Audio books over physical ones

Video killed the radio star, they claimed. But audio is making a comeback.

Surprisingly, audio is closer to text than video. Spoken words have more in common with written words than they do with moving pictures. Sure, TV replaced radios in households. But now, audio-books are taking their place beside physical ones.

I couldn’t get myself to listen to an entire audio book for the longest time. It was simply too slow and I could read a book faster. But that changed recently, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first full audio book.

What advantages does audio offer over over text?

First, there is mobility. Audiobooks can be listened to on-the-go with mobile phones. Books can be read on the go as well, but there is that risk of running into lampposts or the rare truck.

Besides, audio adds more life to a book, just as colour did to black-and-white TV and films.  When an author reads her own book, she emphasizes and pauses appropriately. She speaks directly to her readers rather than leaving inert characters on a page for them to interpret in their own voice. Reading the text of an interview feels like eating a sugarcane after its juice has been extracted. Listening to an interview between two people on a podcast makes you feel like you’re the invisible third person in the room.

This combination of mobility and connection with the source makes audio a powerful format that I’ll be consuming a lot more of.

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