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A Case For Audiobooks

Old school printed books and e-books sales remain flat in the last five years, while Audiobook sales have shown an increase.

Such figures show that people are shifting towards audio formats of books.

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Audiobooks allow the listeners to get the meaning without the use of their eyes, which books require.

Reading as a skill is 'skipped' while listening to audiobooks, though it is ideal for people with dyslexia, those who cannot 'decode' the written word.

The reading act, which requires focus, and which makes us stop, think and re-read is somehow only confined to books, as a study proves that retention is higher with books than with podcasts.

The audio format also misses some key visual aspects of fonts paragraphs and headings, that are available in books.

Context Wins

Audiobooks seem to win on prosody. The pitch, stress, and tempo of the spoken word are missing in books, which can affect the meaning of the content.

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The Difference Between Reading Listening To A Book

There is no real difference between listening to a book and reading as the mental processes involved are the same. Studies show that listeners and readers retain about equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed.

There are slight differences between them, one being that it’s really easy for your mind to wander when you’re listening to an audiobook, but some scientists believe it amounts to the same as the involuntary rereading eye movements we do while reading.

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Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Speed reading uses methods such as chunking, scanning, reducing subvocalization, and using meta guiding. For example, reading the first sentence of each paragraph can indicate if it's worth reading more or to move on. Or guiding your eye by using your finger.

Some researchers looked into speed reading and found there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy.