Reading or Listening
Audio books have been growing in numbers for the last few years at a steady pace, but this last year according to ‘The Guardian’ in the UK, ‘Sales of consumer audiobooks, which have ridden a wave of increasing popularity over the years, surged 42% to £56m in the first half – easily on track to beat the record £97m set last year.’
As an author who has moved into the narrating world, this is good news! When I first began to tentatively learn narration a number of years ago, for one of my books, ‘Freya’s Child’, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand the jargon, and when I listened back, it all sounded, well, let’s be frank, absolutely awful! But then I spent a few weeks learning programmes, tuning my equipment, doing tests after test to find what worked and what didn’t, and voila, I re-did the whole book again and put it out into the world. It is on ACX, Nook and so many other places that offer digital books.
From this I opened an account with Voquent and Findaway Voices, put a few narration samples on it and held my breath.
I can remember my first audition. I was literally thrown in at the deep end. ‘Can you do accents?’
‘Yes, I can try.’
‘Oh great, could you do a whole book in Irish accents?’
I vaguely remember hyper-ventilating. Heart racing, and then auditioning and yes, I actually did it. ‘Fianna’s Awakening’ by Ron. C. Nieto, a fantasy book of warrior elves and myth if anyone wants to check it out and listen to my first paid challenge.
Moving on from there, I narrated a book about ‘Getting over divorce’ and narrated more of my own books, Between Worlds, a paranormal psychological thriller and my faerie books, as well as my award-winning historical novel, Diary of Margery Blake. These caught the attention of Findaway Voices who offered me a twelve book narration deal. To narrate the classics of Jane Austin, Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and more.
So, which do you prefer, reading the book, or listening to the book?
I will be honest, I have never enjoyed having a story ‘read’ to me. I prefer to delve into the pages myself. As a child I was given twenty minutes at bedtime to lose myself in the beautifully illustrated Ladybird easy reading books such as Rumpelstilskin and Cinderella and so many more. My mother gave up trying to read me to sleep as I’d squirm about, not listening, and besides, she convinced herself that these mini sessions of reading is how my journey into being an author began and she congratulated herself on that score!
But each person has their own way of enjoying books. I have many friends who enjoy listening to stories whilst driving, or doing the housework, or just taking that time, at the end of a long day, to switch off, make a cup of tea, lie on the couch, and just, listen.
At length I have found many pros and cons to listening or reading books.
No need to stop what you’re doing.
Can enjoy an adventure while driving, housework, lying in bed etc
Apparently, according to Audio publishers Association, ‘Audio books help build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, language acquisition, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and comprehension—skills that often boost reading scores.’
Your eyes can relax with audio books.
Listening to audio can help our sleep patterns. Helping us to ‘nod off’ as our mind and eyes become relaxed, ready for a good night’s sleep.
Outside noise might interrupt the enjoyment.
You might miss information if having to concentrate on doing stuff, like driving and it’s hard to go back to exactly where you were.
The narrator’s voice does not connect with you and you stop listening.
The narrator is too slow for you, as you want to ‘get to the conclusion’ quicker! And the experience becomes a chore, instead of a joyful one.
Being able to be fully immersed in the book. Reading, touching the pages, smelling the paper, all helps us to become more connected with the story.
Reading strengthens the brain. Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.
Reading proves to build your vocabulary.
Reduces stress as readers can leave their world behind and delve into the pages of another. Also relieves depression. British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton once wrote, “Consolation from imaginary things is not an imaginary consolation.” People with depression often feel isolated and estranged from everyone else. And that’s a feeling books can sometimes lessen.
And according to some studies, reading can help you live longer… just don’t be reading when you step out into traffic!?
Reading can damage your eyesight so be aware that you may need glasses, don’t squint in the darkness or read via a torch!
Reading a book can seriously damage your health whilst driving or moving heavy objects!
Reading can immerse you into another world; just don’t forget the one you live in…?
So in conclusion, I see many benefits of listening and reading books. I think the main point to make is that you are listening or reading, and immersing yourself in adventures and learning information. I believe that is what is important. So, enjoy.
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