Current Addiction: Audiobooks

My Childhood Superhero is not dead. Not yet. He just turned out to be an ordinary human with some grave mistakes; like me, like you, like everyone else. Truth is, he never ask to be some kind of a hero. He doesn’t even know that he is. However, no matter what happened, I chose to live in that childish dream.. and I don’t want to wake up.

—–self quote, 03/05/14

Hi everyone. It’s really nice to ‘meet’ you again, finally.

I thought I was going to begin with apologetic sentence about why I stopped writing for God knows how long..(almost a year. a long and exhausting year) but what came after that just sounded like a poor excuse even for me, as the sentence-writer, so I took it back. After all, when I am lazy in writing, I am the one with disadvantages the most. Being anxious and unable to express my self and depressed and so on.

So I decided to start with something I found in the inner workings of my mind: a pathetic self quote.

However, I realize that I still owe you all an apology for being late on replying comments. Seriously, and I am the one that wanted them–the comments. I mean, I still want them, of course! All of your comments are so precious for me. Even the spams. (No, I am joking really. For all spammers: YOU WISH.) I am sincerely very sorry about replying comments so late.. I will reply faster next time, I promise I am working on it. Please keep commenting🙂

Let’s get going. Today I will talk about audiobooks.

What is so special about it?

Basically an audiobook is an audio version of book. Therefore instead of reading it, you can just listening to it. For someone who works with computer screen for approximately 8 hours a day; and spending about an hour or more from home to work and vice versa everyday like me, audiobook is like a miracle substitute of physical book and ebook.

I used to read ebooks to kill time on my trip from and back home.. and I ended up made myself dizzy. I already have myopia and I don’t want to make it worse so I tried to stop reading on a moving vehicle. Sometimes killing time can be done by listening to music, sure, but it just feels so unproductive—besides, I am a person who can easily get bored of some music, even after storing 999 songs on my music library.

I also thought that audiobook is a magnificent help for people who can not read books because of physical disability. Although I do not know for sure since there are also braille books out there.. so it’s just a guess.

How to ‘read’ an audiobook?

As far as I know, audiobooks could be in various formats, some of them are: mp3, m4a, and m4b.

They all could be played on PC, using any compatible programs (itunes or other music player). But since I mostly listen to it while ‘traveling’ from one place to another, I prefer listening to my audiobooks on mobile device. In my case, I am using iphone 3gs—an old phone that I still can’t move on from—and iTools as file manager software. I had different experiences with those 3 audiobook formats:

m4a in Voice Memo

The first time I had a full audiobook was in m4a format. Before, I only had some excerpt of audiobooks on audible app. As an m4a file, the audiobook’s format was similar to some of my song files, so actually I am sure I could just copied it along with other songs and listened to it through music player (as one of music tracks), but I don’t want to put it together with songs. I like to keep it separately, since sometimes I shuffle my music tracks, and I don’t want to suddenly listening to an audiobook when I was expecting music.

So instead, I copied it to Voice Memo. BAD IDEA. I mean, I can listen to it, but in a not very comfortable way. Forget about fast-forwarding or replaying the last sentence. My finger seems to be too large because a slight touch could bring it to a dozen minutes away from my current reading position. It was beyond annoying. The user interface was not very suitable for an audiobook either–in my opinion. It was like deceiving my iphone into thinking that I was copying a recorded audio file, which was about 5 hours long, then listening to it like it was a extremely long music.

m4b in Audiobooks

If you open the music player on iphone, and tap on the right bottom corner icon—the triple dots with ‘More’ label under it—you would find the Audiobooks tab. Sometimes this tab did not show up until you actually copy an audiobook file on it, but basically it was there by default.

My first expectation on this format was quite high, since the ‘m4b’ format made it seems like it was made specifically for audiobook purpose. Well, it surely has a much better user interface. The audiobook’s cover image was showed up on my iphone everytime I listen to it. Moreover, there was the 15-seconds playback, as well as 15-seconds fast forward feature. I’d say this is an essential feature in audiobook experience.

Unfortunately, once I paused the audiobook to listen to music tracks, the audiobook always started over from the beginning. So I have to remember how far I was on the track, because it did not resume my progress. It was practically as annoying as the voice note experience.

FYI there are some people talked about this on web, some of them even claimed that the problem solved. You could check it out here or here or.. somewhere else on google. (Since I refuse to synchronize my iphone with itunes, I haven’t find anything helpful, sadly.)

mp3 in Podcasts

Currently, this is my favourite way to read an audiobook. Best user interface (pretty much similar to audiobooks), the 15 minutes fast-forward and playback, AND it always resume exactly where I left it off even after I listened to music tracks, so I won’t worry about anything.

Conclusion

PROS:

  • A life saver for multitasking maniac. Audiobook can be enjoyed while doing something else that does not require full concentration, such as: daily chores (floor sweeping, doing dishes, washing, cooking, et cetera), sitting on a vehicle for a long trip, jogging, and many more.
  • It feels like watching a movie with no picture. Or a radio-drama (you know, sometimes a radio announcer–or some of them–reading a story on air. Have you heard of it?) in a less exaggerated version.
  • It could improve your language skill, if you listen to an audiobook in a foreign language and you’re eager to learn how to speak fluently.
  • Faster reading duration. Based on my personal experience, I finished an audiobook faster than an ebook or physical book, with approximately the same length/ word count.

CONS:

  • The file size is much larger than the ebook (pdf or mobi or epub) versions.
  • Just like the quality of a movie that depends on its casts, an audiobook’s quality also depends on how good the narrator(s) did their artwork. Anyway, an audiobook also needs a director.
  • The last point of “PROS” may not applied to people who have ‘fast reading’ ability.. or maybe they who have visual learning style. Anyway, have you heard about learning styles? I remember wrote a paper about it back in high school, senior year. There is a theory about how people learn things better by one or more styles and not that good on another styles. One of my friend actually refused my audiobook recommendation because she believes she has visual learning style, and not that great in aural (musical-auditorial) style. So she prefer reading an actual book. No offense, sro!🙂

Some fictional novels I’m glad that I read them through audiobooks are..

  • DIVERGENT series : Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Narrated by Emma Galvin and Aaron Stanford (in Allegiant)
  • UGLIES series : Uglies, Pretties, and Specials by Scott Westerfeld. Narrated by
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Narrated by Kate Rudd

2 thoughts on “Current Addiction: Audiobooks

    • whoa. I haven’t read any horror books for a long time.. But thank you for suggesting!
      I’ll listen to the audiobook as soon as I get my hands on it🙂

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