5 Reasons why People hate Audiobooks

Here at Lovely Audiobooks, we love audiobooks. Obviously! But I know that many people out there do not like or even all-out hate audiobooks. And fair is fair, I know you all have good reasons for this!

In the years of listening to and blogging about audiobooks, I have regularly heard from fellow book lovers who explained to me why they didn’t want to try out this book format or couldn’t get into it after giving it a try. Here are the 5 most common reasons readers have given me for hating audiobooks. And what I reply…

What the Audiobook Blogger says to People who hate audiobooks

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Reason 1: “I can’t focus on Audiobooks!”

I hear this a lot. But as an avid listener, I strongly believe that there are audiobooks for everyone – if this is something you want!

Audiobooks have many benefits. So sooner or later, many bookish people will give them a try. Be it for the upcoming road trip, to have more entertainment while washing the dishes, or to get more reading done. Just to find that they keep losing focus or that they can’t keep listening to the narrator.

Not every narrator works for every person. If you don’t enjoy a voice or if it doesn’t match your idea of a character, it can be jarring!

I also have had to stop books because I hated the narration.

But the audio industry is so huge by now, there are countless narrators. And while it is a shame to have to pass on an enjoyable story because of the narrator, there is always another good story with a more enjoyable voice! Fortunately, Audible and Libro.fm offer samples that we can listen to before making our purchase decision.

Some readers also find that they can only listen to certain genres in audio format.

If you think audiobooks might be a good addition to your reading – if only for your commute-, audiobooks are worth it to explore your options! Here is a guide on how to find your perfect audiobooks. You would be surprised at the differences between narration styles and how much easier it can get to follow the story if the narration works for you.

Reason 2: “Listening to Audiobooks is cheating and not real reading!”

Considering the long “audiobooks aren’t reading”-debate, I feel confident in stating: A lot of readers are elitists. No judgment though, you are my people!

When someone reads for prestige, they pick different books than when they read for entertainment. Just think how often genres like Romance, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi have been scoffed at. The same goes for audiobooks.

It makes me a bit sad to think that some readers pick their books based on peer pressure or status. Reading can be so emotional and fulfilling. Pure magic! Don’t let anyone ruin that for you.

Maybe audiobook space operas would turn out to be the greatest thing ever for you if only you gave them a chance! You deserve to have a good time with books, so I ask you to please try and put aside any prejudices and give them an honest try.

And while I would very much like for you to read on about the history of audiobooks, research is clear on audiobooks being an entirely valid form of reading. What happens in your brain while you listen to a story or report is actually the exact same thing as when you read with your eyes. The only difference is the first step of your brain decoding what your eyes see. But this is something that doesn’t take any effort for practiced readers! The actual magic happens in exactly the same pathways whether you enjoy an audiobook, an ebook, or a first edition hardcover.

Related article: Why Audiobooks are more captivating than Movies

Reason 3: “Audiobooks are too expensive.”

Or are they?! It is true, audiobooks are pretty much the most expensive book format. And it makes sense considering how many hours an audiobook narrator and their production team invest on top of all the work the author put into the book.

Fortunately, with audiobooks becoming more and more popular, there are a lot of ways to get audiobooks cheaper or even for free. Just take a look at Scribd, Kindle Unlimited, or Audible Plus. These are all unlimited audiobook subscriptions and for a flat monthly fee, you can try out as many genres, narrators, and authors as you like to find the type of audiobook that works best for you. Not to mention the great options for legal free audiobooks!

So yeah, I hear you on audiobooks being expensive. When you want one specific title and look at the list price, it can be quite daunting. But with the many competing audiobook services, there is always an affordable way to get exactly the audiobook you want.

Girl with headphones, trying to fall asleep

Reason 4: “Audiobooks make me fall asleep.”

I will be honest here, I have no good reply to this one. For me, it’s a huge benefit of audiobooks how they make me fall asleep. They’re such a fantastic sleeping aid and don’t even have any side effects!

I set a bookmark and sleep timer before I close my eyes. And the next day, I can quickly find my spot again by going back to the bookmark and skipping forward a few times.

However, while this might be an audiobook benefit for me, it might not be for you. That is valid, of course. So, if this is a negative aspect of audiobooks for you, consider trying Amazon’s Whispersync**. With synced titles, you can seamlessly switch between the ebook and its audiobook. So you can read the ebook in the evening, and continue listening to the audio version on your commute in the morning. And Whispersynced audiobooks are often very cheap to add to your ebook purchase.

Reason 5: “I can’t save quotes from audiobooks!”

This is the one thing I don’t like about audiobooks either! I find it really difficult to remember to write down good lines. And it’s a bit annoying to skip back several times to catch it correctly.

That being said, Audible is working on a read-along function. This will mainly benefit students who can practice reading while listening to the audiobook. This is a technique that is proven to help dyslexic children and others who struggle with learning to read.

Until then, there is always the aforementioned Whispersync as well as the Goodreads collections of good quotes 😉

Whether or not you actually hate audiobooks, they’re a book format that deserves a chance. If you have struggled with them but would still like to get into audiobooks, I hope my pointers will help you enjoy their benefits in the future!

All about Audiobooks

15 thoughts on “5 Reasons why People hate Audiobooks”

  1. Megan Swingler-Hill

    I hate audiobooks because 1. I’m not American and I don’t like American accents. 2. The rest of the series is in written format and I want a complete set. 3. I cannot curl up and read myself to sleep with an audiobook. 4. They limit my imagination. My mind flies much freer with the written word unconstrained by somebody else’s interpretation of the book

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      There are a lot of audiobooks with British narrators who are amazing! I only recently listened to Joe Jameson who did a great job. And I always love Cornell Collins audiobooks. Just to throw two names out there that might not be as well known as Stephen Fry 😉
      I agree that it’s super annoying when only the first one or two books are produced in audio format. But I haven’t encountered that in a while. Maybe due to the audio sector growing. But at least it’s something that can be avoided by going for completed series or for titles from big-name publishers and authors.
      The sleeping thing is super individual. I love how they help me fall asleep. It’s very cozy to me. But I can also understand that people enjoy curling up with a book in bed. It’s not mutually exclusive I guess 🙂
      Your last point is also a very individual thing. Maybe it’s a bit down to being an auditory or visual learner. Although I would consider myself more of a visual learner and still feel like I can “see” stories in my mind better while listening to them as opposed to reading the written word. But it depends on how well the narrator matches the story.

  2. I have truly tried to like audio books😥 The changing of voices according to character makes me nuts..just read one with the narrator switching over to a southern drawl for certain characters how strange..
    I’ve only read one book where the woman had a average clear voice and made no voice changes..just read the story without any fluff.. I guess that’s the only way I will be ok with audio books🙂

    1. No judgment here 🙂 You gave it a try and at least you did find a specific style of audiobook that works for you! That’s great! Maybe you could look into story-telling podcasts. They’re more often just “read” instead of being “voice-acted”. And don’t forget to make a note of any audiobook narrators you enjoyed listening to. Then you can look up other books read by them!

  3. I am probably in the minority but I listen to audiobooks to help me focus. I work with numbers most the day and for some reason if I am listening to a book I focus so much better. I know it sounds crazy but it works great. I am not thinking about the thousand other things I have to do.

    1. That’s awesome! They help me focus when I’m working on graphics, but I absolutely cannot listen to an audiobook and write at the same time.

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