What do you prefer? There are many people who are adamant about using audio books, and others who are adamant about reading physical books. At the end of the day, both have the same outcome, which is, that a story is being told, but which one gives you the best experience?

Let’s focus on reading physical books first. The great thing about reading books on paper is that you get to use your imagination to create the voices for each character. For example, you might imagine a wealthy character as having a very clear and crisp dialect, with perhaps an eccentric sound, while as you might imagine a farmer as having a stereotypically southern accent, such as Devonshire. Either way, you get to decide what you believe each character to sound like. In this way, it could be argued that the imagination is more active when reading a book, rather than listening to an Audiobook.

With reading, you also get the novelty of physically taking out a book and turning the pages and reading the words on the page, which can be very therapeutic on a warm day in the Summer or in a comfy chair in your own home. It may also be easier to keep track of where you have read up to as some people may find listening to audio less engaging and become distracted. Books are portable and can be taken anywhere, whilst an audiobook will require a digital device making it less affordable and less practical as a charger must always be on hand as well as a plug socket or portable power bank.

In regards to educational textbooks, the answer is very flexible. Everyone learns in different ways. Visual learners may benefit more from textbooks with lots of descriptive text and pictures and diagrams, while as auditory learners may benefit from hearing the words being spoken, whilst doing other things. No matter how a student learns, revision is important and teachers must be aware of this fact; everyone learns differently to one another. There are many ways of learning and teaching a section of a module.

With that being said, not everyone has the ability to read books. There are members of society who are visually impaired, members of society with learning difficulties and mental health conditions affecting the ability to concentrate on the words. As well as this, unfortunately, not everyone has access to a good education and some do not ever learn how to read, and so audiobooks provide a more inclusive way for people to experience stories. They paint a picture of the characters and their voices and physique and this can help a lot of people to imagine the story better.

Furthermore, with audiobooks, the listener is able to multi-task and get things done at the same time. You can listen while you’re at the gym, walking the dog, doing housework, gardening, or standing in line at the grocery store. It can help to make mundane tasks such as certain chores more enjoyable. Audiobooks also allow a reader to enjoy listening to stories late at night, when it’s dark, which is something that isn’t as easily achievable with a physical books as you often have to squint to make out what the pages say.

Here is a list of found benefits of listening to audio books:

  • Increasing reading accuracy by 52%
  • Increasing reading speed, expanding vocabulary and improving fluency
  • Teaching pronunciation
  • Improving comprehension by 76%; and
  • Increasing test scores by 21% when engaged in multi-modal learning.

And here are some findings regarding reading books:

  • Improves brain connectivity.
  • Increases your vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Empowers you to empathize with other people.
  • Aids in sleep readiness.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Fights depression symptoms.
  • Prevents cognitive decline as you age.

So really, there are pros, backed up by psychological studies, to both reading books and listening to audiobooks. All in all, it doesn’t necessarily matter how someone reads, as long as the story or text that they’re reading or listening to is interesting or enjoyable to them. There is the argument, of course, that technology like this may remove the novelty of writing and publishing physical books with front covers that may help to draw attention to them, but there are also amazing benefits such as allowing all members of society to enjoy a book despite disabilities.

So what do you think? Do you prefer reading books, or listening to audiobooks? Tell us why in the comments!

If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out Ricky’s social media for updates on the weekly blog as well as an insight into some of his brilliant work as an author and poet. Ricky has written a number of books, of all different genres and styles, based on true events in his life/real life happenings. Feel free to have a scroll and interact with the discussion boards.

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