Why Audiobooks and E-books Do Not Work…

This blog covers the growth of e-books and audiobooks ever so often. But here comes a view from someone who doesn’t know why they don’t work for him…

I love the idea of audio books and e-books. Over the last 10-12 years, I have even acquired quite a few of them. But, somehow, I can never bring myself to hear them. Or read them.

I have tried many, many times over the years… on a PC/laptop, on an iPod, on a phone, on a tiny 26gm Sansa Clip… And repeatedly attempted to fill my ears with varying verbal flavours-from P.G. Wodehouse chuckles to the lore of the Greek Myths, James Patterson’s crime pulp to the poesy of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Woefully, the longest uninterrupted listening I’ve ever managed has rarely crossed 20 minutes of lowbrow stuff. I’ve tried listening in while lolling around, driving, as a car passenger, walking a fur-faced-four-legged companion, and walking the furrier-faced self. On longer bus/train/plane journeys, however, page-flippin’ papyrus tomes or movies automatically tend to rule.

So each time I can’t help wondering if this is because I have the attention span of a flighty moth? Or, is my life simply too interrupted-with phone calls, things to do, suddenly remembered errands to run/calls to make, chaotic Delhi traffic… Or, is it because I am (mostly) downloading free, unprofessionally read stuff? Or, is it a combination of all these?

I have the inclination and the time. Yet, I can’t find all this compelling enough. And I don’t know why…

Read the entire article here.

Do audiobooks and e-books work for you?

Image Source: PlayfulLibrarian



  1. Sameer March 20, 2009

    I have listened to many books in audio format. Mostly science fiction or crime. I commute in a bus 45 minutes one way to work – which happens to also be the average length of a chapter/episode. So I manage 2 episodes a day.
    While traveling in a bus, I find this better than reading a book since the roads might be bumpy, etc. + plus it’s also good rest for my eyes (need that after a whole day of computer work) as I keep them closed and my head down.

    I know that a lot of people also listen to the same material while driving to/from work – they might plug in their mp3 players to the car audio system, or just keep the headphones on.

    While traveling longer distances though, I do prefer a book or good sleep 🙂

  2. Gautam March 20, 2009

    @Sameer. I’d have to agree with you on this. I tend to listen to a lot of ‘written’ content in audio form and it’s so much more convenient!

  3. Niteen S Shastri April 4, 2009

    Audio books and eBooks works very well for me….
    Book is a Book…. whether it is in e Form, paper form or audio form. The content is the king. Having said that, when it comes to audio book, the narrator’s skills has a crucial role to play in capturing the attention of the listener. Brief music supporting the moods of the book should be provided to enhance the effect. Most importantly, the length of each chapter has to be very carefully looked into to make sure that even with exellent narration, the listener does not get put off. Since most of us in India (and perhaps elsewhere too) are so used to “reading books” the traditional way, it may take a while to change the habbit. With the buzy life style if it become more and more difficult to eek out time to “read” the books, the audio books will certainly find its way to the book shelf (on mp3 players/mobiles etc).


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