Audiobooks: Yay Or Nay?

Shutterstock / Netrun78 © audiobooks

One of our recent book club sessions turned into a lively discussion, not about the book we’d read, but about audiobooks!

A good fraction of the group likes to listen to audiobooks and the rest stick to the traditional way. I fall into the second group. It’s not because I have anything against them, but because I find it so difficult to follow the story in an audio format.

In one ear and out the other!

This is surprising because I absolutely love podcasts. I can follow along while I potter around doing housework or cooking. They’re a great way to stay entertained when driving, too.

But, for some reason, when I try to listen to a fictional story, I just can’t concentrate. The words go in one ear and out the other. My mind grasps on to one word and drifts off into the land of imagination. I find myself having to rewind constantly in order to catch up on what I’ve missed.

Then the process repeats.

I’m not sure why they don’t work for me. I wish they would as it would mean I’d be able to read a book while I get other things done!

It sparks great discussions

It’s always interesting when the book club is split in opinion. Sometimes, those who listen to the audiobook don’t enjoy the book as much as those who read the physical book.

We always wonder why that is. It sparks great discussions!

Sometimes the answer is clear – the narrator isn’t the best! But sometimes we can only think that certain books don’t translate into audio as well as others.

This seems strange – shouldn’t any book, in theory, be read-out-loud-able?

We still haven’t found an answer to this one, but we have many more book club sessions still to come. When we figure it out, we’ll let you know!


According to the audiobook aficionados in our book club, there can be different types of narrator. The usual is just the one narrator, but sometimes there are whole hosts of actors (some very famous!) who read different characters.

It’s also expanded their reading horizons. They no longer only choose books based on what they like and their favourite authors, but by their favourite narrators, too.

It leaves me wondering how many of our own readers love a good audiobook. If you’re one of the lucky who can listen without losing the plot, then there seem to be great benefits!

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.