Books: Hardcopy or audio

Illustration by Kassidy Weber

Books remain supreme over audiobooks

By Kassidy Weber

Throughout the centuries, generations have passed down stories and information through the written word. As technology has progressed, different book forms have been invented to fit the latest generation, but traditional paper books still reign supreme.

When reading a hard-copy book, you can read at your own pace. While reading the words in your own head, it is easy to reread and reflect, allowing for a better understanding of what is happening in the story. It becomes a personal experience for the reader as the mind imagines the story right then and there. The images become projected in your mind, and every detail of the story becomes ever clearer. When you are listening to an audiobook you are not even reading the words itself. Reading the words help improve speech, writing, and vocabulary skills. You don’t get that practice with audiobooks.

Some may think that audiobooks help you read faster, but they don’t. Reading the story yourself is faster than being read to in a slow, boring, monotone voice. You can’t listen to an audiobook at a train station or school because you might miss important instructions with earbuds. It also makes it difficult to follow the story while being constantly distracted by the chaotic environment. Because of this, audiobooks take much longer to finish.

You can’t skim an audiobook which only makes it harder when you are searching for that specific line or phrase in a chapter when you are annotating for your classes or to better understand the book. With paper books, you’re able to mark the phrase or annotate your reading for notes and for a better understanding. Sometimes, people lend their books to others to share notes, but that interaction doesn’t work the same with audiobooks. With the freedom to mark or underline quotes or phrases, others can use that for their future reading.

Collecting audiobooks isn’t as simple as some may claim. Having an immeasurable library at your fingertips comes with a price. Generous amounts of storage are necessary to hold all the books you want, and there aren’t any features you can get for referencing notes and such. Physical books don’t require any of those additions. As long as there is enough shelf space, book lovers will make room. Books are always ready to be read, annotated and enjoyed at any time and place desired.

Books give more freedom for reading, and people aren’t limited by the restrictions and additional necessities of audiobooks. Reading a physical book will forever hold a special part in readers’ hearts that audiobooks can’t replace because the feeling of holding words is irreplaceable.  

Audiobooks accommodate readers

By Kiley Brown

Audiobooks are one of many ways to appreciate a book. They have been around since 1955 and continue to become an increasingly common way for people to enjoy their books. For those who have trouble finding time to read, this is a good way to help finish any book. In today’s day and age, audiobooks are simply more practical.

Many people don’t have enough time in the day to actually sit down and read a book. Multitasking is easy while listening to an audiobook, whether you are driving or doing chores. Audiobooks are a great alternative to staring at pages and give more freedom to do other things when it comes to managing time. Listening, rather than reading, is more efficient.

Books can get damaged, lost and take up space on your shelves, but audiobooks are available at your fingertips. Almost everyone has a cell phone and a pair of earbuds, making audiobooks easily accessible, and a growing trend is the use of a smart speaker. According to Billboard, 18 percent of Americans own a smart speaker, which has increased from the only seven percent in 2017. The use of a smart speaker has become a household staple for many. You tell the speaker a command, such as opening your audiobook; within seconds you can pick up where you left off.


Audiobooks are a great way to feel more connected to the author and makes readers feel as if they are in the same room with people they’ve never met before. The comfort of a recognizable voice will easily hold the listener’s interest. Some celebrities do voiceovers for audiobooks they have written. For example, Shane Dawson, a multi-talented YouTuber, voiced his own audiobook, “I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays,” debuting at No. 1 on The New Times Best Seller list in the Paperback Nonfiction category.

If you click on any YouTube video, you will most likely find one of the many YouTubers that promote Audible, the largest audiobook seller in the world. Although it seems like it’s been around forever, Audible only came out in July of 2016. The company sells audiobooks at $14.95 per month for 12 books a year. However, it is not the only audiobook distributor out there. Google Play brought audiobooks to the Play store in January; Android brought Kindle in 2007.

According to Pew Research Center, 23 percent of 18-23 year olds listen to audiobooks in 2018, and with technology advancing every day, that number is bound to increase. The next time you check out the library or browse the app store, consider picking up an audiobook or downloading a new app.