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Why people hate audiobooks

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Plenty of people hate audiobooks. What are some of the top reasons why people hate listening to an audiobook, and what can you do to overcome the issue?

Table of Contents

A lot of people love audiobooks. These people believe audiobooks are a convenient way to listen to a book in the car while on a road trip, while other people like listening to an audiobook because they have a hard time reading some of the words in a physical book.

On the flip side, there are plenty of people who hate audiobooks. And that’s okay — there are some very valid reasons to dislike audiobooks. Are you curious what those might be? We were too. Read on to learn more about why some people hate audiobooks.

Reasons people hate audiobooks

1. It’s difficult to focus on audiobooks

One of the most common issues readers have with an audiobook is that it’s hard to focus on. Regardless if it’s a non-fiction book or your best friend’s favorite beach read, everyone processes content in different ways. Some people are visual learners, while other people are audio learners. If you are not an audio learner, you may have a difficult time focusing on an audiobook narrator. In this case, you might be better off with a physical book, or a Kindle instead.

2. Listening to an audiobook is like cheating

Some people think listening to an audiobook is cheating. When a new book is released, there’s something special about holding a physical copy of it in your hand, seeing the words on the page, and getting immersed in the story. There are readers who feel like listening to the audio version on Audible or other audiobook platforms just isn’t the same. If you feel like listening to a podcast about newly released books is also cheating, you’re not the only one. Those like you might be better off with physical books or an e-reader.

3. Audiobooks cost too much

There’s no way around it: audiobooks can be very expensive. In many cases, audiobooks are more expensive than physical books because the audio companies have to pay for someone to narrate the entire book, from start to finish. In some situations, audiobooks might be more expensive because specific voice actors are hired, particularly for books in the science fiction genre. If you want to save money, you might be better off with physical versions of your books instead.

4. They fall asleep quickly

While some book lovers enjoy listening to audiobooks, others simply fall asleep when they try. It’s similar to how some people could easily pay attention in high school, while others fell asleep as soon as the teacher began to talk. There’s nothing wrong with audiobooks putting you to sleep. You just might have better luck reading a real book instead of listening to a book on tape.

5. Saving quotes is difficult

There is nothing better than reading a story that really speaks to you. Unfortunately, there’s no way to snip quotes from an audiobook to save them for later. An audio version simply doesn’t allow for that. For people who quote material often — writers, bloggers, and teachers, to name a few — this can be a dealbreaker. While you can rewind the audiobook to listen to specific quotes again, it’s simply not the same as marking the text in a physical book. If you like to save quotes from the books you read, you might want to buy the physical copies from Amazon instead.

6. Narrators sound like robots

Another common reason people hate audiobooks is that the narrators sound like robots. Great narration, and consideration of the material, can make a significant difference in the quality of an audiobook. For example, the narrator for the audio version of a Sci-Fi book is probably not going to deliver the same experience as the narrator for a self-help book would. If you’re not a fan of the voice actor or narrator chosen for the story, you might want to opt for the physical copy instead.

This is the perfect time to let you know that you should try listening to this blog post — turn it into an audiobook instantly! All you need to do is scroll up and click the blue “Listen to this story” button just below the title of the blog. Speechify uses text-to-speech to convert the web page text into an audio version. The voices Speechify uses aren’t robotic, but sound natural and human instead. Play with the settings and voices, and see what you think!

7. They give up music

Whether it’s during their daily commute on the New York City subway, or on a long road trip with their extended family, a lot of people listen to audiobooks in the car. This is also a common place to listen to music. If you love listening to music, you may feel like you have to give up the music you love in order to listen to an audiobook. If you listen to podcasts, you might also have to give up listening to those. As a podcast or music lover, audiobooks might not be for you.

8. Narrators impact how the book is interpreted

Reading books is a great experience — part of that is interpreting the book for yourself. However, sometimes the style or inflection of the narrator can influence how you interpret the book. You might not want to be pushed in a certain direction as you read the story. Interpreting the story for yourself is part of the experience, so valuing that may give you a reason to avoid audiobooks.

9. Forming mental pictures is influenced

When you read a book for the first time, you imagine what the character looks and sounds like. If you listen to an audiobook, some of this is already decided for you. The voice of the narrator can directly influence how you perceive the appearances of individual characters, particularly if you know what the narrator looks like. If you want to avoid this problem, you should consider reading a physical copy of the book instead.

10. Medical issues get in the way

Certain medical issues can make it difficult for people to interpret what is being said in an audiobook. For example, some people suffer from an auditory processing disorder like Central Auditory Processing Disorder — they do not hear things the same way others do. Their ears and brain don’t coordinate smoothly, so processing auditory information happens less quickly than processing written information. Because of this, it‘s understandable why audiobooks might not be the best option for people with specific medical conditions.

While a lot of people love to use Libby and OverDrive to get through their TBR list (or ”to-be-read” list, for less avid readers), this might not be the best option for everyone. Some people, like individuals with dyslexia and other language challenges, may gravitate towards audiobooks. Audiobooks provide an easier reading experience for those whose processing of written information isn‘t as fast.

Readers that hate audiobooks

As a reader, it‘s just as acceptable to prefer physical books to audiobooks as it is to prefer classics to best sellers. Just because you dislike audiobooks doens’t make you any less of a reader. If you‘re looking for new ways to enjoy books, consider using Speechify, Goodreads, or Scribd. And if you’re curious about why certain readers love audiobooks, we’ve got some info on the benefits of audiobooks in a previous post.


The most common questions people ask about audiobooks include:

1. What are the disadvantages of audiobooks?

There are a few disadvantages of audiobooks. Some readers feel like they have a difficult time picturing the character for themselves, while other people don’t like having the pace of the book dictated to them.

2. Why do people look down on audiobooks?

Some people look down on audiobooks because they feel like processing the book through a program like Audible is cheating. Instead of doing the work to read the words, audiobook lovers enjoy the convenience of having the words spoken to them.

3. Are audiobooks better than regular books?

Audiobooks might be better than regular books in the opinion of some people. For example, people with dyslexia have a hard time reading written words, so listening to an audiobook might be a better experience for them. Others disagree and prefer the experiences associated with physical books, like holding their place with a bookmark.

4. Why do people think audiobooks are for lazy people?

While it’s an untrue statement, some people believe audiobooks are for lazy people because they don’t have to uncover the story for themselves — someone narrates the story for them.

5. What is the best way to listen to an audiobook?

There may not be a single best way to listen to an audiobook, but lots of people love listening to an audiobook in the car or while doing house chores.

6. How do people feel about audiobooks?

There are plenty of people who love audiobooks because they find them more convenient, particularly for re-reading. Other people don’t like audiobooks because they have a hard time paying attention to the narrator.

7. Do you think audiobooks are better than traditional reading?

It’s a matter of personal preference — there is no one right answer. Some people have an easier time focusing on the story when it’s narrated for them, while other people enjoy holding a physical book in their hands.

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