The debate between a paperback and an e-book is still on-going among book lovers and in the meantime, there is another phenomenon on the way. Audio books. Have you heard about them? Did you try them?
Recently, I saw a tweet which mentioned that the person listens to audio books when he goes for his daily jogs. Intrigued, I checked it out and realised that a whole world of audio books exist and seems thriving while I have been unaware about the same.
What are Audio books?
Audio books are books read out by someone. You can listen to the book instead of reading it. The best thing is you know how much time it will take to finish. Though I wasn’t aware of novels being read, I had earlier listened to educational audio books and felt it was easier to listen to it than fall asleep reading it. The reader reads in a monotonous reading tone with the slightest variations. There are ‘dramatic’ readings too, but I am sure I don’t want to try them out. I am happy with the monotonous reading which is similar to how I will read it myself.
Advantages of Audio books
- The time factor. The books are divided into manageable chapters for listening. If you have an hour or half an hour to kill, you can listen to an audio book as you know when it will end.
- You can listen to it any time. Walking, shopping, cooking, doing dishes, sleeping. Just have the earphones plugged in. I love listening to a chapter just before going to bed. It lulls you into sleep.
- Listening to audio books in regional languages. Most of us read best in English. But, there is a whole treasure of literature in regional language. Though I cannot understand all languages, I would certainly love to listen to Hindi, Marathi and Malayalam audiobooks. Though I can read them, I am painfully slow especially reading Malayalam. Oh! the joy of listening to Randamoozham in Malayalam will be pure ecstasy.
- Easy to read some of the classics. Some of the classics are difficult to read. I have downloaded ‘Wuthering Heights’ to listen as I found the book a tad tedious to read.
- Great for listening to classics as most audio books are created for books whose copyrights have expired. So, a whole variety of books there available for reading.
- No special software is required. Just copy on the smartphone and listen to it like music. I use Google Play Music, but any music player will do.
Disadvantages of Audio books
- If you are in a noisy background, you may miss some of the words. Like a truck passing on the road when you are walking. It drowns out the words. At such times, it is difficult to stop, pause, go back and listen again.
- Some of the accents stay in your head. After listening to ‘Silence of the Lambs’, the reader’s impersonation of Hannibal Lecter stayed in my head for a long time. Not a very welcoming thing.
- For us Indians, we need a bit of time to get used to the foreign accents of the readers.
- Some readers are terrible. Just like bad music, bad reading completely puts you off the book. Encountered just one till now and I gave up listening half-way.
Sources for Audio books
- Amazon’s audible.com
- Librivox.org – Huge volume of free classics. They even have an app called Librivox so you can listen directly on the app. – This is my go to page for audio books
- This post has a wide list of pages for Audio books.
- You can embark on a career as an audio book reader. Check out Amazon’s ACX.com. A short research on the internet gives guidance on how to record these audio books.
- Librivox.org is completely read by volunteers. You can volunteer for the same.
My ardent wish
Someone read out some classic Indian literature from regional languages. It will surely have a wider reach than physical books.