Why are audio books a thing

Audiobook vs. classic book - more than a matter of taste?

Nowadays, who has the time to read through the umpteenth thousand-sided ham? Even for people who love books, finding opportunities to read can be a challenge. Many therefore take advantage of the numerous offers for audio books, a convenient alternative to old-fashioned reading. You can listen to the latest bestseller while you're on your way to work or cleaning up the house.

But is listening to a book really the same as reading a book?

What are the advantages of audio books and which books?

The physical book offers the following advantages over the audio book:

  1. The book is experienced with more senses. Instead of just listening, we can see, smell and touch physical books. The feel, illustration and font can have a major impact on the reading experience.
  2. The book allows your own interpretation of language, intonation and accents. This makes the reading experience more individual.
  3. You can read the book at your own pace. We can spontaneously reread a passage or let dramatic and difficult to understand passages work on us for a moment.

But the audio book also offers some advantages:

  1. Audiobooks take up no paper, no space and can be taken with you anywhere without any effort. The electronic form of audio books makes them extremely practical.
  2. With the right speaker, a good book can get even better. A professional narrator can make stories even more vivid through their way of telling them. It is not without reason that professionals make a lot of money with their votes.
  3. You can easily listen to an audio book, no matter where or when, you don't have to sit down quietly and concentrate on the small letters. There are countless situations in which you cannot read a book but can listen to an audio book without any problems: These include jogging, cleaning the house, driving a car, shopping and much more. You can also sweeten up unpopular activities a little. On other occasions, listening to an audio book can ensure that you can experience the story and still perceive your surroundings, for example when traveling by train or shopping in the city.
  4. An audio book is a new work of art. Because if a speaker really has mastered the art of reading, the listener may experience the story very differently.

How are audio books developing?

In 2019, well over 20 million people used audiobooks. The audiobook outperformed the CD in terms of popularity. The number of daily listeners has even increased by 100%! Around 8 million Germans access audio books, radio plays or podcasts every day. The audio book is extremely popular, especially among young, educated people.
Where do you like to hear best? Most of them prefer to relax and listen at home, but audio books are also used on the train, bus or when doing sports.

More detailed information on the popularity of the audio book can be found in the Hörkompass study by audible magazine.


Audio book or reading. What is better now? This is a competition in which there will be no clear winner or loser. And that's just as well!

Ultimately, it can be said that the audio book seems to be on an unstoppable advance, but does not want to or will not completely displace the physical book. We will have our richest experiences not when we treat print and audio interchangeably, but when we understand the differences between them and find out how we can use them to our advantage in each situation.

This article was created in cooperation with audible.de

November 19, 2019 // Esther Ahrens

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