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Old 09-15-2018, 03:39 PM   #16
Catlady
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Audio books don't stop with life's interruptions, while e-books (and dead tree) ones wait for your eyeball to return.

I find trying to rewind to the proper place... well, Trying
Pause button?
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:57 PM   #17
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Pause button?
Exactly. But see my thread below where I'm searching for this easy-to-access pause button. I haven't quite found it yet.

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=310681
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mobama View Post
And it so happens that I mostly do non-fiction, hardly ever fiction. I am highly sensitive to when the narrator does not understand what he is reading. Non-fiction is all about intellectual understanding, just like fiction is about emotional emphasis. Neither is simply about correct pronunciation. Too bad if the narrator misses the point in either case.
I love history and listen to history audiobooks frequently. I've almost never run across the phenomenon you cite, where the author didn't understand the material and couldn't convey it properly. More typically I find narrators who read with understanding and depth. They are out there and not very hard to find at that, although obviously individual tastes will differ.

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I just can't get on with audiobooks. I don't think that I'm wired to appreciate auditory simulation. I've tried audiobooks, but I find my mind wandering and suddenly realise I just missed half a chapter.
I don't disagree that listening to audiobooks is something of a learned skill. At first I had to train my mind to come back when it started to wander, but it got easier and more automatic with practice. If you still want to give it a try, I'd suggest something light or perhaps something you've already read and enjoyed.

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An example of a good narrator IMHO, who also happens to be the books author, is Bill Bryson. I loved his reading of his own book, "In a Sunburned Country". I want to go back someday and listen to his reading of "A Walk in the Woods". But since I've already read the book (wonderful!), and seen the movie (just OK), the audiobook is a bit down towards the end of my list. Probably I will read/listen to some of his other books before circling back to listen to Woods.
Golly, different strokes. I think Bryson is awful. Mostly I think authors do themselves a disservice when they do their own narration and Bryson is a case in point. Ugh, that prissy, affected, mid-Atlantic voice!

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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Audio books don't stop with life's interruptions,
Well, they do if you listen with an app on a tethered phone or tablet. Just yank the cord. Then you don't have to look (say, if you're about to crash the car) or fiddle with controls.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:16 PM   #19
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About the only time I really think about audio books is when I'm traveling and I see the audio book displays in the truck stops. I think, "if I was driving a truck that would probably be great." But, as is, I'm always traveling with the family (on long trips) so that's about as far I get with the concept of audio books.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:27 PM   #20
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About the only time I really think about audio books is when I'm traveling and I see the audio book displays in the truck stops. I think, "if I was driving a truck that would probably be great." But, as is, I'm always traveling with the family (on long trips) so that's about as far I get with the concept of audio books.
I would say that a majority of my audiobook listening is while driving with the rest at work while doing tasks that don't require much creative thought. I have roughly a hour commute each day, that means that I go through an average of one audiobook every two weeks, some take less, some take longer.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:22 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by haertig View Post
Exactly. But see my thread below where I'm searching for this easy-to-access pause button. I haven't quite found it yet.

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=310681

Even when the device has one, the device is not in my hand or positioned with the button exposed.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:55 AM   #22
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Pause button?
Both pause and rewind/fast forward.

An open page requires no interaction when you want to pause. You just turn your eyes out to the real world and that's the pause.

Flipping back and forth occurs with page-perfect precision. Rewinding/ff-ing audio is so much harder that comparison is useless.

I am not denouncing audiobooks. I listen to plenty of audio, even though video is likely winning, such as science lectures on youtube, many audio-only. This is the kind of audiobooks I do a lot, so I know the quirks.

Last edited by mobama; 09-16-2018 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:46 AM   #23
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An open page requires no interaction when you want to pause. You just turn your eyes out to the real world and that's the pause.

Flipping back and forth occurs with page-perfect precision. Rewinding/ff-ing audio is so much harder that comparison is useless.
And when you stop reading a page for a few minutes because something comes up, when you return to your book, you eyes instantly find the exact spot where you stopped? You don't ever need to reread a paragraph or search for where you were when you were interrupted? You never ever lose your place or need to go back and refresh your memory?
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:19 PM   #24
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I began listening to audio on Caedmon records in the 1950s. They weren't complete books but plays and stories and poems. I loved them.

I was always a heavy reader of books and I never really saw any reason that one was a better format than the other.

Then sometime in the 1970s I began to get cataracts and they limited my reading. Due to an earlier eye injury they were considered inoperable till they got really bad. So I reserved what reading I could do for work and began listening to audiobooks. Given my early experience with Caedmon that was a natural.

I finally got cataract surgery in the 1990s but by then I was enjoying audiobooks and saw no reason to change until I got my first Kindle in 2009. I stopped listening and began reading.

In recent months I've begun to listen again. I'm doing both. Listening and reading; sometimes the same book and sometimes I listen to one and read another. I'm enjoying both.

I've done a lot of both over the last few decades and with one exception I can't see that either has an advantage, at least with respect to reading novels. I think I'd prefer reading non-fiction to listening although I haven't really tried that much so I'm not sure. The one advantage I think ebooks (or paper books) have is greater availability. Pretty much everything is available in print. The selection of audiobooks is very good but not nearly as great as the selection of print.

Another issue is the importance of the narrator. If the book you want to read is narrated by someone you don't enjoy listening to that can be a problem. However, if you're like me and most of the time you just look for something you'll enjoy, there are plenty of good books by good narrators so there's no real issue.

The one thing I am absolutely sure of, at least in the case of novels, is that anyone who says one format is good and the other one is bad is only talking about their own tastes, although they might not realize that.

Barry
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:08 PM   #25
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mobama, I agree that perhaps your choice of non-fiction does not lend itself well to audiobooks. As to your opinion of narrators, I think you don't have enough experience of professional narrators. The biggest problem is that the narration, even if well done, may not fit your internal voice for the character.

I do agree that text-to-speech machine narration is difficult, but some can adapt to it readily. I have no problem with it after 3-4 chapters. Since, unfortunately, this may be the only way I will be able to read books not available in audio form in a few years, I typically listen to TTS while washing dishes. Regular practice makes a difference.

I was a narrator for college science textbooks while I was in college and virtually everybody wanted me to do their book - not only could I pronounce everything, but many of the listeners reported that they could tell when I was suddenly intrigued by something I was reading. Tables, asides and footnotes - very difficult to do in a narration.

Last edited by Tarana; 09-16-2018 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:14 PM   #26
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I don't disagree that listening to audiobooks is something of a learned skill. At first I had to train my mind to come back when it started to wander, but it got easier and more automatic with practice. If you still want to give it a try, I'd suggest something light or perhaps something you've already read and enjoyed.
This is how I started with audiobooks, too. I could listen to mostly light books that were new to me or to other books I'd already read and so if I zoned out for a bit, I had a general idea where I was and what I'd missed when I tuned back in.

In the beginning, I mostly listened them when traveling the 2+ hours to visit my family. Then I moved from an apartment to a condo, and I knew if I turned on the television, I'd plunk down in front of it and not get anything done. But I could listen to audiobooks while cleaning and packing.

Now, I find I get impatient with reading because I can't do something else at the same time. There are some books I prefer in print - some because I can't stand the narrator, some because I'd just rather not have someone read them to me - but I tend to put off reading them to listen to something else.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:54 AM   #27
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I think both reading and listening can be extremely enriching experiences. I find listening a bit challenging because my attention tends to wander off sometimes. However, that was how it was when I first tried reading: it was difficult to sustain attention.

I recently listened to AJ Homes's reading of Margaret Atwood's Stone Mattress. It was a chilling experience. It felt like I was reading the short story.

In sum: I like both, but I prefer reading (but this is not because I dislike the listening, just a personal preference.)
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:59 PM   #28
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When I first started listening to audiobooks, it was hard for me to focus, but after a few, that is not an issue. I think listening-to-read is a skill that requires some training (unless your parents still read to you, etc.).

I think of them as complementary formats, and indeed, avail myself of Kindle’s ‘immersion reading/Whispersync for voice’ frequently. Even if I mostly listen, there are times I like to go to the actual text, especially if I want to make notes or highlight something.

Also one of the weaknesses of audiobook apps is the inability to Search for a phrase or word directly. The only recourse is to skip around and hope you can stumble on it. Audiobooks could have a searchable index without needing to have the complete text. Type a word or phrase and it could return locations that match up.

Thus (since I mosly partake of Amazon’s ecosystem):

I would like to see the Kindle app enhanced to be able to play audiobooks in one’s Library standalone:
- X-Ray ‘index’ overlaid so you can get a description of people, terms etc, and be able to use that to navigate to references of same, just as you can with Kindle books with X-ray feature
- ‘real’ chapter titles that align with the text’s (instead of generic ‘chapter 1, chapter 2’ that don’t necessarily correspond to book chapters) - while the narrator reads the chapter titles as they are encountered, it would be nice to use those for visual navigation as well
- Goodreads integration

Last edited by tomsem; 09-17-2018 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:05 AM   #29
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It obviously shouldn't be any kind of "ought to" issue - whatever works best for the person. Both preferences and circumstances change etc.

For me, though, I don't have a lot of time when I can listen to audiobooks, but can't read, and reading is faster - I don't have the patience to listen to someone reading out loud, when I could read the story in half the time.
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:15 PM   #30
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And when you stop reading a page for a few minutes because something comes up, when you return to your book, you eyes instantly find the exact spot where you stopped? You don't ever need to reread a paragraph or search for where you were when you were interrupted? You never ever lose your place or need to go back and refresh your memory?
I agree with him though. It's a lot harder to track back in an audiobook than it is with an ereader or paperbook. I can have Alexa take me back 5 minutes, or to Chapter 5, but I can't have her find the section where Hawk first interacted with the Weatherman*. If I was reading the book in paper or even ebook, it would be a lot easier to find (I can even use SEARCH), which yes, i can do when my title is Whispersync (in this case, yes). This isn't just Alexa, of course. The same problem occurs no matter what method you use for playing an audiobook.

For what it's worth, when I listen to an audiobook the next day, I often go back 3-5 minutes for a refresher as to what was going on. I rarely did that with paper books. In my case, it appears reading memory isn't the same as audible memory.

*Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks
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