Thursday, April 4, 2013

Listening to Audiobooks – The Benefits and Disadvantages

Our guest blogger is Lucy Markham an avid blogger and creative writer.

Listening to Audiobooks – The Benefits and Disadvantages

Have you found yourself listening to more books than you read? With everyone carrying around an iPod, it’s no surprise that listening to audiobooks have become more popular than ever and more and more people are getting accustomed to buying the MP3 version, rather than the hardcover of their favorite books, and I’ve been wondering if this is more out of convenience or if people are coming to enjoy listening to a selected voice rather than staring at black words on white paper to enter the world of the author.
They say that the average American reads less than one book per year. One book per year is a pretty horrific average. However, in today’s busy world it is understandable. I was one of those Americans after my first year of working at a computer software company. After coming home from overtime and meeting deadlines, I found myself exhausted, and looking at anymore Lexmark x5650 toner was the last thing I wanted to do. However, a co-worker had me listen to her favorite trilogy on audiobook and suddenly the days started to fly by!
Just like me, I think that many of us are finding that our commutes to work, or our day while at the office goes by much faster if we are taken away from the monotony of traffic, or our windowless cubicles into a world that we would miss out on otherwise! I believe many more Americans are entering the literary world each day by listening, rather than reading. If it helps you get through the classics and stay up to date with the works of your favorite author, I think it is well worth it!
If you are an author, should you be more worried about which voice will be reading your book for the masses to listen to, than you are about the voice your character naturally brings? While there are several audio book voices and readers that I absolutely love: Jim Dale while he read the Harry Potter Series, I have actually heard more negative reviews about the readers who offer their voices for the audiobook.
For example, it is difficult, especially if you have read the book before if the character that you imagined to have a dainty and youthful voice to be read by woman who you can tell is middle-aged, or by a reader that has an off accent, or one that isn’t there at all. I listened to the audiobooks for the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and while I thought the voice should have been a twenty-something with a New Jersey accent, a woman who almost seemed to have a creaky and aged voice read it. Not only that, but she had a nondescript standard American accent that kind of took me out of the story and the character.
It can be frustrating when the voice you imagine the character having is incredibly off, their accent is wrong, or their voice is simply boring. However, I still think that I will stick to audiobooks in the future for the convenience and the advantage of being able to listen everywhere I go!
However what are your opinions, have you have more positive experiences with audiobooks than negative? Are you a recent convert, or someone who can’t even pay attention long enough to listen past the first chapter and need a hard copy right in front of you?
Lucy Markham in an avid blogger and creative writer.  After receiving her degree studied English: creative writing at the University of Florida, she jumped right back into school and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Education from the University of Utah.

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