AudioBooks vs Traditional Reading
When discussing about audio books, most book lovers often have differing opinions in terms of their benefits as compared with the traditional way of reading books. While others believe audio books are somewhat similar with the conventional reading, others think audio books are just lazy alternatives. But despite contradicting opinions, we cannot deny the fact that audio books have successfully found its way to the hearts of a lot of bookworms. In fact, it has gotten too popular that its popularity has grown exponentially over time.
If you already have your own device suitable for your audio books and know how to listen to audiobooks, then it’s relatively easy to listen to your favorites at your convenience. However, if you feel like you need to step up your listening adventure, there are several alternative devices that you may want to consider.
Best Devices for AudioBooks Reading
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon Echo Smart Speakers
Apple iPod Touch (7th Generation)
Aiworth Sport Go
Sony Walkman NW-E394
Mibao MP3 Player
While most of audiobooks distribution takes place online, you can borrow a CD from your local library or bookstore. Many cars still have a CD player, and you can import books from CDs to other devices on your computer. And if you want to get immediate access to a large library of content with all the new releases, there is a number of audiobook services available.Where to get audiobooks
Audible has the largest selection of audiobooks and also offers original content. In addition to unlimited titles and podcasts in the Audible Plus Catalog, the Premium Plus membership gives you exclusive discounts and 1 credit for any book purchase each month. The service is closely integrated with the Kindle since both are owned by Amazon. Another neat feature is the ability to sync audiobook progress between all your devices. You can listen to books on your iPhone, iPad, Android device or in your browser. Smart speakers, CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported. Audible has a friendly refund policy, and subscriptions can be terminated at any time with all previous purchases saved.
At Audiobooks.com, subscribers have the choice of spending a month's credit to purchase an audiobook or joining one of eight Audiobook Clubs with a supervised list of books on a selected topic. In the latter case, access to books remains as long as you are a member of a particular club. In addition, the service has a VIP Rewards program, in which you can download one additional audiobook per month. If your membership is canceled, you still have the books you paid for with credits or money.
Libro.fm offers subscriptions with discounts on audiobooks and one credit per month. The main difference is that all content on the platform is DRM-free. That means you can simply download an audiobook in MP3 format and listen to it on any player. Audible only works with compatible devices. Libro.fm also allows you to buy audiobooks from bookstores nearby, helping your local community.
Downpour and AudiobooksNow have most of their library DRM-free as well. Downpour premium subscription gives you 1 credit per month, and you can save money to buy other books. AudiobooksNow gives 50% discount on your first purchase each month and offers books at discounted prices.
Scribd promises unlimited access to its entire library of audiobooks. But as users note, the service limits access to some books as you listen. Usually, you can listen to no more than 2-3 titles from your reading list per month. If you cancel your subscription, you lose access to the books.
LibriVox is a free public domain of audiobooks made by volunteers. The audio quality may be inferior to professional recordings, but over time you'll have a list of your favorite narrators.
When choosing a device to listen to audiobooks, you need to consider which service you plan to use. On Kindle and Amazon Echo devices, Audible is the easiest to subscribe to. If you plan to buy a regular MP3 player, pay attention to the ability to save files in a common format. For example, not everyone knows that for some audiobooks on Google Play there is an option to export to M4A.
Detailed Overview of the AudioBooks Reading Devices
Author’s Choice – For Listening or Reading – Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite is also waterproof. Meaning, you can have the confidence of reading and relaxing in more places like the bathroom, beach, or pool. This model also has a feature called Audible, where you can easily switch between listening and reading. All you need is a reliable Bluetooth-enabled headphone or speaker, and you’re good to go. With an Audible membership, you get two audiobooks for free and a free trial for a time. Finally, this device has a storage capacity of 8GB, allowing you to store more audiobooks.
- Very thin and light
- High storage capacity
- Battery can last for weeks
- Only works with Kindle’s Audible
- Only wireless headphones are supported
- Does not fit in the pocket
People’s Choice – For Listening While Doing Housework – Amazon Echo Smart Speakers
This audiobook device features premium speakers powered by Dolby Digital. It can play 360-degree audio with dynamic bass response and crisp vocals. It also features Alexa to help you control your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, SiriusXM and more. The Amazon Echo Smart speaker also allows you to voice control your smart home: from turning on or off your lights, adjusting the thermostats, and even locking doors. Plus, this device is designed to help protect your privacy, thanks to its layers of privacy controls.
- Simple to set up and use
- Designed to protect your privacy
- Only compatible to Audible audio books
Premium Choice – For Quality Reading – Apple iPod Touch
- Multiple audiobook apps available
- Capacity: 32 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB
- Available in six colors
No doubt Apple iPod Touch is considered to be one of the best mp3 player for audiobooks. This works so much like that of a smartphone. You can access several applications for your audiobook like OverDrive, Audible, Librivox, and a lot more. This device also allows you to download audiobooks over the Internet thru WiFi. The best part here is that you don’t have to convert your files to another format when you plug it in a computer. The Apple iPod touch also allows you to play games, watch videos, or interact with your family or friends via messenger or FaceTime. It also features Bluetooth connectivity so you can listen to music or audiobooks wirelessly. This iPod touch can work up to 40 hours in Audio Player mode.
- Long battery life
- Bluetooth connectivity
Best Lightweight – For Listening and Sports –Aiworth Sport Go
SanDisk Clip Sport Go is not just the best mp3 player for podcasts and audiobooks, but it is simply a very handy device thanks to its special clip that you can easily attach to your clothes. This compact player can play audio files from practically every source. You can also download audio books from Audible to the device. The physical buttons of the SanDisk Clip Sport Go is very responsive. On the average, its battery can last up to 18 hours. You can use this also as a voice recorder. You have two options for the device’s storage capacity: 16GB and 18GB.
- Handy and compact
- Easy to use navigate
- Tiny screen
- Relatively shorter screen time than most devices
Best Portable – For Listening and Walking – Sony Walkman NW-E394
- Easy to Carry
- Capacity: 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB
- Available in two colors
The best feature of the Sony Walkman NW-E394 is its battery life. With just a single charge, you can use the device up to 35 hours straight. It has physical buttons that are very convenient to operate, and it features a HOLD button to keep away from accidental pushing. This handy and portable device allows you to download several files in different file format such as MP3, WAV, WMA, MP4, or 3GP.
- Handy and convenient to use
- Longer battery life
- No full support for Windows Media Player. You can only download your playlist thru Sony’s proprietary Music Center software.
- Cannot support Audible format for audio books
- Does not support 3rd-party software to convert to MP3
- Limited memory capacity
- Doesn’t work with Bluetooth headphones
Best Budget – For Long Listening – Mibao MP3 Player
This player has a storage capacity of 32GB and can be expanded up to 128G. It has a high-resolution screen for that ultimate visual experience. This also adopts an upgraded wireless Bluetooth connectivity that allows a more stable connection and transmission. The Mibao MP3 player also features a professional intelligent digital noise reduction chip, providing HiFi class sound. This is basically designed for music lovers.
- Features Intelligent Power Saving Technology
- High-resolution screen
- Fashionable design and comfortable feel
- You cannot move your playlist easily since the player is recognized as a typical flash drive
- Files may not be placed in order upon upload; so, you need to be careful
- Touch control is an object of preferences
- Does not support audible file format
Best Waterproof – For Outdoors – Sony NW-WS623/B
This is suitable for sports and outdoor use because of its very compact size. The headset is very solid, and it made with waterproof features. You can submerge it in water (salt or fresh), to a depth of up to 6.56 feet. Stream your audio and music files wirelessly from your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can also download to the Walkman and use its storage.
- Can endure extreme temperatures
- Ideal for climbing and hiking
- Ambient sounds are clear even when you are running
- Limited battery life (only 12 hours)
Features to Consider Before Buying the Best Device for Reading Audiobooks
Before you go shopping around for a new audiobook device, there are several features that you need to consider. Below are some of them.
- Display Size. Larger screen sizes mean the device tends to get bulkier and heavier. Other readers prefer it this way as this gives them easy control of the audiobook. They can play, skip forward, pause, and go backwards easily. Conversely, smaller screen does not mean they are less pricey, nor you can only use them for low-quality devices. When selecting the screen size, it still boils down to one’s personal preference.
- Portability. People listen to audiobooks either when they are walking, commuting to work, or working out. Meaning, it’s best to invest on a device that is light and compact enough to carry easily and used on the go. For classroom or home use, heavier options are great ideas.
- Storage Capacity. Audiobook devices vary in storage capacity. Generally, audiobooks take ample amount of storage. Thus, choose a device that offer larger storage, ideally ranging from 8GB up.
- Audio Quality. Anybody with audio sensitivity should know that investing on a device that is not bothersome when listening is a must. Regrettably, a lot of audiobook devices don’t offer the best listening experience as others do.
- Battery Life. Audiobooks are expected to get very lengthy. It can be extremely frustrating when a book fails to last for long. Thus, a good audiobook device should have a long-lasting battery life.
- Easy to Download Files. Ideally, choose a device that allows you to download audiobooks easily; one that is WIFI enabled. In this day and age, you can easily download audiobooks via the Internet. It’s also best to have a device with Bluetooth connectivity for easy file transferring.
- Easy to Pause-and-Continue. It’s very annoying when you have to go through your audiobook from the start because you weren’t able to bookmark where you stopped. With the bookmarking feature, you can easily pick back up where you left off or navigate easily and quickly.
Why Should I Listen to Audiobooks?
There are many reasons to give preference to Audiobooks. In many cases it is the best solution to obtain the results.
The convenience is unmatched. Especially for students who are always on the move, audiobooks are convenient options instead of storing the conventional books in a bookshelf. Students are mostly living in dorm rooms, and these are places you don’t want to keep your rare collection of books, right? Your textbooks, in fact, are not even safe. According to research, almost all students living in dormitories has lost a textbook at some point during their college days.
To Gain More Knowledge
Students sometimes are not able to obtain the necessary knowledge in their respective semester and grades. Maybe it can be because at some point, you were down with flu and has greatly affected your peak performance. Or this can be a result of your never-ending headaches coupled with stress and lack of sleep because of deadlines. With these situations, audiobooks are very reliable to help you keep up with your lost time for reading.
To Help Enhance the Listening Muscles
Some people have this misconception that listening to books is less effective since there is no effort put into it. But active listening is an effort, right? In fact, this is a critical skill that a lot of business executives and personnel lack.
People who fail to take audiobooks less seriously because they lack the effort to do so often don’t understand how active listening involves all the necessary traits needing in reading. You may not move your eyes to read one word to the next, but keeping your ears engaged is just as effective as reading.
To Improve One’s Retrieval and Retention of Information
For visual learners, like majority of the readers, you get to understand more from reading than listening to books. However, visual learning today has become an acquired habit. Today, educational methods come in a handful of variety, and most of them are based on listening. Thus, the need to rely on traditional reading of books has gradually decreased over time. This is actually an advantage for auditory learners since you can go on with your traditional learning style, sans the need to keep your mind at pace with visual cues, and instead, rely on auditory cues this time.
To Improve Your Vocabulary
What do you do when, in the middle of your reading, you come across a hard-to-understand word? Do you often rely on the whole context of such word until you correctly guess its true meaning? Do you make a conscious effort to grab and consult a dictionary? In most cases, guessing the meaning of the word from the whole sentence and context structure is the more convenient option.
However, when you listen to audiobooks, when you come across a difficult word, this will help you think of a completely different approach. While you can still rely on the whole context of the sentence when you listen, you get to invoke more curiosity when you listen keenly. The process of knowing a real meaning of a word is far more fulfilling in listening than in reading. When you listen, first you need to guess the spelling. This alone can inject that feeling of playfulness. And from this feeling, it can help you easily retain a word.
To Make Your Pronunciation Better
Listening to audiobooks means you get to learn the right pronunciation of a name, a novel word, a place, or an event the moment the narrator reads them.
To Enhance Comprehension
There are sentences that are not as comprehensible in reading than they are in listening. When you listen, you follow through changes in tones, pauses, and voice emphasis to help you evaluate when you need to pay attention to a sentence. Meaning, you don’t have to maintain your focus all throughout a lengthy sentence.
How to Convert Audiobooks To MP3 Format?
There are players only MP3 compatible. Therefore you may need convenient tools to convert your audiobook into MP3 format. Here are the following options:
iTunes – Provide quality conversion, but it can be a routine process.
Offline Software – You can download an approprate app on your PC or Laptop and convert your audiobooks easily.
Online Converters – The easiest way is to upload an audiobook file to online conversion portal and to get an mp3.
To avoid converting every time you can downloawd directly an MP3 audiobook or to choose the device capable with all major audio formats.
Can I Surf the Web With All Audiobook Devices?
There are devices you cna directly enter the Internet and download any audiobook. But there are also devices that you need to download files from a PC and than to tranfer to a device by Bluetooth or WiFi.
There is no denying that audiobooks are indeed far better options than traditional reading. It’s about high time to catch up with the latest in learning technology. With so many audiobooks today that come with the most updated devices, the benefits of these audiobooks are endless.