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 often 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 audiobooks after giving them a try.

Here are the 5 most common reasons readers have given me for hating audiobooks. And what I reply…

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

Photo of a white man wearing headphones, lifting one side away from his ear with a confused face

I hear this one the most! 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 sometimes have to delete an audiobook because the narration didn’t work for me.

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 decisions.

Or you grab an unlimited subscription like Scribd or Kindle Unlimited so you can try out as many audiobooks as you like without having to worry about the cost.

Some readers also find that they can only listen to certain genres in audio format. Everyone is different and that’s good. Because there are so many genres and audiobook production formats out there that everyone can find something they can listen to.

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 audiobook. 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!

Related article: 6 Tips to better focus on Audiobooks

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

A person sitting before a huge wall of books, holding a book up in front of their face

Considering the long “audiobooks vs 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 intimate and fulfilling. Pure magic! Don’t let anyone ruin that for you.

Maybe audiobook space operas instead of hardcover literary fiction 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 chance.

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.

Reason 3: “Audiobooks are too expensive.”

Black headphones lying on a stack of money

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.

Related article: Free Audiobooks for Road Trips

Reason 4: “Audiobooks make me fall asleep.”

An Asian woman resting on a sofa, eyes closed, headphones on

I will be honest here, I have no good reply to this one. For me, it’s a huge benefit of audiobooks that 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 – protecting you from falling asleep at the wrong time -, 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!”

Colorful stack of books

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.

There used to be rumors that Audible was working on a read-along function. But this hasn’t come to pass, probably because of rights issues.

However, I have mentioned Whispersync already. And it’s really a pretty great feature that can benefit students who want to practice reading while listening to the audiobook. This is a technique that is proven to help dyslexic children and adults who struggle with learning to read.

As for the quotes, there is fortunately always GoodReads to help out in a pinch 😉

Whether or not you actually hate audiobooks, they’re a book format that deserves a chance from any avid reader as well as any person who wants to bring books into their life. If you have struggled with them but would 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. I don’t like audiobooks unless they are being read by the author (and not always then, but usually it’s good) . I do not like books being force fed to me. I love the intimacy of reading, the private, psychic connection with the author. When I hear a reader for an audio book speak it feels like I’m sitting in a movie theatre watching a film I’ve waited 6 months for, only to have someone come sit by me and talk along with the movie. I love the delicate pause after a really powerful moment. I like to jump back if I remember a hint of something that I may have missed. I wouldn’t mind renting an audiobooks if it was a self help book, devotional, or learning to speak Spanish on a long drive with nothing to do, but that’s about it.

  2. The one that gets me is “audiobooks don’t count.” Toward what? We’re adults. Mrs. Harrison isn’t grading us anymore. We can consume literature in any format we please. The other objections have validity but that one is just dumb.
    Ps to the commenter who hates American accents- me too and I am American. Give me a book narrated by Kenny Blyth, Juliet Stevenson or Kobna Holdbrook-Smith over (shudder) Scott Brick any day. (Sorry, Brick fans. He’s bearable at 1.5 speed.)

    1. Thanks for your comment! There’s a lot of elitism in the book world. And many people seem to have some kind of personal score system. You get points for reading a hardcover classic, but not for romance or fantasy or any form of audiobook. Sure, us audiobook listeners don’t lose anything because someone else doesn’t give us their made-up points. But it’s a bit of a shame when you meet another reader and instead of having a conversation about books, they look down on you because you didn’t read the right thing or the right way.

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