This entry relates to how technology is changing the way we read books. Before I continue, I have to admit that I feel uneasy about calling listening to an audiobook “reading”. This is because the individual does not actually read the text, but listens to the text being read by someone else. So, for the remainder of this entry, I will refer to engaging with an audiobook as listening, rather than reading.
When choosing my audiobook, I returned to the online website of my home library (the Ottawa Public Library) as I knew of their wide range of genres for downloadable audiobooks. Even since last summer, it is evident that their digital media catalogue had grown considerably. The OPL has set up sections, including: what’s new, recently returned, popular titles, and Canadian authors.
Today, most libraries allow for accessibility of audiobooks through a range of formats, including: CDs, cassette tapes, and downloadable digital formats (MP3). Audiobooks come in fully dramatized versions of the printed books, sometimes utilizing a complete cast, music and sound effects. I prefer no extra sound effects, as it often distracts me from the text.
I choose to listen to the title ‘All Audio French” which taught the listener beginner lessons in French. I have tried to learn French via textbooks, but found this fun and interactive audiobook more effective. I especially enjoyed the tests sections after every lesson, where the speaker would ask you to give the corresponding word back in French and vice versa. I felt like I had my very own tutor! Second, I used this audiobook while travelling and not only did it make the time go by faster, but I actually learned words and sentences by the time I reached my destination. Indeed, it would be dangerous to read an actual book while driving, but audiobooks open up new possibilities for the written word. However, I have learned that some genres and titles are better for multitasking. Engaging in exercise or doing housework while listening to an audiobook may prove distracting. Engaging in other activities may take away some of your focus from the audiobook causing the individual to miss some important key parts of the book.
Overall, I find it is easier to focus on the story when the book is physically in your hands. Many other individuals may find this true too, especially seniors who may feel intimidated by this new form of ‘reading’.Yet, in my opinion the advantages of audiobooks (especially in MP3 format) outweigh the disadvantages especially for libraries. Audiobooks in MP3 format are much cheaper than other audio book methods, they occupy no physical space, and their quality is superb. Thus, knowing about this popular “reading” option is important to provide assistance to a growing number of patrons who utilize various formats of audiobooks. Not only are audiobooks useful for all of the reasons mentioned above, but they are also useful for people who do not enjoy reading, or who experience trouble reading.