Nine Reasons Your Print Readers Need to Try an Audiobook

Reading Stephanie Crosby’s July post (Listen on…) about using audiobooks to help with Readers’ Advisory brought to mind some compelling reasons that die-hard print readers might be surprised to find themselves listening with rapt attention to the next story they pick up. Convince them to go audio with these 9 points.

9.  Audiobooks are great company. Forget leaving the TV on for background noise while you craft, clean or cook, and listen to a story instead.

8.  All copies of the book are out. Because audiobooks are not the go-to format for most readers, they’re often on the shelf when the printed titles have a wait list. Letting readers know that they can have the title right away if they’ll take home the audio version (or download it) can persuade them to give listening a try.

7.  There isn’t time to read the book before its due date arrives (or the assignment is due, or the book club meets, or the borrowed eBook self-destructs). The obvious advantage to reading an audiobook is that it allows for multi-tasking. Have to clean out your chicken coop, weed your yard, or embark upon an epic shopping quest at Costco? That’s no reason to stop reading, if you’ve got an audiobook with you.

6.  Vocabulary. Reading aloud to children is a strategy for vocabulary development [sources cited in linked article] in primary school. Whether the audiobook reader is a child learning to read, an English language learner, or anyone who loved testing their lexicon with Readers’ Digest vocabulary quizzes, audiobooks can introduce new words in a memorable way.

5.  Pronunciation. I hear a word read aloud in an audiobook and shudder to realize I’ve been saying it wrong for years (or, I gloat to think that the narrator flubbed it). Audiobooks give me a good example or a dire warning about correct word use and pronunciation that I don’t get when I read text.

4.  It’s nice to have someone else read to you. Hearing stories read aloud can be relaxing or energizing, and it’s always engrossing when done right. Maybe your reader remembers when a parent, a sibling, a librarian, or a teacher read aloud to them while they let their imagination create the images to go with the stories; let them relive those happy memories by recommending an audiobook.

3.  Choice of formats. Audiobooks come in a few different formats: preloaded audiobooks (Playaways), single MP3 CDs, downloadables, CD sets, and sometimes, you’ll still find tape cassettes. Your readers can choose the format that works best for their devices and activities.

2.  Motion sickness is suddenly irrelevant. Relax and keep your eye on the horizon, drift along on a cloud of Gravol-induced calm, and enjoy your book without trying to focus on jumpy text while ignoring your rolling stomach.

1.  Audiobooks let you put loud-talkers and crying babies on mute. Can’t read your book on the train because the guy two rows over is shouting into his cell phone? Put in your earbuds and let the narrator of your audiobook lead you onto another plane of existence.

Have you been successful converting readers to listeners? Tell us your tactics in the comments below.

Natalie Fouquette

Digital Services Librarian

Fraser Valley Regional Library

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