Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heard Any Good Books Lately?

Recently I have read several blogs asking readers about their preferences between the traditional format of “real” books and electronic version (both PDF and Kindle). The electronic formats definitely had an audience, but readers responding to these questions still seemed to prefer the feel of a traditional book in hand as they read.

Probably like many of you, I often find myself over-extended with all the things that need to be done in a day. There are occasions when it is very difficult to find as much time to read as I would like. One way I have found around this problem is listening to the audio version of books. When I am on my commute or going to be in the car for an extended period of time I have discovered audio books can help me satisfy my urge to read. I have to admit, there are some audio books that are head and shoulders above the rest. Jim Dale, for instance, is the narrator in the Harry Potter series and he truly makes the books come to life. He actually does voices for the characters (there are literally hundreds of characters throughout the series). It reminds me of tapes I have heard of the old radio shows before the age of television. You can virtually see the story as it is narrated for you.

Unfortunately, not all books are recorded in this manner. There are many that recorded with a narrator that simply reads the book…in a v-e-r-y monotone voice. I do not recommend listening to this while driving. There is even one book I listened to that the narrator tried to do voices. Unfortunately he only had two voices besides his own…Elmer Fudd and Bill Clinton. I ended up going to the library to check out the traditional paper book of Prey by Michael Crichton. Elmer Fudd narrating a book on nanotechnology just doesn’t do it for me.

What are your feelings about audio books? From an authoring point of view, I would definitely want approval rights on anyone narrating my book. Just a thought...

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I enjoy audio books and agree with you that the narrator makes a huge difference.

Downloading a book to an Ipod is my favorite thing now--I can listen and do housework at the same time.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Alexis Grant said...

I know all these other formats of books are out there, but I'm a regular-old-book kind of gal! My parents, though, are really into audio books for long drives.

Karen Walker said...

Several friends rave about audio books on long drives, but I have to admit I've never tried it. I prefer singing in the car. Thanksfully, my husband doesn't mind! I'm just so old-fashioned when it comes to books.

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Elizabeth,
As busy as life gets, I think it is a great way to still get the benefit of the book even though I am multi tasking.

Alexis - I agree, my first preference is the good old fashioned book in hand while curled up in an oversized chair for reading, but sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day.

Karen - singing is a great idea. I enjoy that as well! I'd love to hear you sing sometime!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Just a Thought…

Galen Kindley said...

I am a big, big audio book fan. Incredibly, however, on more than one occasion, I’ve bought…and read…the print version as well. What’s with that???

Anyway, I love audio books on both long and short drives, as well as during…ta da… my daily exercise period. I got a bunch of ‘em, too. Gotta admit, however, it’s not the cheapest way to get literatureized. I gotta ask Elizabeth if the Ipod route is cheaper. I’ve been buying the CD, burning it to chip, and then listing on a PDA. Now that I’m at home, so much though I just listen to the CD. Well, I’m rambling and this is waaaay more than anyone wants to know…So, bye all.

Best Regards, Galen.

Anonymous said...

I've never gotten into audio books, but it HAS dawned on me that while taking a long drive it would be a great use of time to listen to a book. so I think I'm going to turn over a new leaf this year and start using them. :)

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Galen!

No, the CD route is not an inexpensive way to go (check out Ebay, sometimes you can get a deal there but beware of shipping charges some folks, creative there) I also have a lot of the same books on CD and in print (goes back to curling up in the chair I think). I hadn't really thought about the MP3 version, I'll have to check into that.

Just a Thought…

N A Sharpe said...

Hi Marvin,

Long trips is how I got into the audio books. My son was young, he loved Harry Potter and we didn't have to keep trying to find something on the radio to entertain him! (Jim Dale REALLY does an excellent job narrating) Sometimes even now my son (who is now 19) will pull out a book on CD come into the living room and ask if I want to listen to a book with him. Kinda cool!

Just a Thought…

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've tried audiobooks, but find my mind wanders (as it sometimes does reading print books). Returning to the place where I drifted away is easier when I can go back a couple of pages rather than rewind to the right place. While driving, I still prefer toe-tapping music.


N A Sharpe said...

Hi Patricia,

Yes, it certainly would be easier to turn back a couple pages and skim around than trying to rewind to find your place again. Ain't nothin' wrong with some good toe tappin' music (grin)!!

Just a Thought…

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I've never listened to an audio book, but like the idea. My poor eyes could use a rest now and then. Good post.


N A Sharpe said...

Hi Bev!

I like a good audiobook - provided the narration is good. I still tend to end up buying the paper version but the audio is great for in the car or when I'm working around the house or something.

Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

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