Flipping Thoughts: On Audiobooks and why I struggle to listen to them

Why I struggle to Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are currently a huge trend in books industry and are quite popular among the readers. Many people argue that it is quite good for multitasking. You can still do many chores while listening to an audiobook. Most of the people utilize it while driving. Though all these scenarios look perfectly fine, I personally find it quite hard to listen to them.

I have listened to just one audiobook to date. Though I enjoyed it quite much, I had a few issues with that form of reading and thus never listened to any another. Today, I’m am compiling 5 such reasons as to why I struggle with audiobooks.

 

5 reasons I struggle to listen to audiobooks

 

#1. I can’t concentrate

This is the main reason that I particularly don’t like audiobooks. They require a great amount of concentration and sometimes it is quite difficult to concentrate. Some people try to listen to them while driving, cooking or exercising. I think this is a great way to utilize your time. But I can’t do that. If I am cooking, then half of my mind is on the food and certain noises will definitely break the flow for me. Simply put, I can’t multitask while reading. I need perfect silence to concentrate on my reading and this is something that I am not going to get every time.

Can't concentrate

 

 

#2. I fall asleep

Okay, so this can be weird but it totally happened to me earlier. Thi is connected to point #1. As I can’t concentrate on audiobook if there is some noise outside, I need a quiet place to sit and listen. And most of the time I just fall asleep because I have nothing else to do except listen. And often the audiobook goes on for itself and when I wake up, I forgot that where I was originally or till which location I listened.

 

 

#3. I struggle with the narrator

The narrator of an audiobook is like a star in a movie. The whole thing depends upon his/her performance. I was once listening to an audiobook and the narrator was too fast. I missed half of his sentences and also his accent was weird. The narrator for an audiobook is similar to the cover of a physical book. We have to totally rely on the narrator for understanding the whole story and to decide whether it was good or not. I guess a narrator can make a good story seem bad and vice-versa.

My mother tongue is not English. I have learned it throughout my journey (still learning). Though I am comfortable with most of the accents, there are a few which give me hard time if they are talking too fast. Generally, I like the narrator to be slow but steady.

No idea what you said

 

 

#4. It takes too long to finish

I hate big books in general. And when it comes to audiobooks, it seems like every book is long? The playtime for an audiobook is generally more than 8 hours and it feels like moving slow? I have noticed that I can finish some scenes quickly than the time it takes in an audiobook. If an audiobook is more than 20 hours long then I am certainly going to ditch it. It does want an enormous time commitment which I am not ready to give most of the time.

This is too much

 

 

#5. It’s too expensive

This is real for sure. I can’t afford any audiobook. I can easily buy two hardcover books in the amount of one audiobook. The only audiobooks I have are the ones I got for free on Audible subscription. After the free subscription is finished, the rate is just too high in my country. And for most of the books, it is not even available.

I know you will say that there are many free resources for audiobook available, but I have noticed that most of the time those free resources just include classic books and I certainly prefer classics to read rather than listen

 

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5 reasons I struggle to listen to audiobooks

 

 

 

 

Let's Chat

Audiobooks are a great format for the people who can afford them and can multitask. But for me, it is something that doesn’t seem to work out.

What do you think of audiobooks? Do you listen and enjoy them?

If not, then any other reason you can add to this list?

Are they easily available in your country?

Are you a multitasker?

 

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Comments

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  1. Chauncey Rogers

    I love audiobooks, but for me, multitasking while I listen isn’t a big deal, depending on the book. My current listen is a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and it takes a bit more concentration. But sometimes with novels I’ll listen while I clean, drive, do artwork, walk, etc. With others (like my current one) it’s limited more to just walking, driving, and dishwashing.
    The price is a bit of a thing. Audible is a great deal, but it still is a bit to shell out sometimes. If OverDrive is available to you, it’s a wonderful service. Or librevox can be great, too. Both offer access to free audiobooks.
    The reader can definitely be an issue, though. You really have to find ones you like, otherwise the whole book is a no-go.
    But honestly, the biggest issue may be that English isn’t your first language. I speak English and Spanish. I used to speak Spanish quite well–well enough that native Spanish speakers thought that I was a native, but with an accent from a different country. Even so, I don’t think I would have enjoyed listening to Spanish audiobooks. It would require a LOT more focus. Your English is probably better than my Spanish was, but even so, I can imagine it making audiobooks more difficult.
    Chauncey Rogers recently posted…Happily – Cover Reveal and Publication ScheduleMy Profile

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      Sim

      Yeah the main thing is I am not a multitasker when reading is concerned. I need ti focus completely on the book I am reading. Well I don’t have problem with English. It is like the main language in my country now a days. It’s just I find some accents hard to understand if I am not used to them.
      Thanks for your valuable comment 😊

  2. Sahi

    I have realized that I enjoy audiobooks only on rereads… So, if there is any book I have really loved, then I listen to the audiobook to enjoy it at a more slow pace…

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  3. Marie

    That’s a lovely post! I can relate to a lot of things here, especially the first one, about multi-tasking. Audiobooks sounds amazing and it seems great to be able to cook, exercice and everything, while reading a book, yet… I know I need to focus on the story to fully comprehend it and get into a book. I need to read in silence or not while doing anything else, that’s why I don’t think audiobooks + doing another activity would work out for me, either.
    Marie recently posted…My book blogging essentialsMy Profile

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      Sim

      Exactly right? I can multitask while doing other things, but while reading a book, I need to concentrate on the story for sure. Thank you Marie πŸ™‚

  4. JJ @ This Dark Material

    I don’t usually remember what I “read” when I listen to audiobooks, which is why I don’t like them. I do have all the Harry Potter ones, as well as a couple of classics that I love and liked the narrator on. But I wouldn’t read a book for the first time with them, since it’s easier for me to follow and remember the printed word πŸ™‚
    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted…book review: sing, unburied, singMy Profile

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      Sim

      Exactly! I can’t remember the story much or few scenes which could be important ones.. I can’t remember the quotes. Definitely, I can’t enjoy for the first time either. But I guess I would try listening to an audiobook after reading the book first. πŸ™‚

  5. Danielle

    I’ve been wanting to at least try Audiobooks for awhile now but when I look through the prices, they’re so expensive for one book! 😞 I don’t have problems focusing because I listen to a lot of podcasts, which require you to listen because there’s nothing to watch lol. So I’d start with podcasts and move to audiobooks or YouTube videos that don’t need to be sat down and watched at.
    Danielle recently posted…#BOUTOFBOOKS 21 DAY 7 UPDATE/FINAL THOUGHTSMy Profile

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      Sim

      That’s good then.. atleast you can then try some free sources available to listen to audiobooks. Once you are comfortable then you can invest many, I guess 😊

  6. Tiffany Chiang

    I totally relate with you! I can’t concentrate at all because I’ll just start doing other things. Then, I’ll go back and realize I didn’t catch anything that was happening in the book!

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      Sim

      Exactly! I always start thinking about something else or start doing other thing and forget the actual story that’s going on πŸ˜€

  7. lmgr

    I agree a with you on all of your points (apart from the narrator thing, I’ve never not liked the voice); I only listen to audiobooks that I’ve already read & usually just before bed or when I’m on the bus – I’ve never been able to do chores etc. whilst concentrating on an audiobook!

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  8. Shruti

    I can relate so bad! I’ve never listened to audiobooks in my life and these are the reasons holding me back. Especially the multi-tasking part! I can’t even walk and text at the same time, haha. Another great post, Sim! xD

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      Sim

      Thanks Shruti πŸ˜ƒ Haha exactly.. if I am doing something on phone, I should be still 😜 I can’t even concentrate on music while working 🀣

  9. Deanna

    I love audiobooks and it’s really the only way it gets me to do the dishes,LOL! But I totally understand that they don’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. You have some great points for why it just doesn’t work for you.

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      Sim

      Thanks Deanna 😊 I can understand your love for them.. they are really a great way to utilise your time.. but only if you can concentrate πŸ˜ƒ Clearly not for people like me πŸ™ˆ

  10. Lydia Tewkesbury

    I gotta say the main thing that puts me off audiobooks is the money. They are so expensive!

    I like audiobooks in moderation. I’ve really enjoy listening to a couple of memoirs that way – Amy Poehler’s is a particularly good one – but, like you, I’ve never loved experiencing fiction through an audiobook.

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      Sim

      Exactly! The only audibook I listened to was Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling and it was a memoir too and that’s why I enjoyed it I guess.. I think memoirs are easy to listen as compared to fiction.

  11. Aimee (Aimee, Always)

    I COMPLETELY agree with all your reasons! I’ve only ever tried to read one audiobook ever (Harry Potter), and failed miserably. I fell asleep less than 10 minutes in, and I know FOR SURE that I can’t concentrate. Multitasking is NOT for me. And gah, YES to the finishing time. It’ll take ageeees, and narrators read way too slowly (beautifully, but slooooowly) for my tastes. D:

    Glad I’m not alone in this, Sim!
    Aimee (Aimee, Always) recently posted…I Love You All and Want to Tackle-Hug You! Here’s a Giveaway!My Profile

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      Sim

      Haha thanks Aimee.. it is always good to find people who think same as you πŸ˜€ Really, concentration is the hardest part.

  12. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    I listen to books a lot, but I have also only tried my first real audiobook last week. You’ll ask how that is possible xD but it’s because I used to listen through a read back app… the Google Voice reader just reads it to me! So… I avoid the narrator. And I agree to what you said about the narrator… that’s the thing, the audiobook I tried I just dropped because the narrator was being super weird and I couldn’t stop cringing xD I think I prefer the automatic voice reading because I choose how I interpret the words, and not the narrator.

    I used to also have trouble concentrating at first though. It stops being a thing after a while. Now I really enjoy listening to books while cooking or doing something monotonous. Actually I once baked a pie while listening, and I can’t bake a pie at all. So I sort of concentrated better when listening and didn’t even make a mess xD I also listen at like top speed though. Very fast. My boyfriend laughs at how choppy it is xD that’s why audio books are much faster for me than if I read them the regular way. I can finish one in under hours. I don’t know why I can listen that fast xD
    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks recently posted…How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy?My Profile

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      Sim

      Haha, I can’t imagine how do you even listen that fast πŸ˜€ But it is really good if you can do that. And I can’t actually listen to audiobooks while cooking or doing anything else.. my husband would poke me till I don’t talk to him. He demands full attention πŸ˜€ Lol, actually, it’s true in some sense πŸ˜› But the main thing is I always forget what was the story going on start doing something else.
      I think I can only listen to the nonfiction/memoir audiobooks because I guess they need less attention as compared to fiction? But anyways they are really great medium of reading for those who can concentrate and afford them πŸ™‚

  13. Olivia-Savannah

    I really struggle to listen to audiobooks too and have abandoned the idea without trying too hard. I think they would be so useful – to be doing something else while listen to a book and therefore getting reading done. But I can’t because like you, I can’t concentrate. I just daydream WAY too much, and if my hands aren’t doing the act of turning or writing notes while listening then I’m hopeless at staying focuses. My mind even wanders a lot when I’m reading and it’s the main reason I don’t read as fast my potential pace πŸ˜€

    The other reasons are my main ones but yup, sleepy happens to me too!

    My recent post: http://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/01/cathadeus-book-review-giveaway/
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      Sim

      Absolutely! My mind too starts wandering here and there and then I forget the story πŸ˜› That’s really bad. And definitely, our hands need some activity to do. But yes, it is a great medium for those who can really concentrate on them.

  14. Sophia @ The Novelistics

    I agree with number 1 – I usually prefer to do some gaming while listening to audiobooks, but I find I get the general gist and thoughts of the book. It’s not enough to form a full-fledged review though.

    I do listen to audiobooks on my way to school, though – it’s about a 15-minute drive, and since I normally have no time to read, audiobooks are the only way for me to get close to my Goodreads Challenge goal. πŸ˜‰

    One service I’m looking at that’s half the price of Audible is Scribd – I don’t know if it’s available in India or how much it costs, but it’s the basic price of Netflix. You get 3 book credits to read each month and 1 audiobook credit. There IS a downside though: most of the books aren’t recent. :/

    But if you’re okay with it and you have a small budget, feel free to check it out. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by The Novelistics! πŸ˜€
    Sophia @ The Novelistics recently posted…Fangirl Friday: Oscar Nominations + Captain MarvelMy Profile

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      Sim

      If I just listen to an audiobook, my mind starts wandering and I kind of forget the story πŸ˜› I seriously can’t multitask while listening to the book. Ooh, I have never heard about Scribd, but I would definitely check it. Thank you πŸ™‚

  15. Fanna

    I relate to all these points so much! I once tried an audiobook but haven’t looked back to that reading medium ever since. I understand how concentration is super important when reading a book and an audiobook makes me feel like I’m not doing anything, thereby boring me or just making me fall asleep. I agree about multitasking, too! I tried listening and cooking or listening and drawing but nah, it just isn’t fun.

    Also, I love myself as a narrator which is why I like sticking to ‘reading’ books and not listening too someone else’s way of reading. Sometimes I even make all sorts of expressions to myself (get angry when there’s an argument or super blushy when there’s a cute romantic scene) because I’m speaking the dialogues out loud but I don’t think listening to the narrator would make me feel that many things XD

    Though, I’ve heard the Everless narrator is super amazing and people love her style so I might give that one a try to see if there’s any chance I can switch to this medium.

    Loved this post, Simant! <3
    Fanna recently posted…Mini Reviews #7My Profile

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      Sim

      Thanks Fanna πŸ™‚ I am so bad at concentrating on reading even an actual book that an audiobook seems out of option πŸ˜› Hats off to the people who actually do that. It requires lots of attention. I feel that my mind starts wandering here and there πŸ˜›

      Haha, I loved your line – “Also, I love myself as a narrator” πŸ˜€ I am sure you are a good one. I hope to hear your narration skills some day πŸ™‚
      i hope the Everless is better and you enjoy it πŸ™‚ I am glad you liked the post.

  16. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    When I first started listening to audiobooks, I fell asleep, too. And the first time I listened to one in my car, I drove past my exit on the highway πŸ˜€
    I have gotten much better at both, now, though. And I have started to choose the books I want to listen to based on who the narrator is – some just don’t work for me at all. While others are amazing!
    And when I listen to an audiobook, I put the speed at x1.25 so it’s a bit faster, but not so fast it’s impossible to understand what is being said.
    I still read much more than I listen, though, because I am a fast reader, and I kind of like having the different characters’ voices in my head πŸ™‚
    Great post!
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    Sim

    Thanks Lexxie. Haha.. that’s the thing πŸ˜€ If I concentrate too much then I forget what’s going around me and if not then well… I hope you found your path back that day? πŸ˜€
    I would try again I guess with the increased speed. I never thought about it before actually.
    Reading books are always better than listening, I guess. But yes, it is a great medium for people who can multitask.

  18. Laurel-Rain Snow

    Audio books wouldn’t work for me, either, for all the reasons you mentioned….plus, when I plan to review a book, I have to take notes. I don’t want to have to go back and check the book, and when listening, how does one do that?

    I, too, cannot concentrate on a book if I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing anything else. It just can’t happen!

    I also know that I can read a book much faster than I can listen to one. That’s the biggest issue of all for me.

    Thanks for sharing! Great post.
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      Sim

      Thanks Laurel! I am glad I am not the only one with all these issues πŸ˜‚ Seriously those people are great who can multitask while reading 😜

  19. Becca

    So interesting to hear from the other side of the audiobook feels and I do get it. I, however, am a big audiobook reader mostly because I am also a multitasker and I drive a fair bit.

    I’m very fortunate in that my library offers a lot of ebooks and audiobooks and this is where I access 99% of them. I have in the past also found some audiobooks available through podcasts (not new releases, but maybe something to interest you?) It breaks my heart that it’s yet another lit thing that not everyone has access to though.

    And I 100% agree with the narrator! It can really make or break a book sometimes.

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      Sim

      Thanks Becca 😊 Yeah I can totally understand why it is a good option for the ones who can multitask. Unfortunately we don’t have such advanced libraries here for providing us audiobooks. After seeing the increasing popularity of audiobooks I think they should be cheaper 😐

  20. Literary Feline

    I enjoyed reading your post, Sim. I can relate to many of your points. I do listen to audio books from time to time, but it is not my preferred method of reading. I enjoy listening to books, although it has taken me a while to figure out what works best for me. Like you, concentration can be a big obstacle. And so I need a book that will either hold my attention well or in which I can get away with missing something here and there without losing too much of the story. Another issue I have is I don’t have a lot of time to devote to audiobooks. My commute to work and back is very short. I listen when I clean if no one else is home. Try listening to an audiobook while being constantly interrupted by a child. LOL It takes me a long time to get through an audiobook as a result–so the shorter the better.

    I took up listening to audiobooks for two reasons. To see what all the fuss was about and to improve my listening comprehension skills. I think it is helping to some degree.

    You are right about the narrator being an important part. And cost! I agree with you there. It can be outrageous.

    Great discussion, Sim!

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      Sim

      Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed it 😊
      I can understand why it is not the preferred method for you. I guess I have the same reasons. I am the one who reach home late and then I just can’t put a earphone in my ears and ignore my husband 😜 That’s is something really tough to do πŸ˜ƒ And yes with a child, it is even tougher for you.
      Haha.. that’s the first reason I tried the audiobook- to see what the fuss is all about πŸ˜€
      I agree with you on comprehension skills. It definitely helps. Narrator is such an important part of audiobooks as he is the one on whom we are dependent. And with the increasing popularity of audiobooks I think they should definitely reduce the price specially for the countries like mine where we don’t have access to advanced libraries to grab them.
      Thank you 😊

  21. Anouk @ Timefortalesandtea

    I also don’t listen to audiobooks. It’s so diferent from reading books! My main reasons are #1 and #4. Especially the fact that I read faster than I can listen, is an important reason why I rather read. I do like podcasts though. They are usually 20 to 30 minutes, so short enough for me to stay concentrated. Do you listen to podcasts?

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      Sim

      Yeah it is definitely a different experience than reading the books. Though I am a slow reader, still I can read faster than listening 😝
      I have heard a lot of things about podcasts but I don’t listen to any. Any good one that you would recommend?

      1. Anouk @ Timefortalesandtea

        My favourite is The Bright Sessions! In every episode a character with some kind of supernatural ability gets therapy. It’s best to start at the beginning, so you can follow the story line.
        A different kind of podcast I like is Happier with Gretchen Rubin. In this podcast Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft give tips on how to be happier. You don’t have to listen to every episode and you can just start where you like.

  22. Emma

    These are very good points. If the narrator of an audio book isn’t good I am not going to enjoy it. I listen to all my audiobooks from the library so the price isn’t an issue for me, but I wouldn’t be able to justify purchasing an audiobook unless it was way cheaper than the real book and I already loved the author/series. I find the concentration thing to also be an issue. I find myself zoning out when listening to audiobooks, but I like listening to them while I wait for the bus or walk my dog because then I’m still doing something and it’s usually for a short period of time.
    Emma recently posted…My Favorite TV Shows Accompanied by Book RecommendationsMy Profile

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      Sim

      Oh yes the narrator is the most important part of an audiobook. Unfortunately we don’t have such advanced libraries to get audiobooks so yeah the price is definitely an issue here.
      That sounds like a good time to listen them 😊 but yeah you should be alone 😜

  23. Jill

    I’ve only personally listened to a couple of audio books. One was for a book I was struggling to read on my own as a kid, so my mom got me the audio book from the library so I could listen and read along with it. My dad only listens to audio books and fully admits that the reader can make or break a book which is kind of sad considering that a couple of the books my mother loved he did not simply because of who was reading it. Great post! Happy reading!

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      Sim

      Thanks Jill. Wow, it is so great that everyone in your family atleast read. And in mine? Well.. there is no one except me 😐
      I do agree that the whole story in an audiobook totally depends on the narrator.
      Happy reading to you too 😊

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  24. Alexandra

    I agree with most of these! I’ve seen so many people praise audiobooks because you can listen to them while doing something else and get through books quick, but if I’m doing anything else I won’t retain anything from what I’m hearing πŸ™ Plus, English isn’t my first language either so just listening to English words without any visual text is much more exhausting for me (which is why I watch shows with subtitles even when I’d otherwise understand the speech).
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      Sim

      Haha are you my soul sister? πŸ˜‚ I can’t understand how people can remember what they listened when they are working on something else? Those are really genius I guess πŸ˜‚
      Ahh, exactly! I too watch shows and movies with subtitles though I can perfectly understand the language. But having subtitles give me some kind of satisfaction, lol 😜

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