Audiobooks vs Physical & Digital Copies

I’ve always been a person who never saw themselves getting behind the whole audiobook movement; rather, I never had the patience to sit and listen to an audiobook without my mind wandering elsewhere. I’d tried it once before, in middle school where you could borrow the audio versions of certain books and listen to them, but I always had to rewind and rewind and rewind until I just got sick of it. I returned the audio version and vowed that they just weren’t for me. Then, I found myself with an hour-long ride to university while studying in Japan, and listening to music and podcasts got boring day after day. I broke down and signed up for a free Audible trial and downloaded Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Okay, okay, okay, yes, that may be a bit exaggerated. Since I’ve listened to, and finished, the book, I’ve listened to other samples of novels and have yet to find one to buy. So what’s the deal? Are audiobooks better than physical and digital copies? That’s a tough one, because at the end of the day, it comes down to preference.

The reason I loved my audiobook so much is that it gave me something to listen to on the lengthy train rides. I couldn’t read because it would make me sick with the sway of the train, and the same can be said when in the car. We can’t exactly read if we’re the one behind the wheel (I mean, we could, but I wouldn’t recommend it). Thinking about it in that perspective, audiobooks are far superior to physical and digital copies, but convenience isn’t the only aspect we should consider. There’s also the person behind the recording. To me, I cannot listen to the recording if the voice doesn’t match the character. It’s impossible. The thing I loved about the Stalking Jack the Ripper recording is that the woman recording it, Nicola Barber, sounded as if she could have been Audrey-Rose. It immensely added to the immersion of the text, fleshing out the character all the more. Barber also made these fun voices for other characters, and her reading pace was perfect. It definitely set the bar on my expectations for Audible.

With physical and digital copies, this is never a problem. One can always visualize and give the characters the voice they think they’d have. We’re also right there with the characters, yes our thoughts can sometimes wander if we’ve had a busy day or some upcoming plans, but it’s not as huge a problem as, say, just sitting there and twiddling their thumbs while listening to someone else tell them a story. The appeal that lies with an actual copy is that the reader is in control and ultimately front and center. Even while I’m driving or doing something else while listening to the audiobook, my thoughts will still often wander and I never grasp what I should be at crucial parts to the story; whereas, when I have the copy, the story always has my full attention.

For me, a physical or digital copy of a book will always be the winner. What I’ve recently discovered, though, is that it’s fun to combine both audiobook and book. I did this with the Stalking Jack the Ripper novel, and I kid you not, I felt as though I was watching a movie in my mind. I loved being able to follow along to the recording while also listening to someone else read the words aloud; it was as if I was listening to Audrey-Rose recount the events. This practice of listening and reading at the same time is one I’m leaning towards as I continue the rest of the series.

So, bottom line, are audiobooks better than actual copies? To me, they aren’t. Just as a physical copy will always far exceed that of a digital in my eyes, an actual copy will always win over an audio copy. When combined, though, they make a fearsome pair—much like Miss Audrey-Rose Wadsworth and Mr. Thomas Cresswell.

I hope you enjoyed the post, and if you’re interested in checking out Stalking Jack the Ripper you can find it on Amazon. That’s all for today.

All the best.

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