Audiobooks are great. They get your attention hooked once you’re into them, especially when the whole setup consists of various people acting as various characters instead of just one monotonous voice hammering words inside your ears. If you look at it, audiobooks are sort of a revival of radios with the only difference being that you get to choose what you wish to listen to. Be it a documentary on how Edward Snowden exposed several Peeping Toms or some classic detective story where the detective always pulls through any pinch he is in and solves the case while saving his allies, or, some hot and steamy erotica plots which a whole lot of people fancy, but are rarely well written. The categories are endless.
The problem with audiobooks though is how they are used by a large multitude as well as how they are being promoted. “Can’t find the time to read? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Now you can enjoy your favorite titles while you take a jog, clean your room, or while you drive to your workplace!” While there’s no doubt, that, this is how audiobooks must be sold, for they definitely have this edge over traditional books and our eBooks, this also divides the attention being given to a task. While things like songs and news are immune to this division of attention, audiobooks are not. One can easily lose track of what they were listening to and sometimes, forget to pay attention to some parts altogether, which makes an audiobook, a counterpart of a television: background noise. While audiobooks do offer options of rewinding, that in itself breaks the flow of a story.
The world around us is striving to get a lot of things done in very little time, and while technological revolution is taking place almost every month or so, the biological evolution in humans is yet to keep pace with everything that is happening. While it’s true that we can multitask and maneuver through our daily routines, it should be limited to daily chores and not to tasks like listening to an audiobook. Attention spans of people are plummeting like anything today, and adding another task while you are listening to a book and not some song that you’ve streamed countless times really gets in the way of absorbing the material.
We must be careful not to mix a leisurely activity with work, as it not just reduces the quality of our work and increases room for error, but it also takes away the rejuvenating factor of the things which could’ve relaxed and entertained us in our free time. There is also the problem that not all books reproduced as audiobooks retain the same quality as their printed peers. While I cherish original audiobooks and documentaries, I’m not that big a fan of books reproduced as audiobooks. These audiobooks which a lot of the time flatten the quality of the original book are shoveled down our ears via streaming platforms because it has become a profitable business, and as long as something mints paper, there will be little to no attention paid to its quality. Not all books sound that well when spoken out by people. Just the way not all movies live to the hype created by the books. While a book can be read at its own pace, with each character sounding differently in everyone’s imagination, audiobooks diverge that vibrant spectrum into a linear perspective.
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