107 Business Tech Weekly – Why I May Never Buy Another Audio Book

by Cliff Ravenscraft on December 16, 2011

in Business Tech Weekly

In this week’s episode of Business Tech Weekly, I’m flying solo as Andy is on a business trip in Nashville. It will become immediately evident why Audible may never be a good fit as a sponsor for gspn.tv.

I share the various reasons why I much prefer buying and reading a book on my Kindle as opposed to listening to a book read to me in audio form.

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  • SethHWilson

    (@GSPN) Being visually impaired, I often heavily rely on audiobooks and other audio material for my reading. I’m a longtime platinum subscriber to Audible.com, and have hundreds of audiobooks in my library. I can read print with difficulty–I slogged through a Masters degree–and electronic formats like Kindle definitely help me a lot by making it easy to enlarge the font. But audio is still the easiest way for me to “read.”

    Having said that, I’ve been thinking along the same lines you argue for quite a while now. I think the distinction one of your commenters made between fiction and non-fiction is a good one. Reading most fiction is a linear affair, and if it’s well-written fiction the prose actually pulls you onward. Reading non-fiction, however, particularly for personal development, is a whole other kettle of fish. As you point out, stopping to highlight and/or digest particular passage is almost key to getting the most out of these kinds of books.

    I think text will always trump audio in this regard, but again as you mentioned I think there are some things Audible or another audio provider could do to bring these two modes together. Proper bookmarking would definitely be a step in the right direction. The Audible app allows you to take notes, but only connected with a bookmark. I’d love to have a notepad right in the app where I could take notes. Something I’ve been thinking about and wanting for quite a while, too, is for companies to sel some sort of combo audio/e-text pack. With some programming elbow grease, Audible might even make the text flow in tandem with the narration, so when you do come upon one of those pithy statements you can pause the audio and have the text right in front of you to highlight or share. Admittedly this is kind of pie-in-the-sky thinking, and there are lots of sticky copyright issues, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

    Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking episode.

  • @SethHWilson Seth, Wow! Thank you so much for your comment. For someone who is visually impaired, I can see how audio books are an amazing resource. When I read your first line, i thought you might blast me. I was interested to read further and find that you actually agree with many of the points I was making.

    You know what? I did a Google + Hangout after I was finished with this episode and one of my friends suggested that they way I describe “reading a book” is almost as if I am “a student” of the material.

    This is exactly how I approach most books. I am studying them. When I was in college, I used to take a laptop and type nearly every word my professors said in their lectures. I would also have a tape recorder going as well. Each night, I would go back and listen to the tape and fill in any missing points from the lecture that I had missed the first time around.

    So yeah, I like to approach a good book as if I am taking a mini college course.

    I would love to see audio books have real chapter headings, text that you can look at while reading, etc, etc, etc. Maybe one day! ;)

    Thank you again for taking the time to write!

  • akaByronious

    @Cliff Ravenscraft Great episode – I also have a couple of Audible Books and your write about the lack of any chapter description labeling – its hard to believe that Audible doesn’t include this fundamental feature.

    I also wish someone would make a website podcast audio player that had fast-fwd feature like the Pocket Cast app – the 1 Pixel Out Audio player is a pain to rewind by only a few seconds.

  • xpunkx

    @gspn I am listening to that episode right now

  • chrisbeiting

    @Cliff Ravenscraft@SethHWilson I think this is easily fixable thru the Audible app.

    Audiobooks for me are paramount in my productivity — I listen while mowing the yard, cleaning the house, so on and so forth.

    I can see where you’d want to create bookmarks and notes and stuff in non-fiction books — I haven’t had a need to do this a bunch yet, but I use audiobooks for enjoyment — if I need to do any kind of reference type stuff then I go Kindle all the way.

  • @chrisbeiting I guess that’s the big thing. I rarely read for pure enjoyment. I’m always either looking to study/learn the material I’m reading, or if I am reading a book for enjoyment, then I’m probably going to share what I am reading in a podcast. Good to hear from you my friend. I see you posted in the forum. Hope to get in there tonight or tomorrow.

  • Wow – I’ll never mention audible.com again! Very sound reasoning though. I have to agree with you. I still like paper books: highlighting, dog ears, pages get worn.  Like my Bible that I’ve had for the last 28 years :)

  •  @SJCWebDesignLLC LOL.  I could be convinced to listen to an fiction book.  Though even then, I’ll miss something.  Great seeing you online today!

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