Audiobook Benefits to Adults with Busy Lives

Danielle Corriveau

Have you ever wanted to read a novel but found that your hands were too busy to hold one? Audiobooks are a great way to help adults fix that dilemma. Not only does the reader not need their hands to listen to an audiobook, but they also do not need to stay in one spot for the duration of the novel. With audiobooks, readers are free to be mobile as they listen to the novel (Bednar 79), as they can choose to do whatever they want while listening, whether it is cooking, gardening, commuting to work, or even just lying down.

Figure 1: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Audiobook. Image: (c) Danielle Corriveau.

This is just one of the many benefits audiobooks provide to adults who have busy lives.

So how often are audiobooks downloaded? In 2017, at the Francis Morrison Library, there was a 32% increase in audiobook use, with a total of 98,399 downloads (Saskatoon Public Library, “Year in Review”). In 2018-2019, the most downloaded Audiobook was Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Saskatoon Public Library, “2018 Report”, “2019 Report”). Audiobooks are increasing in popularity as adults are experiencing the benefits that audiobooks provide for them in their busy schedules. This does not mean that readers will never read another hardcopy novel; instead, it shows that readers will read regardless of the novel’s format and how busy their schedule is.

Convenience

Audiobooks are convenient. Audiobooks were once listened to on vinyl records, phonograph discs, cassette tapes, and compact discs. Today, audiobooks are downloaded on either your phone, laptop, or tablet. This makes it easy for you to access audiobooks at any time, as once they are downloaded, an internet connection is no longer needed for you to read the novel. Audiobooks, like ebooks, do not take up physical space on your bookshelf, so you can download and enjoy as many as you want without the worry about lack of space. Plus, the reader does not need to deal with the hassle of carrying around a novel in their backpack or purse.

De-Stress

Life is stressful at times. Whether the stress comes from your job, your classes, or life in general, it tends to build up. Audiobooks are a great choice to help lower your stress levels. Audiobooks help to combat stress as readers enjoy that they can listen to a novel being read to them (Bednar 74), as it allows them to de-stress from everyday problems. Now, this is not to say that reading a novel yourself does not relieve stress. Any format of reading allows the reader to take their mind off of everyday stress and focus on the story they are reading. But certain adults may find it difficult to find the time to relax and read a novel. With audiobooks, the only thing readers need to worry about is finding the time to listen. One of the best benefits of audiobooks is that the reader gets to focus more closely “on the sound of the text [rather] than … its appearance on a page” (Bednar 77). When reading a novel by yourself, it is your job to interpret the words to understand what they mean. But with audiobooks, the narrator interprets the words for the reader so that they can absorb the storyline easily.

The Entertainment of Oral Storytelling

Narrating an audiobook is hard work. The voice of the narrator is what brings the novel to life, so for a reader to enjoy an audiobook depends on the narrator’s ability to narrate well. Certain avid readers even decide what audiobook to listen to based on who the narrator of the novel is (Bednar 78). “Audiobooks resurrect the sound of language” (Bednar 80) as they represent a return of oral storytelling. Audiobooks give readers the choice to listen to the novel alone or with a group of readers with similar interests. As the audiobook offers these choices, it gives almost the same experience as being surrounded by a group of readers watching a narrator give an oral storytelling. The only difference with audiobooks is that the readers get to pick the time and place of the reading and while they are unable to see the narrator’s facial expressions and body language, readers can still hear the narrator’s passion and tone of voice. Audiobooks bring the novel’s stationary words to life through “dynamic sound” (Bednar 80) as the narrator changes their voice from character to character. The narrator’s constant change in the pitch of their voice is quite entertaining to listen to, and that ability is one of the reasons that makes listening to audiobooks worthwhile.

Audiobooks are just one form of reading that entertains readers. It is up to the reader to decide if they want to either read or listen to a novel. If you have never had a chance to listen to an audiobook, you should give it a try, even if you are not a big fan of books. You never know, the results may surprise you.

Works Cited

“2018 Report to Our Community.” Saskatoon Library. https://saskatoonlibrary.ca/isl/uploads/2019/11/4000_Report_to_Our_Community_2018_lores_0.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

“2019 Report to Our Community.” Saskatoon Library. https://saskatoonlibrary.ca/isl/uploads/2020/04/5001_Report_to_Our_Community_2019_Final_Update_Lores.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

Bednar, Lucy. “Audiobooks and the Reassertion of Orality: Walter J. Ong and Others Revisited.” CEA Critic, vol. 73, no. 1, 2010, pp. 74–85. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44378435. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

“Year in Review.” Saskatoon Public Library. http://splcommunityreport.ca/. Accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

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