Shopping Product Reviews

7 pros and 7 cons of audiobooks

I just finished my first audiobook. And it was an experience worth sharing:

I had been reading reviews, blog posts, and tweets about Seth Godin’s most recent book, Linchpin. I went to a couple of bookstores on the way to work/home; I was not available. So I went to to order one. I was on Amazon after a long time and was surprised to see the options available: Kindle (ebook download), hardcover, paperback, audio CD and audio download. Audio download seemed like the fastest option, so I checked it out. He took me to, an Amazon company, where an audio download was offered for just $7.49 with a new membership. I signed up, paid the money, downloaded the book and started listening right away! The benefits:

1. It’s fast. She was listening to the book after a few clicks in a few minutes.
2. It’s cheap. The book versions cost between 13 and 25 USD.
3. It is convenient. I copied the file to my iPhone to listen to on my commute to and from work.
4. It is safe. A copy on my computer, iPhone, and backup is likely to last (undamaged) as long as you want.
5. Does not take up space. So less mess. Don’t worry about conserving, selling, recycling or giving away.
6. It is environmentally friendly. No paper, ink, chemicals.
7. It is comfortable. For someone who spends a lot of time in front of computers or books, this is a good eye break. You can listen while standing, walking or lying down.

And the disadvantages:

1. You need technology: a computer, Internet access, apps like iTunes, and a power source.
2. You need a portable device to maximize the use of audiobooks: iPhone, iPod or any other MP3 player
3. You need a credit card to shop online
4. You can not share. I love giving my books away to someone who can enjoy/benefit. Most audiobooks cannot be shared across multiple computers/accounts.
5. You can’t refer so easily. I like to go back to particular passages from my favorite books to get inspired/informed/shared. In audiobooks, you can fast-forward to chapters, but it’s hard to get to the exact passage you’re looking for.
6. You can easily lose it, unless you have a good backup system.
7. You become antisocial. Your chances of having interesting conversations with strangers are greatly diminished if you walk around with headphones in your ears.

Ultimately, I think it depends on your lifestyle, circumstances, and even the type of book you want to read. Please take a few minutes to share your views via comments: Have you tried an audiobook? If not, will you? What other pros and cons can you think of?

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