Top Ten Tuesday: Why I can’t listen to audiobooks

Another week, another Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This time the theme is an all about audio freebie. So, I decided to talk about the reasons why I can’t listen to audiobooks. It’s sad, but I can’t seem to listen to any books successfully, no matter how much I try. I know there are some amazing audiobooks out there, so hopefully I will be able to overcome these reasons in the future! Let’s check them out.

1. I can’t concentrate

This is the most obvious and probably common reason. Whenever I’m listening to an audiobook, I space out and I have to rewind it. Sometimes they talk too fast and I think I miss important stuff, so again, I have to rewind. I can listen for 5 minutes or so, but more than that, I start to lose my concentration.

2. I need to look up things in the dictionary

This applies to reading ebooks, which is what I do 99% of the time, because it makes it so easy to look up words and idioms there. It doesn’t matter if I’m reading in English or in Spanish, I always find things I want to look up in the dictionary. Sometimes it’s for the normal reasons, to check the definition or to be sure if I know the right meaning. Other times, I like to read the little part where it says the date, place and root of the word’s origins. I do that especially when I’m reading historical fiction and the language doesn’t ring true. I’ve found inconsistencies in some novels and for some reason that’s fun for me.

3. I need to highlight favorite quotes

I love keeping track of quotes that I like. I enjoy to highlight or put sticky notes so I know where those quotes are. In audiobooks I can’t do that and if I want to find a quote that I love for a review or whatever other reason, it’s almost impossible.

4. I like to add notes

This one is closely related to the last one. I like to highlight favorite quotes and add notes to parts I don’t like or that I have a theory about. It makes it easier when I have to write a review or when I want to remember something from the book. Audiobooks don’t allow me to that as easily as ebooks. I would have to write everything down in a notebook and I would probably forget it.

5. I miss information

As I said before, sometimes they speak so fast (or I lose my concetration) that I don’t hear everything or I miss some details. I actually did an experiment on this to check if it was only my imagination. I heard a chapter of a book first and then read it as an ebook. I found that I had completely missed some sentences or little phrases. Maybe it takes some time to get used to listening audiobooks, maybe my attention span isn’t the best out there.

6. They are expensive

I know there are some free audiobooks out there, but they are usually just classics. Audiobooks are expensive and I understand why, but my budget screams no when I even check them out!

7. I fall asleep

I should probably multi-task when I’m listening to an audiobook, but I usually can’t because of reason #1 here – I lose my concentration. Because of that, I usually just sit or lie in bed and inevitably I doze off and miss parts of the book. Sometimes I’ve completely fallen asleep and wake up scared when I hear the voice of the narrator again so close to me.

Having said that, I still hope to be able to listen to audiobooks one day and leave all of these issues behind. I’ve heard some previews that sound awesome and I would love to multi-task and read while I’m doing the dishes or while in the car. Maybe I should start with a book I’ve read before so I know that I won’t miss something I don’t already know.

Do you have the same issues I have with audiobooks? Which ones would you recommend to me?

32 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Why I can’t listen to audiobooks

  1. I have a lot of friends who listen to audiobooks while driving a commute or doing housework. I can’t do it. I get impatient with novels, because I know I can read faster than the reading speed. If I’m driving or doing housework, chanced are the kids are going to say or ask me something every 5 seconds. I don’t want to feel interrupted and impatient when they do that, and I don’t want them to feel like that either. So I just don’t.

    I *do* like to listen to lectures or podcasts; if it’s meant to be spoken, I’m much better at dealing with it. But it happens very rarely that I can listen to anything much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also listen to podcast because I don’t mind missing some information in those cases. It’s a lot more relaxed too, like a conversation. But audiobooks are actually too fast for me because I tend to reread a lot of sentences and paragraphs whenever I space out, which apparently happens a lot to me lol.


  2. I have to be really careful about the books I listen to as audiobooks – I can’t listen to crime books without missing a few things and having to piece them together myself. I stopped listening to audiobooks a couple of months ago because I was using Audible which was too expensive really, but now I’ve signed up to the library and they have loads available on Overdrive!

    I really love audiobooks because they mean I can squeeze in all the reading I can and also multitask (as long as the other task is something mundane like walking or washing up). I think you ahould definitely try with a book you’ve read before, especially if it has a good narrator!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had similar issues with audiobooks before I even listened to one. But then I tried it, and I really liked it. They are great to listen to when I’m commuting, or when I’m in a gym cycling, or when I’m coloring. I especially like to listen to memoirs that are narrated by the authors, because the narrator is reading about their own experience it adds a depth to the book, it’s amazing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wrote a post earlier in the year about why I don’t listen to audiobooks, so I totally get you! I’m just not an auditory learner. I need to see the words to comprehend them. And if I’m, like, looking around the room or doing other things, there’s like too much going on and I can’t visualize. So I’ve tried audiobooks and ended up having to sit there and stare at my phone the whole time and concentrate really hard lol. And that really just defeats the purpose. Plus I also highlight so much when I read. Audiobooks just aren’t for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I feel so weird just sitting around without holding a book and just staring at the walls and the room haha. And the hightlighting thing is a big problem because I want to keep record of stuff easily! I have to check your post. Would you mind linking it here or maybe telling me how the post was called so I could look it up?


  5. I am with you! I have had the same challenge with Podcasts as well. I feel like I need to be actively doing something (AKA annotating my books as I read) and with an audiobook I am either just spacing out or focusing more on what my hands are doing (probably coloring) while I should be listening. I want to love them because I’ve heard great things and there have been some fabulous voices on newer audiobooks, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it takes getting used to. I want to keep trying for the same reasons you said there. I always hear great things about some narrations and I get curious 😛 But podcasts for me are different. I don’t mind not listening to every single word because I get the overall topic. With books, I hate missing out on details.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah that’s too bad. I was brought up being read stories, so audio books feel very homely. I do write marginalia an awful lot, so I usually reserve audio books for light reads, commercial fiction, classics and books I’ve already read. It’s also a great way to get into a book you’ve found too daunting because of its reputation, old English (or any old language) or size. It’s great if you’re driving long distance, or sick or eye-sore. If you’re in a reading slump, audio books can pull you out of it! I really loved the first two Abhorsen series, which are more plot-base than “thought”-based. Same thing goes to the Golden Compass. The Anne of Green Gables narrator was OK, but if you haven’t read them before you’ll want a physical copy to underline the gems.


  7. I’m not big on audiobooks either. I’ve tried downloading a couple from the library, but it’s really not a convenient process, and I really have no idea how I would get one on a more portable device than my laptop. (Actually, I don’t even own a smartphone, so I’m not sure I own anything that portable!) But I inevitably hate how the narrator is reading. Or think they’re too slow. Or, like you, space out and miss what the narrator was saying. Or something loud comes along and I can’t hear the book anymore. It’s so much easier for me just to read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah I totally relate to all of that! And I can totally see how inconvenient it must be without a portable device. I used to listen to one on my phone, and it sucked because it didn’t have the bookmark option and I would have to try and find the place where I left off… It was too much trouble!


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