Audiobooks are Easier to Abandon

I’ve written a few times about how I have a newly discovered liking for audiobooks. And it’s true. With the right book, I really do enjoy them.

However, I’ve noticed a pattern. I abandon more audiobooks than I finish. At first, I thought I was just choosing books that I didn’t like, that I would have abandoned anyway. I abandoned so many audiobooks last year that I stopped keeping track of them.

But recently, I started listening to a book I’ve wanted to read forever: A Million Junes, by Emily Henry. The book has everything I should like. It’s YA, it’s a little magical, with an interesting premise.

I made myself listen to it a few times and just… stopped.

I don’t want to keep listening to it, but I still want to read it.

And that’s when I started to look critically at the audiobooks I abandoned. They still interest me. I looked at Feed, by Mira Grant, and I realized it’s about siblings during a zombie apocalypse! What’s not to like?

But I abandoned it without a qualm an hour or so into it.

Audiobooks require an enormous amount of concentration for me. They work for me while I’m driving long stretches because I’ve been driving for a long time and can do that automatically (for the most part). But unless I’m really into it, I don’t use them for mindless chores around the house. I like quiet on my daily walks so I can hear the birds or the stream rushing. And I’m certainly not going to sit on the couch and listen to an audiobook; if I have nothing else going on, I’d much rather read it.

I think that I’ve given up on some good books because I didn’t read them in the right format. Knowing that, I’m going to go back through my list (at some point) and check them out again.

Of the books I’ve actually completed on audiobook, most of them were biographies of comedians, read by the author. These aren’t books I’d normally read, but they were interesting on audiobook. I do enjoy comedy specials, so perhaps that’s the difference? I’ve also been successful with some YA (a couple books by Rainbow Rowell, a book by Jennifer Niven) and books I’ve read before.

I think that I either need to be more selective with audiobooks or make sure I have access to the paper copy to switch back and forth. I hate wasting my time by abandoning a book an hour into it, especially if I might actually like it if I were reading to it instead of listening to it.

Does anyone else have this issue?

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6 comments on “Audiobooks are Easier to Abandon

  1. Ramona Mead says:

    I have had similar experiences. Sometimes the audio just doesn’t work for me. Usually it’s the narration voice/speed/rhythm but sometimes a story seems harder to follow that way. I’ve quit books 5min and I’ve quit 60+minutes in. I’m fairly quick to quit a print book too but I find it happens much more often with audio. Definitely read A Million Junes, it’s soooo good.

  2. I’ve very rarely listened to audiobooks, but any similar cassettes (Yes, cassettes! It’s been that long since I’ve listened to any spoken-word pieces!) were best listened to while driving. Too many distractions if I try to listen while I’m housecleaning, or doing anything else at home. As far as autobiographies go, I’d only be interested if the author was reading them.

    • doreeweller says:

      With the books I’m talking about, the authors were reading them, so yes, I agree. And I tried audiobooks back in the days of cassettes too, and couldn’t get into them then either. I think you’re right about housekeeping being too distracting. Driving seems to work best for me, but only long drives.

  3. Katerina says:

    I only listen to audio books when I know I’m going to have a chunk of time to listen to them, and most importantly when I like the narrator. A good narrator is worth his or her weight in gold. If I can’t stand the narration I get frustrated really fast. One thing I used to do when I listened to audio books was doing adult coloring books. It doesn’t distract me enough that I miss part of the book and yet I don’t feel like I’m zoning out either.

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