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Why audiobooks are better for you than podcasts

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Why audiobooks are better for you than podcasts

In today's digital age, audio content has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. From podcasts on Spotify to audiobooks on Audible, consumers have a plethora of options right at their fingertips. Yet, when it comes to the battle of audiobooks vs. podcasts, which stands supreme? Let’s dive in.

What are audiobooks?

Audiobooks are simply the audio version of physical books. They are typically read by authors or professional narrators and are available on platforms like Speechify Audiobooks, Amazon's Audible, OverDrive, and even local library apps. Whether you're diving into the wizarding world with Harry Potter or engaging with a New York Times bestseller, audiobooks provide a high-quality, immersive experience.

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are audio programs, much like radio shows, which can cover a multitude of topics. Podcast episodes can range from news roundups to deep dives into specific subjects. They can be found on a variety of platforms including Apple Podcasts for iOS users, Spotify, and other podcast apps suitable for Android.

Benefits of podcasts

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, podcasts have surged as a leading form of audio entertainment, offering listeners a versatile buffet of content that caters to every imaginable interest. As their popularity continues to grow, here are just some of the benefits podcasts bring to the table:

  • Variety — With podcasts, there's always something new. New episodes drop regularly, ensuring fresh content for listeners. From in-depth interviews and expert discussions to enthralling stories and educational tidbits, podcasts provide an enriching auditory experience.
  • Short & sweet — Unlike an entire book, podcast episodes are often concise, making them perfect for short commutes. These accessible, often bite-sized episodes can be consumed on-the-go, seamlessly integrating into the bustling lives of modern-day individuals.
  • Bonus content — Some of the best podcasts offer bonus episodes, giving listeners more of what they love.

Benefits of audiobooks

Audiobooks have emerged as a refreshing bridge between the time-honored tradition of storytelling and the convenience of modern technology. These immersive audio narratives, encapsulating everything from classic literature to the latest bestsellers, offer a unique blend of entertainment and education. Here are just some of the benefits audiobooks bestow upon their listeners.

  • Full immersion — Audiobooks provide the experience of reading books without the need for physical books. They allow for deep engagement with the content.
  • Multitasking — While audiobook listeners engage with entire books, they can also multitask—whether it’s working out, cooking, or driving.
  • Range — From short stories to lengthy novels, audiobooks offer content that can span hours, suiting different moods and time availabilities.

Why audiobooks are better than podcasts

While both audiobooks and podcasts have their merits, audiobooks arguably offer a richer experience. Unlike podcasts, which can sometimes feel like Netflix — constantly searching for the next great show — audiobooks provide a consistent, deep-dive into a singular topic or story. While podcast listeners might hop from one episode to another, audiobook listeners commit to hours of content, allowing for a deeper connection and understanding. Audiobooks also offer:

  • Professional narration — Audiobooks are usually read by professional narrators or the authors themselves, ensuring a high-quality listening experience. This is not always the case with podcasts.
  • Uninterrupted listening — Unlike many podcasts, audiobooks are generally free of ads or promotions within the content, providing an uninterrupted listening experience.
  • Consistent quality — With audiobooks, especially those from renowned publishers, there's a certain level of quality assurance. Podcasts can vary widely in production quality.
  • Educational value — There are numerous educational audiobooks specifically designed for learning, from languages to academic subjects.
  • Length flexibility — While some may see the longer length of audiobooks as a drawback, for others it's a plus. The extended length can be great for long commutes, flights, or other scenarios where you want sustained engagement with a single piece of content.
  • Ownership — When you purchase an audiobook, it's often yours to keep forever. Many podcast platforms are shifting towards subscription models where content may become inaccessible if you stop paying.
  • Literary engagement — For those who want to engage with literature but struggle to find the time to read, audiobooks offer a way to experience novels, non-fiction, and other written works in an accessible format.

What happens to your brain when you listen to audiobooks?

Engaging with audiobooks stimulates the brain similarly to reading text. It promotes focus, increases vocabulary, and enhances imagination. The brain visualizes characters, settings, and plots, turning an audio file into a vivid mental movie. This cognitive engagement stands as a testament to the power of the audio format. Here are just a few more ways audiobooks can positively impact your brain:

  1. Auditory processing — Your brain's auditory cortex is stimulated, as it processes the spoken words and interprets the meaning. This is the same area of the brain that processes any other kind of auditory information.
  2. Imagination and visualization — Just like reading, listening to an audiobook can stimulate the imagination. As the narrative unfolds, you might create mental images of characters, settings, and events. This engages the brain's visual processing areas even though you're not looking at images.
  3. Emotion processing — The brain's limbic system, especially the amygdala, may be activated when you are engaged in a particularly emotional or dramatic part of a book. The intonation, pacing, and emotion in a narrator's voice can also influence how emotional content is perceived and processed.
  4. Increased attention and focus — Listening attentively requires concentration, so areas of the brain involved in attention and focus are activated. This might include parts of the prefrontal cortex and the parietal lobe.
  5. Language processing and vocabulary — Listening to audiobooks can help in vocabulary acquisition and language processing. The brain's Broca's and Wernicke's areas, both essential for language comprehension and production, are stimulated.
  6. Memory — Your hippocampus, vital for memory formation, is engaged when listening to an audiobook. Remembering plot points, characters, and details involves both short-term and long-term memory processes.
  7. Neuroplasticity — This refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt. Engaging in activities that stimulate the brain, like listening to audiobooks, can strengthen neural pathways and even create new ones.
  8. Engaging different cognitive processes — Unlike reading, where you can control the pace, audiobooks proceed at a set pace. This can challenge your brain to process information at that pace, potentially strengthening listening and comprehension skills.
  9. Relaxation and stress reduction — For many people, listening to audiobooks can be a calming activity. Engaging stories can distract from stress and anxiety. The act of listening can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping the body relax.
  10. Multitasking — Often, people listen to audiobooks while doing other tasks like driving, exercising, or housework. This can engage the brain's executive functions as it tries to manage and prioritize multiple activities at once.

Speechify Audiobooks — #1 source of audiobooks for relaxation

As the sun sets and day turns into night, many of us struggle with drifting off into a deep and restful slumber. However, thanks to Speechify Audiobooks, you can now fall asleep to the soothing sound of an engaging book being read to you. From the comfort of your bed, you can escape into a world of literature and slowly drift off into a peaceful sleep. Whether you want a classic novel, a self-help book, or even the latest bestseller, Speechify Audiobooks has an extensive library of options from which to choose. The platform even has a sleep timer that will ensure your spot is saved when you drift away, making it easy to pick up where you left off in the morning.

Say goodbye to tossing and turning and hello to a good night’s sleep with Speechify Audiobooks by signing up and checking out your first premium audiobook for free.


Is listening to audiobooks as effective as actual reading?

Listening to audiobooks can be as effective as reading, depending on the individual's learning style and the nature of the content.

Is reading or audiobooks better for your brain?

Neither reading nor audiobooks is inherently "better" for the brain; their benefits vary based on individual preferences, goals, and contexts.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.