The Debate Between Audiobooks and Physical Books

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and choose a side in a debate that, for some, is no real debate at all.  There are numerous readers who feel a need to choose between physical books and audiobooks simply doesn’t exist and both are very reasonable and, to an extent, equal methods for delivering a story.  However, I have to wonder if one is not better than the other.

I recently mentioned that I have trouble with audiobooks but love podcasts.  For me, listening to a story, an audiobook, while cleaning or walking or driving to work is something I just can’t seem to do and still maintain a connection with the story.  I totally understand there are countless people who love to listen to a novel while doing something else, and they can maintain a connection with the story that seems to escape me.  Yet, I feel that, when it comes to reading a novel, a physical book is best.

My reason for this is it’s more difficult to drift away from the story when you are being active (holding a book and reading) than when you are being passive (listening to a book and doing something else).  Mind you, I’m sure some people may just lay on the couch and listen to a book, which is all well and good, but the temptation to check your phone or let your mind wander as you look around your living room are just a few ways to break yourself from the story when listening.  Reading is comprehending, and it’s almost like having to learn something hands-on. It’s like just listening to a lecture versus taking notes.

While I know there are oodles of people who will disagree with me on this, and in all fairness it is a subjective subject, for the sake of balance, I’d recommend a great article from the folks at and their article from last year that looks more in depth at the subject of audiobooks vs reading.

No matter whether you agree with me or not, there is nothing wrong with reading (be it listening or holding a book) and I’d in no way ever want someone to stop consuming books, not matter how they’re taken in.  Keep reading no matter what! Maybe, for me, I need to just learn to focus a bit more and I’d find myself loving a good audiobook more often.