I really prefer handling the book and having the feel of the pages as I turn them in place of pressing a button on a machine. Maybe it is because if you read you can go at your own speed - spend longer on some parts and shorter on others... if you know what I mean.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sometimes. Where I really find them useful is for kids I work with who have reading disabilities. The length of some of the books assigned in high school makes it very difficult for some. I talk to the parents (this is an IEP decision) about how the kids need to read along, not just listen. We also have textbooks on audio CDs, which can be a great benefit to some.

ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have a hard time focusing on audio books, but it really depends on my purpose for reading.  I personally can't get "lost" in audio, but can easily get lost in the pages of a good book.  However, if I'm travelling and looking for a distraction, then a fun story to listen to with my husband will certainly entertain me.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Audiobooks are certainly a great alternative to radio or CDs when travelling by car. I particularly enjoy ones that feature a recognizable voice--by either the writer or a well known actor. I began listening after picking up copies for a high school student with a reading disability.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Love them!  I agree, though, that it is much easier to focus when there isn't much distraction in the car...all the "he's touching me!  He's looking at me! Are we there yet?" business from the back seat would definitely take away from the joy of the book at hand. 

copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I enjoy listening to audiobooks, especially those books that I have already read. Hearing the work in another's voice--particularly the voice of the author--raises different elements to my consciousness than just reading the book myself.

lnorton eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am fond of listening to audiobooks when I'm driving  for at least 30 minutes (otherwise, I blast music). I particularly enjoy David Sedaris' audio productions. His voice/reading style adds a lot to overall experience.

granata | Student

I have a long commute and so audiobooks allow me to make good use of the time by listening to books on business, self improvement, history, etc.

The only setback was the fact that I couldn't easily take notes while listening. Audiobooks don't have margins as burbina pointed out. This inspired me to create an iPhone app called Audio Footnote that lets you record voice notes while listening to books and podcasts. Your notes are saved and sorted by the program you are listening to, the date and your position in the audio program.

Check it out at if you're interested.

golden-omar | Student

Bing in so fasting world, audio-books are the only good alternative of reading. one can load a huge liberary inside the ipod and takes it wherever ho goes.