HW Assignment: eBooks & Audio Books (Prompt #5)

NOTE: With this assignment, we were asked to talk about what appeal factors eBooks and audio books lack compared to physical books and what appeal factors they may have that traditional books do not.

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eBooks and audio books are becoming increasingly popular with today’s busy reader. eBooks are great for people on the go who just have a few minutes to read here and a few minutes to read there. Readers are able to keep a large number of books on devices that they usually would already have with them (i.e. smart phones, tablets, or e-readers). And audio books are great for those with long commutes or those who may have jobs that allow for them to be listening to something while they work.

eBooks allow for readers to change font types and sizes which can affect how a reader interacts with a book. Some books depend on font choices to set the mood of a book but that doesn’t always come across through eBooks because settings may make all books look the same to a reader. Readers will have to solely rely on the story and language used by the author to interpret the tone of the book. In addition, increasing font size may make the book’s pacing feel slower. With less words on the page, readers will be less likely to pick up on the visual cues that may come from a whole page filled with dialogue which naturally would increase the pace of the book.

On the other hand, eBooks have the advantage of privacy. Those around you are unable to see a cover. Readers have no need to fear being “judged” by those around them based on what they’re reading because others in the area simply can’t tell. It may make readers feel a little freer to read books with “embarrassing” covers or books with covers that immediately indicate that a book is from a genre that is commonly thought of as “cheap” or “lowbrow” such as Romance or Sci-Fi.

Audio books share similar advantages. People cannot see what you’re reading, so readers may start to branch out into genres that they were before too embarrassed to read. Audio books have the added bonus that people can’t read over your shoulder giving an extra layer of privacy.

Another great thing about audio books is that it’s a completely different experience from reading the book. The narrator is putting on a performance and may include voices, sound clips, or music that add to the book and help the reader to pinpoint the exact mood or tone. On the other hand, some may feel that this makes things too easy for the reader since they don’t necessarily have to figure out tone for themselves. They also do not necessarily have the freedom to let their imaginations give voices to the characters as the narrator is already doing that part.

Audio books are also limiting with regards to pacing. The reader can only go as fast as the narrator. Where a reader may have read a passage quicker in a physical book, a narrator might take their time. In addition, the voice of the narrator can make or break a book. If a reader finds the narrator’s voice or performance unsatisfactory, they are likely to put the book aside even if they would have enjoyed the story/plot.

eBooks and audio books have some advantages over physical books, but some disadvantages as well. Overall, I do not believe that any of these three types of books will be disappearing any time soon.

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12 thoughts on “HW Assignment: eBooks & Audio Books (Prompt #5)

  1. I had never thought of privacy when it comes to ebooks. When a person has a Kindle, they can shield what they are reading so no one can judge them by what they are reading. Great prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The privacy thing. I love my Kindle because of that! Whenever someone asks me what I’m reading I usually tell them the Hunger Games or Harry Potter, that way they won’t be inclined to ask what it’s about! I’ve read some things where I just didn’t feel like getting into what it was. Haha.

    I’m a fan of audiobooks for when I’m doing tasks where I can be multitasking but can’t read. So like when I would walk from the train to my office building. It was about a 25 minute walk, and instead of listening to music, I’d listen to an audiobook! I’m pretty picky about what I listen to on audiobook, but I’ve found they’re awesome for those books that I’ve tried to read but couldn’t finish. Plus, I listen to them on 2x speed so they go by a lot quicker!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, and sometimes they’ll ask what the book you’re reading is about, but then when you start explaining they look like they’re extremely bored…I like the way you do it haha.
      Audiobooks are great for commutes and stuff. I personally listen to podcasts, but I’m definitely open to trying audiobooks! My thing is that I can usually read a book faster than the audiobook is long so…it’s like hard for me to want to do it haha. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol that used to always happen to me! They’d ask, I’d try to explain and after ten seconds they’d seem bored. Honestly, I think most people who don’t read very often don’t think books outside Harry Potter and the Hunger Games exist. They always expect they’ll have heard of the book you mention… so I just stick with books they’ve heard of! Works every time!

        For audiobooks, I tend to stick to series that I’ve been putting off, and I just listen when I get a few moments. I could definitely read faster than the audiobook narrates, but I’m usually not in a rush to finish them. I have to physically read the ones I’m dying to finish!

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  3. Great point about audiobooks being limited with pacing. There are times when someone is reading something out loud and it feels like it takes forever. You can’t really rush a voice recording. Sometimes that is the great part about it – enjoying the performance – but if you aren’t in for a performance, they may not be your first choice!

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  4. Ashley, something is wrong with me.
    For every single comment that accommodates the format, I feel a counterargument in support of the reader.
    What becomes more and more apparent during this week’s discussion is commitment – the reader’s commitment to reading. Also apparent is that the reading experience is not the same for everyone. This is more obvious to some than to others. Personally, an audio book is for non-fiction material in a general sense – learning a foreign language, or material that feeds me when listening to another would take the burden off of me by telling me words that I find mentally, intellectually, or spiritually fortifying; otherwise, I would rather read alone. I used to feel the same way about film or a televised sports event that I had an invested interest in. I’ve recently experienced reading to and being read to from the same story, sharing a page at a time, and I would prefer more to read to someone rather than being read to, and here is where I find myself at the “reader makes or breaks” mentality.
    How much of a bother is, in addition to selecting and finding the book you want, finding a good translator, and now finding a good narrator?
    It’s too much for me.
    Another point that you made:
    Although it is a very sincere and legitimate need of some to have privacy, as a person who loves to observe others, I want to know what you are reading  …. not just you but anyone. Why has my interest in humanity on my terms become mere creepy nature? I am very certain that my creepiness trumps the need to consider me creepy if we were to weigh both of these on a scale measuring satisfaction.
    Anyway, the original point I wanted to make about privacy is that I am very proud of what I am reading in public – which lately has been … well, street signs and dreary landscape – but ok, some day I will again have a book in my company – a PHYSICAL book … is a book actually physical? I know that there’s a more correct description but it escapes me at the moment.
    Although I have these feelings and opinions I am aware that I must respect those of others, and we can only slowly learn what these are by the limitations of visual observance … I find it peculiar that people feel judged by what others see them reading. What if somebody is impressed by what somebody is reading? Is it really offensive if somebody is interested in what another is reading – especially if they, themselves love people and reading?
    Also, is it reasonable to expect privacy in public, reasonably speaking? I can imagine some cases but is an eBook reader really equivalent to a private abode or other secured object or method to ensure privacy?
    This is where the printed book enjoined people to other people. What an awesome concept, whereas, if I discover a modern invention or patented idea created solely to accommodate the solitary lonesome figure, even the misanthropist, I think to myself, “what an awesome concept” …
    But I can’t have it both ways – – –
    — which is why I feel that I must manufacture my commitment to reading books and one the ways I do this is by trying to remain loyal to the format that I most easily as well as traditionally embrace without speaking for any other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! As someone who has tried all three formats I completely understand the points that you make. First I just want to say that I totally agree that the reading experience is not the same for everyone. We all learn differently. We all process information in a different way and some people are better at processing written information than audio information or vice versa. My parents, for example, have a really hard time just sitting down to read a book. My mom gets antsy and my dad just has a hard time concentrating. In addition, as they both get older it becomes harder and harder for them to read smaller print. They both LOVE audio books (I think my dad is currently working his way through a high fantasy series and is really enjoying it). You mention that it’s really hard to find an audio book that you’ll like due to the nature of having to like the story AND the narrator. I completely agree with you that it’s a difficult task–but it’s not impossible for everyone. I, personally, am pretty picky when it comes to narrators, but I’m willing to put in the work to find one that I’ll like because I’d rather listen to an audio book than have nothing when I’m in the car for long trips (I get very carsick if I try to read, unfortunately).

      I also wanted to speak to your point about privacy. I love people watching! It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do. So I totally get having an interest in what other people are reading (I’m guilty of the over-the-shoulder thing on the bus. If people don’t want me to read what they’re texting, they shouldn’t hold their phones so far out there…) and wouldn’t really classify it as “creepy”–more just curious. I think the aspect of privacy I was more talking about was for the reader in case they would be embarrassed for other people to see what they’re reading. The main example I can think of for this is “50 Shades of Grey”. I don’t want to make any judgments on the book itself, but I think a lot of people might feel uncomfortable pulling the paperback out and reading it on the bus. Everyone around them would know that they were reading something with explicit sexual content. Maybe some of the other people would care, maybe not. But it matters if the reader would feel embarrassed about it. That’s why I think eBooks are great for privacy.

      Personally, I love reading physical books. Nothing will ever be able to replace them in my mind. But I also embrace the other forms of reading that currently exist–they all have a place in my life. I don’t think it’s a “you either like one or the other” situation. I believe print books, eBooks, and audio books can all coexist peacefully in our lives.

      Like

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