Donated books are seen in the UI main library on July 11, 2018. (Michael Aragon/The Daily Iowan)

Point/Counterpoint: Do you prefer books or audio books?

Two DI columnists advocate for their preferred method of reading

February 19, 2019

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Traditional books offer a more enjoyable experience


As an avid reader, nothing compares to reading books in print as opposed to listening to audiobooks.

I try to read something for enjoyment before going to bed every night. It’s not always possible, but when it is, I prefer to reach for a book off my shelf rather than an audiobook.

For me, it’s exciting to mark pages that I might need to refer to or that have made an impact on me in some small way. I understand the need for audiobooks, especially on a long car ride home or while cooking or cleaning, but at the end of a long day, nothing compares to opening up the pages of any masterpiece created by C.S. Lewis.

I also find that sharing print copies is a sentimental gesture and appreciate when I can hand a book off to a friend or family member to enjoy just as much as I do. That gift is something impossible to do with an audiobook.

To be honest, my schedule could probably benefit from reading from audiobooks as opposed to traditional books. I make time in my day to listen to at least two podcasts and could easily replace both with audio books. There’s just something about re-reading old annotations, seeing the progress you’ve made on a large novel, and having your favorite author fill the space of your bookshelf that makes physical copies much more enjoyable than listening to a narrator through a speaker.

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Audio books are an easy, yet exciting way to read


As an English major, I read a lot. Like a lot a lot. So when it comes to cramming in a whole book in a matter of a day or two, audio books are a great way finish that task while also doing other day-to-day activities.

Audio books are an easy way to get through many chapters in each sitting and can also offer a thrilling experience. Many audio books are read aloud by A-list celebrities or even the authors themselves.

These exciting recordings can add a certain flair and understanding that may be lost on a reader if they simply read the words on the page. There’s something about a dramatic reading that really packs a punch.

A prime example of a unique audio recording is World War Z by Max Brooks. This book is a collection of fictional interviews with people after a defeated zombie apocalypse. It lends itself to an amazing recording because it has great A-list actors reading the interviews, such as Mark Hamill, Common, and award-winning film director Martin Scorsese.

This way of experiencing literature is an excellent way of passing the time on long drives as well. With a couple hundred-mile drive, hearing audio books such as The Lord of the Rings may be a welcome distraction.

Audio books should not be dismissed as a poor way to read novels. In addition to listening to them in tandem with daily chores, they’re also a great option that can help individuals with visual or learning disabilities.  Overall, they’re a great option.

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