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Audiobooks: is it really the same as reading?

Audiobooks have basically gotten me through my degree.

As a third year student, studying English and American Literature with Creative Writing, I usually listen to audiobooks for leisure or work purposes. Sometimes the expectation to read several novels in a week can appear daunting, but a brilliant alternative to the process is listening to audiobooks.

However, I do not substitute audiobooks over books. I use audiobooks as a companion piece, to aid with reading my course text. Yes, what would usually take me up to a week, at best, to finish can be done instead within six hours on average; but someone reading aloud for example, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, does not allow me to know if a colon, semicolon, bracket or dash is being used. And as an English student, quotes in an essay are integral to an argument, and not being able to quote them properly would be ridiculous, simply because I would be relying on what I heard. Furthermore, it would be harder to reference the quote I am using from a text, since audiobooks do not tell you page numbers in its recordings. It is also hard to highlight a sentence or phrase that has interested you, because you are listening to a book, not reading it.

Nevertheless, audiobooks are great interchangeably for leisure. I love reading in my spare time, but when you have little to no time to read for yourself, sometimes an audiobook provides you with the opportunity to ‘read’ in your own time; while doing housework, going to the gym, or on the bus to or from university. You do not need to carry a book with you, as you are listening to the book yourself, and ideally you can get through more books on your ‘booklist’ in your own time, faster.

Usually, you can purchase an audiobook from iTunes or Audible; however, I am aware that audiobooks do not come cheap, and as poor university students there are always alternative ways to listen to audiobooks. There is an app on the app store I often use called ‘Audiobook’ – very unoriginal, I know, nevertheless, it is a free app that lets you listen to most of the classics. Or if you are lucky you can simply check on YouTube, sometimes the Audiobook you are looking for is uploaded on there. Don’t forget to also check out the library, they have audiobooks there as well. Finally, you can look on , they have an app on the iTunes Store that has many free audiobooks for you to get stuck into.

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