It’s a great way to keep up your reading pace. In particular, I’ve found that audiobooks are great for me for classics – actually the first audiobook I listened to was a dramatization of Emma by Jane Austen, which was free to download on LibriVox. I can find classics really hard to get through, because though I find the language used beautiful, it can trip me up in reading. Reading usually tires me – I KNOW, FOR SHAME AND I WISH IT DIDN’T – especially when the language is a bit dense. The audiobook helped me keep up with it – keep reading at the least, and knowing how many hours I had left ensured that I would finish by my book club meeting.
Great narrators can make a story so much more fun. Seriously, I didn’t expect it, but then I listened to Ready Player One, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton. He just completely brought that character to life. He embodied all the geekery, sarcasm, and snark and poured it into his narrations and it was FAB. I was laughing out loud like a maniac. He’s brilliant. And I’ve heard stellar things about Neil Gaiman as a narrator as well, which I fully believe (I mean, the British accent alone).
Dual POV novels with two narrators can avoid the “they sound the same” issue. I listened to Allegiant, and while a big complaint for print readers was that Four and Tris sounded identical, I didn’t have that issue. Of course, having two narrators doesn’t mean they’re both GOOD narrators, and I found it a bit awkward when Four’s narrator went into a falsetto for dialogue from female characters, but it was easier to keep track of whose POV it was.
I can’t listen to them just before bed. This is more personal, but I’m notoriously bad in that I fall asleep with the TV on all the time. While reading before bed and falling asleep midway a page is no problem, audiobooks are iffy because you completely lose your place. Rewinding is hard, and just.. yeah.
They can get addictive as all hell. Because by default the audiobook keeps playing, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss chapter breaks and natural stopping points. It takes some getting used to, and I think I’m getting there, but it can still get a little overwhelming. Sometimes you’re just tempted to lie on the couch and listen for hours – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if your goal was productivity and multitasking… oops. In the midst of my audiobook binge I almost didn’t feel like picking up an actual book anymore, because having someone read to me was admittedly easier.
They are, unfortunately, expensive. The cost is a major downside, but, well, there’s a lot of production involved, obviously. You can of course sign up for Audible so you can get one audiobook per month for $15 – which I think is reasonable, but then you do need some self-discipline about making those audiobooks last and not binging them like I am. (Again, oops.)
Sometimes audiobook series change narrators halfway through and it sucks. This is what I’m currently suffering through while listening to Blood Promise, the 4th book in the Vampire Academy series. I loved the narrator of the 2nd and 3rd books because she perfectly captured Rose’s personality to me. Now a new narrator has come in who does accents for the characters, and while a Russian accent for Dimitri is fitting, it sounds a bit awkward. And she’s doing a HORRIBLE British accent for Adrian which makes me want to cry. I need to get used to this new lady, and I hope it won’t affect my overall liking of the book =/
If you can’t do it well, then NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Sometimes full cast audiobooks exist and they are awesome. Seriously, it made listening to Emma so much fun, because Knightley had just the most drool-worthy voice. I could listen to him aaaaaaaaall day.
If you’re skeptical:
Consider trying an LibriVox audiobook. LibriVox does audiobooks of books that are in the public domain – aka classics. They’re crowdsourced, so the quality and production value is a bit lower than retail audiobooks, but it can give a great impression of whether having books read to you is something for you.