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Old 05-26-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
f00l
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E-books vs audiobooks, which do you love more?

Audiobooks vs e-books....do you love them both, or one experience more than the other?

OK, we use them in different ways and different places (hard to read a book while driving, tho I know some who've tried.)

I drive a lot and my 100G collection of audiobooks on the Ipod Classic saves me from murder charges, I suspect. Audiobooks also work wonderfully when I am doing housework or yard-work, and I can listen while posting annoying threads to forums about reading, as I am now. (HP and the SS, at the moment, for my holiday good mood) And a fantastic narrator can give new life and depth to an old classic I've already read many times.

I don't yet own an Ebook reader, aside from a series of Palm devices. So many physical books to impede my progress around the house already....but having come here, now I want one.

I am deeply intrigued by the many comments about e-book readers profoundly changing and improving the user's life (as my Ipod and the discovery of audiobooks did for me). So I'm researching preparatory to shopping for an e-book reader now. (With new devices, the anticipation and study can be part of the pleasure, ask any drooling Iphone maniac. :>)

I love the comments about how the user has pleasure reading even with just a minute or two to spare. (I use the Ipod while standing in line, but then someone speaks and you have to cut off your earphones suddenly. An e-book might work better.) I also tend not to use the Ipod at bedtime, as I don't want to fall asleep while it keeps playing. An e-book would be lovely for that.

Of course, excepting Ebay, used bookstores, filesharing, and audible.com, audiobooks are expensive, the narration quality varies, and often only major titles make it onto audio. And, for some beach read stuff, the reading time investment is fun, but I would never offer up the time required for listening if the book doesn't matter to me.

So for those who love both e-books and audiobooks, comments, please? Do you prefer one over the other? Love both, for different authors or various activities? Would love to hear personal preferences.

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Old 05-26-2008, 10:40 AM   #2
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I prefer both. I commute about 50 miles a day round trip and have satellite radio in the car which is a nice distraction but really like listening to audio books. Makes the drive much more pleasant and helps prevent me from fuming over people who drive slow in the fast lane.

But, given the choice while not driving, I prefer eBooks or pBooks to audio books.

One of the great things about eBook readers is the convenience. Its only takes up the space of one book, yet can hold hundreds (actually thousands). But I didn't get an eBook reader so I could occasionally read a chapter or two at my desk while my boss thinks I'm just looking at a notebook. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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Both.

I live in L.A., and spend quite a bit of time in traffic. Audiobooks keep me from having road rage. I listen to them when I'm cleaning the house, riding my bike, pretty much anytime I'm active.

I like books for my "I don't have to or want to do anything" now time. I'll read during slow moments at work. This weekend was cold and rainy. It was nice to turn on the fireplace and curl up with my Kindle for several hours. I've also started reading for about an hour before I go to sleep.

It's all good.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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I like both for various reasons. Audiobooks are awesome for commutes or long road trips, I even used to listen to 'em while moving the lawn. Their only downfall would be when you could only get an abridged version and missed about half the story. On the flip-side, some UA versions would go on a little longer than necessary and I'd tune it out.

eBooks, on the other hand, are nice in that I can carry a collection with me wherever I like and they don't clutter up my home when the book shelves get too full. I also like the way I can read one-handed and not worry about falling asleep and losing my page. I guess the few downfalls right now are poor resolution for reading techie-docs and the high cost for digital versions. While people have beat this last issue like a dead horse, I still don't think they should cost nearly as much as PB versions since there are no print, shipping, physical sales movement costs, etc.

Both are great in that the meet my needs when needed.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by daffy4u View Post
Both.

I live in L.A., and spend quite a bit of time in traffic. Audiobooks keep me from having road rage. I listen to them when I'm cleaning the house, riding my bike, pretty much anytime I'm active.
.
Like you, I read on the treadmill at the gym. Makes an hour feel like a minute. Now if I could just figure out a way to read while I'm swimming.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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I Love Them Both....for different reasons

I love both my ebooks and my audiobooks. But if I had to choose one it would be my ebooks. I feel you are more in control with your ebooks as with audiobooks you are at the mercy of the narrator and sometimes that is not a bad thing. But there are parts you can skim through with an ebook or pbook whereas with an audiobook, unless you know where you want to go in the book and the audiobook is broken up in chapters (some are, some aren't) you have to muddle through some parts that you really don't want to listen to.

I listen to my audiobooks during my commute to the train station and when I am working on something mundane and vegetative @ the office. I read my ebooks on the train, during lunch and every other spare minute I have!
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cassidym View Post
Like you, I read on the treadmill at the gym. Makes an hour feel like a minute. Now if I could just figure out a way to read while I'm swimming.
Don't they have underwater enclosures for your mp3 player and special headphones for use underwater? I'm sure I read something about that at a scuba site I used to visit.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:50 AM   #8
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I do both -- but read a lot more text than audio books.

Most years, I keep a list of all the books that I read. So far in 2008, I have completed 56 books -- 3 audio books and 53 text books. I received my Kindle in mid-February and have read 19 books on it. Since I do read some number of Young Adult and children's books, I decided this year that I'd keep track of the number of pages read as well. For electronic and audio books, I use the page count from the Mass-market paperback book (or the hardback if the book isn't out in paperback). Note that I only read unabridged audio books.

I read in all spare moments -- at meals, when traveling, in the movie theatre waiting for the feature to start, and in bed before I go to sleep at night. I listen to audio books when I'm alone in the car. Hubby and I take several cross-country automobile trips each year. He's aphasic and cannot sustain the attention keep up with the plot and action in audio books, so he plays music while I read. His aphasia is the reason why I read at meals -- he can do only one thing at a time, and goes silent while eating.

Like the availability of free e-books here at MobileRead and other places on the Internet, you can also get free audio recordings. Volunteers have recorded many public-domain books which can be downloaded from librivox.org

By the way, I've noticed that I cannot move easily from text to audio or vice versa. For example, I read the first book in the "Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency" in text -- and have read all the sequels that way. I listened to the first in the "44 Scotland Street" series on CD -- and found that I was not happy trying to read the next book in text, so I went out and bought it in audio. I'm now in the middle of the 3rd book in that series.

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Old 05-26-2008, 11:55 AM   #9
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Never liked audio books so ebooks are my favorite.
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:06 PM   #10
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While I do enjoy, Audio books, the time investment can be a bit of a drag. I can usually finish a book in a tenth of the time it would take for me to listen to it.

As I don't commute, the time i usually have for audio books is when excising or before going to bed.


However as mentioned, one of the pitfalls of listening when going to bed is that you often fall asleep while the book keeps playing. So I end up backtracking a lot.
this.

One of the key advantages of an E-book is that you can snatch a few minutes of reading whenever you have time, and can easily intrupt it answer someone, or do somthing and get back to it without missing anything.

With an audiobook, what often happens is that someone tries to talk to me, out come the headphone. When I finish, spend time trying to remember where I had gotten to, scroll back, and start again.
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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I love both.
I am a naturally fast reader, so I can get through ebooks quicker.
I do a lot of embroidery and audio books are great for this. Also for walking to the station and standing up on full trains.
Some readers are great. I love Stephen Fry's readings of Harry Potter (Jim Dale will always be linked in my mind to the Carry On movies) and Susan Erikson's readings of J.D. Robb.
It pays to research where to buy audio books at the best price and if cost is a big problem there is always podiobooks and Starshipsofa have done some free SF short stories.
As for falling asleep - listening to an old favourite is a great way to fall asleep. It doesn't matter about losing your place.
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:23 PM   #12
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I also tend not to use the Ipod at bedtime, as I don't want to fall asleep while it keeps playing. An e-book would be lovely for that.
I have little interest in audio books, therefore nothing to contribute to this thread, really. But I think a warning is called for here. E-ink displays are not very rugged. So it might not be lovely to wake up and find that you had let your iLiad fall to the floor, or were lying on top of your Sony Reader.
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Old 05-26-2008, 03:51 PM   #13
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Audiobooks vs E-books and how it all changed your life :>

Thanks to everyone who replied about audiobooks and e-books.

I want to hear from more people, if anyone else is interested.

-----------
AUDIO

I have Sirius as well as an Ipod. For radio, I'm a big fan of the news and music channels on Sirius, as well as Howard Stern. For local radio, we are fortunate to have an excellent NPR station and an excellent publicly-owned classical station, as well as 2 good college stations (if you happen to be within 20 yards of the campuses, else you can't pick them up.) With the exception of an amazing PM-drive time talk guy here (Russ Martin), the rest of local radio can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, except for the environmental impact of all that bad radio on the Gulf.

In the mornings, I drive a LOT; many hours each day. I go back and forth between Stern and audiobooks depending on mood, not enough time for both.

Regarding the cost of audiobooks: If audible.com has what you want, and you have a compatible player, you're all set. Take a subscription, and you can get almost anything for under $14 or so per book, and they have sales. Unfortunately, they don't have some of my favorites. Those I buy used, at Half Price Books, or off Ebay or Amazon when I find a good price, which can mean a lot of patience. Or if you're OK with the moral issues and legal risk, there are the various p2p networks. I am queasy about that approach. Seems the author should get his/her $.

As delighted as I was when I realized my Palm would play audiobooks (and audible files, which can be downloaded from audible.com thru any cellular carrier directly to the device), the capacity and sound options are too limited. I have more than 100 G of audiobooks on my Ipod. A decent audio library aka a security blanket for bad traffic days.

I have to weigh the worth of audiobooks differently than print *anything*. Audiobooks take linear time, no skimming....and the choice of narrator matters immensely. If I am interested in a book on audio, that book had better be worth the time investment for the unabridged version. I don't bother with abridged fiction at all, and rarely buy unabridged non-fiction (except good history or something from a writer noted for literary qualities).

Lesser authors and most non-fiction can be read on the page (or skimmed, or skipped around during the read) in a fraction of the time investment of audio, and that is all the time I will give to something I don't love or revere. So, for me, an audiobook has to have great narration and it has be a book I would not be without. That said, a wonderful audio recording can newly re-create and enhance the quality of a beloved book or series. Several examples of well-known writers follow:

I read all the Harry Potter books before I listened to the audio. I loved them in print. I then listened to the Jim Dale audio recordings, and now I prefer those to the page, tho I still love the physical act of reading those books....Mr Dale is able to give each character such a unique voice and inflection that I now can't imagine them feeling *right* with another narrator's vocal stylings. Perhaps I would have loved Stephen Fry's UK HP recordings best had I heard them first, and they are very good. But I was already familiar with Mr Fry's multi-faceted presence in UK broadcast media, and perhaps also for that reason, my identification of Fry's reading with HP was diluted.

As for Tolkien.....I am not such an aficionado as actor Christopher Lee, who has read The Hobbit and the LOTR series yearly for decades. But I lucked into a used copy of the unabridged Rob Inglis recordings years ago at Half Price Books. Once again, despite repeated re-readings over the years (perhaps once a decade; sorry Mr Lee, I don't measure up to your devotion :>) Mr Inglis's version gave me the stories anew. If you have the patience for Tolkien, the unabridged audio can make you glad you took every phrase slowly, even the `light-weight' hobbit songs and so forth. It turns out that Mr Tolkien was quite the subtle stylist; even in his passages describing geography and flora. Mr. Inglis's recordings are entrancing, and worth the time they take.

I have loved John Le Carre's books ever since I first found a copy of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. Recently, again, in a Half Price Books store, I lucked into one of the Chivers Audio (BBC/UK) unabridged recordings with narration by the British actor Michael Jayston. These were never commercially on sale in the US except for mail order AFAIK. Once I discovered these versions, I starting buying copies of all the Le Carre books narrated by Mr Jayston. I got many of them from Ebay, a few from Amazon, and a few from the publisher, and I have perhaps 3-4 titles to go, since they are expensive. Unfortunately, audible.com has other editions, which are decent and much cheaper, but not competitive in quality to the Chivers versions IMHO.

Mr Jayston's reading of the "Quest for Karla" series blew me away. Especially in the conversations between the major characters, I would listen to a passage again and again, and each time understand more of the explosive and tightly confined emotional, social and political subtext. I had managed to gather only a surface of understanding while reading the same words on the page. I had always admired the author. I think I gravely underestimated him. And Mr. Jayston's readings expressed vocally the full measure I had been too much in a hurry to appreciate when reading print.

I now have a new theory now of why Le Carre's never really `done' a major American character in most of his works. Le Carre's understanding of the English mindset and its political and social confines, as conveyed in his fiction, is so subtle and delicate that perhaps he can't write a character from a culture outside his own with the same depth of understanding and consequence. He sees the British mind from the inside, perhaps, and he sees the American mind from the outside. I have been told that the writer Charles McCarry is able to do something similar to Le Carre in an American vein. I have purchased McCarry's existing audio library from audible, and intend to start on him when I finish my audio Le Carre library.

The best audiobooks have given me a new appreciate for what a gifted actor can do with great source material. I would not do without them.

-----------------------
E-BOOKS AND PRINT

Computers and the internet have gotten in the way of my reading more than my other habits over the years. I spend so much time online now, I've gotten in the habit of setting books and magazines aside for `later'. I sit down at the keyboard, and I'm lost for hours, the whole world is standing just behind www.google.com, and I can't tear myself from it. Reversing that habit is one reason I'm shopping for an E-Book device. If books were always with me, I might regain the addiction I had growing up, with the thousands of books I had then. I would love to use the Reader for every spare moment, the way I now use the Ipod. I'd have a better mind, no doubt, and sound less like someone trying to complete and pass an entrance exam to hell.

I used to cover such a breadth of writers and topics, and of course, with audiobooks, you can't, unless you've mastered time-travel. (Hermione, anyone?) I miss that.

I need an E-book device so I can stop feeling starved.

I might go for a Kindle just because I could possibly wheedle one out of a family member. :> Then I could just go for the upgrade treadmill when I got frustrated.

---------------------------

Is pbook shorthand for paperback?

Specific replies:

Thanks for the rec. to podiobooks and Starshipsofa, will check them out.

To Elsi, who might live near Denton: I just purchased some of the "Ladies #1 Detective Agency" series from Half Price Books; you have motivated me to get to them.

To Cassidym: I believe there are water-proof mp3 players, and Otterbox makes several very protective coverings for the Ipod. I think one of the Otterbox cases is supposed to be waterproof to the point that you can swim with an Ipod, if you're willing to test that. I know there are various waterproof headsets. I wonder if someone makes a waterproof bluetooth headset for swimming? If you were close enough, the mp3 player could stay ashore with one of those. I know various companies make underwater speakers you could hook any audio source to if you own the pool....

To daffy4u: what is free time? Can you buy that used on Ebay or at a garage sale?

Again, thanks. The people and threads here are great.

Bad weekend.....2 trips to Frys already, a Half Price Books visit, and now I'm convinced I'll die without an E-book reader. That, or back to the daily entrance exam to the dark site of the force. You are all to blame.

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Old 05-26-2008, 05:22 PM   #14
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To daffy4u: what is free time? Can you buy that used on Ebay or at a garage sale?


I've never seen it on eBay but then again I've never checked. I could sell you some of mine. I'm fortunate enough to be a freelancer who doesn't have to work everyday.

I got lucky on the price of books from Audible. I've been with them since 2001 and am a legacy member, so I get 2 books a month (always unabridged) for $16.

I'm looking forward to see what choice you make. Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by f00l View Post
Is pbook shorthand for paperback?
Actually, 'pbook' gets used for any book printed on paper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f00l View Post
To Elsi, who might live near Denton: I just purchased some of the "Ladies #1 Detective Agency" series from Half Price Books; you have motivated me to get to them.
Elsi does live near Denton! I've read each of the books in this series, pretty much as soon as they come out in hardback. I'm now about 25 pages into the latest installment, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, which I checked out of my local public library. Someday I may invest in all of these for my Kindle -- probably when I'm ready for a fast re-read through.
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