Book Gadget v0.72

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why Audiobooks?

(You will find a list of all my audiobooks at the end of this article).

      As you probably know, I recently decided to offer all my novels in audio format (listed at the bottom of the page).  Some of my readers have been a bit puzzled about why I'm doing this and a few have commented that it seems I'm trying to push audiobooks on them, or that I think listening to audiobooks is somehow a better experience than reading the same book the usual way.
     This could not be further from the truth. 
     First, deciding whether to read a book or listen to the same book in audio format is a bit like deciding whether you want your ice cream in a cup or a cone.  A lot of it has to do with the way the material is presented and tastes, and also the environment you'll be in when you consume it.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.   With an audiobook, the main upside is that your eyes and hands are free to do something else while you're experience the story--such as driving, for example, or doing your laundry.
     The following are the most common reasons people listen to audiobooks, or at least the reasons they start listening to them.
- Commuting back and forth to work via car, bus, train, ferry, etc.  Great for reducing boredom and alleviating stress, such as when stuck in traffic.
- Exercising/working out/hiking/walking
- Performing repetitive tasks such as housework/cooking/gardening, etc.
- Doing hobby or craft work such as knitting, painting, pottery, modeling, etc.
- Traveling on long trips by car, bus, train, or plane (audiobooks are very popular with truck drivers)
- Taking a bath or sunbathing, when the light isn't conducive to reading, you want to lay back and relax, or you simply don't want to risk getting your book or ereader or tablet wet.
- Experiencing a story in a group setting (with family or friends while on a road trip, for example).  
- Learning English (or the language in which the book is narrated) - hearing the tone and pronunciation of words can help learners become more natural speakers.
- Increasing your "reading" time - in general, audiobooks allow you to consume new material at times you otherwise could not.  Many book reviewers have started listening to them to increase their output.

     As I said, these are the main reasons that people start listening to audiobooks.  What many folks discover after they try one or two of them is that the experience is quite different than reading, and that it has one unexpected advantage:  the ice cream "cone" itself tastes good, too!  A great narrator can add to the drama as the story unfolds and the overall impression that various characters make.
     When I was in the sixth grade, I was lucky enough to have a teacher read a novel aloud to us for 30 minutes every day when we came back from lunch.  One was the bestselling thriller Failsafe.  To simply say he "read" the book to us is doing the man a great disservice.  He had a lot of acting experience, and he didn't just read the book, he performed it for us, almost like a stage play. The story made such a powerful, lasting impression on me that I've never forgotten it. I can still vividly remember various scenes and bits of dialogue, and that was almost 50 years ago!  A good narrator can definitely enhance a story, increase the dramatic impact with his/her voice.
     Of course, there are downsides to audiobooks, such as the fact that you may not like the way the narrator interprets the characters or the story. But I've found that if the narrator is skilled, most readers will enjoy audiobooks and the hands-free, eyes-free, group listening advantages they provide.  I spend a great deal of time auditioning narrators and choosing just the right one for each book, the one that I think is the perfect fit and brings the most to the story.
     So, in summary, please don't think I'm pushing audiobooks on you, or that I believe they are superior in any way to good, old-fashioned reading.  I simply want to provide all my books in audio format so that those who want them can have them.  It also pleases me to see my work interpreted and "acted out" by talented people--an audiobook is an interpretation of a book, similar to a movie or stage play.  As an author, I would be thrilled to see every one of my books adapted in all these different forms.
     And who knows?  If you've never listened to an audiobook before, maybe you'll try one and discover a new form of entertainment with benefits that will surprise you.  To try a three hour audiobook totally free of charge, you can listen online or download Lust, Money & Murder, Book 1 on SoundCloud here.


Now in Audio!
(Note:  you can download any of the complete audiobooks below FREE by becoming an Audible member on a no-risk 30 day trial basis)

Lust, Money & Murder - International Thriller

Passion, Power & Sin - International Thriller

The Drive-By Wife - Romantic Thriller

Baby Talk - Horror/Supernatural Thriller

The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer - Paranormal Thriller

The Wrong Side of the Tracks - Coming of Age Thriller

Secrets of the Elusive Lover: The Personal Journal of a Playboy




14 comments:

  1. I think it's a great idea. In fact I'd love to connect with the producers as a reader.

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  2. This is great. I agree with you. I started listening to audiobooks because I my work commute, but I still read books as well. It's actually given me a chance to soak up more books than ever before without having to put other things aside because I don't want to put my book down.

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  3. My younger sister was never a reader. Just hated reading. But she started a wallpaper company, which is a lot of repetitive work, so she started listening to audiobooks. She loves them. Now she keeps up on all the current books. I have listened to one before, but was not to impressed. I think it was the narrator. Thanks for this post.

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  4. I would LOVE to put my novels on audio. I just haven't found a way yet that I can afford, and since I've listened to a few audio books where the voices just totally turned me off the book, I know I'd like it done well. How did you go about it?

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  5. t never hurts to offer a book in another medium. I'm thinking of doing an audio book for my first novel. Just haven't fiured out how to do it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

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  6. Audio books are also necessary for people who are blind, or have poor sight. I used to read newspapers for the blind and many of the people I met bought audio books. They may not have been able to read a novel in the traditions sense, but that shouldn't, and didn't, stop them from listening to a novel. For me that would be a good reason to have my novels made into audio books.

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  7. Late last year and earlier this year, I had two cataract operations within six months and, being an avid reader, relied on audiobooks to keep me going. They were my lifeline as they are to a friend who is registered blind.

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  8. I'd like to add that audibooks can be great for English Language Learners. Hearing the tone and pronunciation can help them become more natural speakers: http://eslcarissa.blogspot.com/2015/02/audio-book-quizzes.html

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    1. Thanks so much for that, Carissa - I will add it to my post.

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  9. You are spot on about hands-free, eyes-free being an advantage, I love to listen to audio books whilst stitching & cardmaking or in the background whilst I'm baking or doing housework. I find it stops my mind wandering (worrying) too. An excellent narrator is so important though as even the best book can be ruined by a bad narration!

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  10. I absolutely love audio books and completely agree that the narrator can make or break the story. I would love to narrate but have no idea where to even start. Any advice?

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  11. I love audiobooks. There are health reasons besides poor eyesight or blindness that lead some to audiobooks. For me, that reason is Rheumatoid Arthritis. Holding real books is impossible some days.

    Due to RA and other forms of Arthritis, I can't move around as much as I want to, and sitting for long periods of time is very difficult for me to do. I've always needed to be engaged in more ways than one.

    So I stitch, hand quilt and cross stitch on the days I can. On the days I'm unable to do one of these activities, I game. But always with an audiobook keeping me company.

    The narrator certainly does make or break a book. I've had to give up on books I've wanted desperately to 'read' simply because the narrator was so bad.

    I belong to 2 audio sites and I borrow Audiobooks from Hoopladigital.com and Cloud library which my local library offers. I can't physically go out to the library, and I'm so grateful to live in an age where we have digital accessibility.

    Thanks to Mike for this thread, I would not think it would be an issue. As long as people are reading, no matter how, is all that should matter as far as I am concerned.

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    1. Thanks so much for your insightful and well-written comments, Ila. That's a new reason for reading audiobooks that I have never heard befor- I can certainly understand the benefit. Take care.

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