Has anyone else ever listened to books on tape/CD?
My experience with audiobooks is limited, but somehow, listening to someone else read is very distracting for me. I prefer to curl up with a good book and read at my own pace and leisure. It also allows me to go back and reread certain passages that I may have skimmed over the first time. However, if my eyes should fail me someday, I might have to revert to audiobooks. It would certainly help if the reader has a good and entertaining voice.
I've tried audio books with little luck. I usually miss things and have to rewind. I also have a problem adjusting to one reader's voice. It interferes with my mind's visualization of the characters (what they look like, how they sound, etc.) and if the reader doesn't sound like what I imagine, I get very distracted.
I found Victoria Holt's "The Judas kiss" in audiobook format and am halfway through trying it out. It has its pros and cons.
Cons of the audiobook:
1) You really need to keep paying attention. When you're distracted while reading from paper, you stop immediately. The narrator of the audiobook keeps going, so you'll have to rewind.
2) Attaching the MP3-player to your ears, starting it up and finding the place where you left last time, is not as quick as grabbing and opening the real book, so I find myself listening only when I know I have some time to continue. A real book can more easily be picked up during commercial breaks etc.
3) Listening in bed before falling asleep is risky. If you fall asleep before shutting the player off, you'll have a hard time finding the spot when you still were following the story.
4) You need to be in a silent place. I can read a paper book while my husband watches TV with the sound on, but can't separate the audiobook's voice from the TV's voices.
Pros of the audiobook:
1) You can enjoy a book with your eyes closed. At night I'm often not really tired enough to fall asleep, but my eyes are weary, so I can't read very long in the normal way. The same goes for things like sunbathing. And I suppose when you're sick listening to an audiobook will be preferable to reading from paper.
2) The narrator can add another dimension when he/she is able to use different voices. I love the way the narrator of "The Judas kiss" can do this. Victoria Holt doesn't always use "he said/she said" in dialogue, which could become confusing when a narrator lets everyone speak in the same voice. I don't know (yet) if other narrators do that as well, so if they don't, this obviously will become a con instead of a pro.
3) You can multitask. Listening to a book while doing boring housework is wonderful. Nothing too loud, though, or else you can't hear. I myself have become fond of playing flash games on the internet, things like Mahjong or Find the differences. It's great to do this and "read" a book at the same time. If ever I pick up knitting or crochet again, that will be a nice combination as well.
There's one thing I'm not decided on as yet, which is the way I can be drawn into the story. It seems right now the paper experience is more intense, but that may be because the MP3 experience is still new to me and I need to become used to it.
My conclusion so far: I will listen to an audiobook specifically when I'm doing something else at the same time, or when I can't read because my eyes hurt. At any other time I prefer reading from paper or e-reader.
For me it is not even a question, I do not have any audiobooks because I am extremely old-fashioned and diehard conservative. Sometimes I prefer electronic version of book text (when traveling for example) on PDA, but this made only to save real prototypes from possible damage and extra wearing. Nothing will be a better alternative for pages one can feel in reality, turning them, hearing silent rustle, which only breaks the night silence...
There are certain audiobook readers who are very talented, such as Flo Gibson, who has recorded thousands of books and who has a distinctive, appealing voice and delivery (her career started in the days of radio).
But I don't enjoy listening to books or being read to; it interferes with my imagination. When I read a book by myself, I don't "hear" a voice; if I'm attuned to the story and immersed in what I'm reading, I simply experience the story itself. Hearing a real voice narrate the story makes this harder to do, if not impossible.
I also admit that I fetishize the book itself a bit -- I love the feel and smell of "dead trees."