Audiobook vs Reading — Which Is Better?

Is reading books necessary anymore?

Ionutz Kazaku
3 min readSep 23, 2022
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“I was a fan of audiobooks, but I always viewed them as cheating,” — Beth Rogowsky

Should you quit reading?

We all know how easy & convenient it is to listen to audiobooks but, is that component enough to never return to reading, or listening to audiobooks is not such a good alternative after all?

Here are 7 factors that everyone should take into account —

Factor #1: Speed

What’s the fastest method of consuming knowledge?

Researchers found that reading is faster than listening to books. An average adult can read 250–300 words per minute and can efficiently listen to 150–160 words per minute. I always increase the speed to 1.5x which enables me to gain more information.

Anyways, reading a book is definitely the faster method.

Factor #2: Attention

How often do you get distracted?

When reading a book I always start to get distracted by my thoughts and it takes me seconds and sometimes minutes to snap out and refocus my attention. If you are reading, it is pretty easy to go back and find the point at which you zoned out.

If you’re listening to a book, it’s not so easy. Most of the time you will be taking a walk, doing chores or driving a car while listening to a book. It makes it pretty difficult to go back to that moment. Also, if you are listening to a complicated text, it’s pretty difficult to return and reanalyze the content.

Doing only 1 thing at a time is much easier.

Factor #3: Learning

What is the best learning tool?

This 2010 study shows that students who listened to a podcast lesson performed worse on a comprehension quiz than students who read the same lesson on paper. Compared to the readers, the listeners scored an average of 28% lower on the quiz — about the difference between an A or a D grade.

This might be because most of our education system is based on reading rather than listening.

Factor #4: Comprehension

How well you will understand what you read?

Dr. Willingham says that: “10–15% of your eye movements while reading are regressive. This means that you are always subconsciously rechecking the information.

Listeners, on the other hand, can derive a lot of information from a speaker’s inflections or intonations. Sarcasm or Shakespeare’s plays are much more easily communicated via audio than printed text.

It all depends on your reading and listening comprehension.

Factor #5: Cost

Which one is more worth it?

Audiobooks tend to be more expensive than buying a physical or an e-book. You can buy audiobooks separately or with a subscription service. Audible starts at 7.95$ for a subscription, plus, the additional price for the audiobook itself.

If you are an e-book reader, you will spend way less. E-books tend to be cheaper and if you read a lot, you can use Kindle Unlimited. You can read as many books as you want for 9.99$ a month.

If you are a bookworm, audiobooks will be costly.

Factor #6: Convenience

Which one is more convenient?

A new power is unlocked with audiobooks. Multitasking. That’s why they are more expensive, it is a more comfortable way of consuming literature. You can do chores, drive or go for a walk while listening to a book. You are always productive.

You can’t do anything else when you are reading books. I find that useful, especially in today’s world where everything is moving so fast and you can’t concentrate on at least one activity alone.

If you want to be more productive, listen to audiobooks.

Factor #7: Brain Benefits

There is not much difference.

Even if listening to books activates the parts of the brain which is responsible for language processing and reading a book activates more areas responsible for visual processing, both of them will expand your knowledge and improve your memory.

Either if you are reading books or listening to them, you are learning, and that’s the most important.

Manage your reading list with this template.

Thanks for reading :)



Ionutz Kazaku

Writing articles, reading books, listening to podcasts — constantly learning.