Saturday 7 March 2009

Books: The Great Audiobook Debate

I started chatting to a couple of people the other day about audiobooks.  Being of a school going age, they considered listening to audiobooks to be a form of cheating really; the sort of thing you would only do if you couldn't be bothered to read the books.

In the past couple of years, iPods and personal mp3 players have opened up a whole new world and audiobooks have emerged as a new and exciting media.  I have listened to all seven books in the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry.  They are really excellent and I would recommend them to anyone.

Audiobooks are perfect for people who commute by plane, bus, train or car.  When I was driving, I found that my concentration kicked in when it needed to but do be careful as almost-missing-train-stops is a hazard of listening to audiobooks!  It makes journeys rush by and you often find you absorb more of a story than when you were racing through it to reach the end.

Neil Gaiman has noted that in an interview here (unfortunately, I cannot embed the video).  His publisher has made the most awesome widget ever where you can listen to the first chapter of his The Graveyard Book

I will give a month's free 125x125 advertising to anyone who can find me a widget like that for the Harry Potter books!

As a fan, someone who likes to devour everything in a particular series, I now see the audiobook as a necessary addition to that obsession.  Books, films, tv series and audiobooks.  Hmmm, that reminds me.  I think I'll run off and look for Anthony Horowitz and Garth Nix audiobooks.

Oh, by the way.  The Twilight series audiobooks were ruined because the narrator sounds like Marge from the Simpsons.  I honestly think they need to be re-recorded and have someone that sounds like Kristen Stewart narrating.  The narrator does not sound remotely like a 17-year-old girl and unfortunately, this series is written in the first person for the most part.

Finally, one word of advice when choosing an audiobook:  make sure you are choosing the unabridged version as abridged audiobooks are horrible things that just give snippets of the book.



  1. I agree with the fact that it is perfectly fine for those who are busy so they use them driving in the car, train etc. I also agree that people in school should not need to use audio books as it is cheating in my opinion.

    I don't really want to try an audio book, we listen to them in class in English while we are working. The thing is, it is slower to hear someone speak it rather than it being in your own mind.

    It will be interesting to see what others think.

  2. Hi Pizza. How are you doing? What are you reading at the moment?

    I guess if they make you listen to audiobooks in English it also takes the fun out of them!

  3. I'm great Emm, I'm reasding Artemis Fowl and the Artic Incident. I've been busy and I only read 90 pages, I have to finish it tonight though, Zach's (a friend) sister needs to read it. It's owned by Zach.

  4. @ Pizza: I read your review - glad to see you finished it in time!


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