Audiobooks – Read first, then listen, or Listen only?

19 Jun

One of the things that has interested me in the past is how do people pick audiobooks that they listen to. Do they pick a favorite book and then listen to it? Or do they listen to a book without reading it first?

For me, I rarely listen to a book that I have read first. The one exception would be the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by the awesome Davina Porter.

I have tried to listen to other books I have previously read in the past, but unfortunately, none of the narrators have lived up to the voices that I had in my head for how the characters should sound. One particular example for me is the narration of Lisa Kleypas Hathaway series. I loved her Wallflower series, and at the time I tried to listen to the audiobook for the first book in the series, I had loved the Hathaway books. I managed to pick up book 1 at an audible sale (4.95 for various first in series books) and was excited to listen, but the voice of Cam (this rouge-ish Gypsy) just didn’t do it for me – he sounded too much like an uptight British toff…since then, I don’t think I have ever tried to listen to a book that I had previously read.

What about you guys? Do you often listen to books you have previously read?

Comment here for a chance to win an audiobook. Commenting will be open until the 25th. Re-tweet this post, link on your facebook etc and I’ll throw your name into the drawing multiple times πŸ˜‰


Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Musings


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10 responses to “Audiobooks – Read first, then listen, or Listen only?

  1. MountainKat

    June 19, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Almost never listen to a book I’ve read and rarely switch to audio in the middle of a series! You are so right, it never matches the voices I had in my head. I can change to reading after listening though.

  2. Brenda

    June 19, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I am on the other side of the fence, I have generally read a book before listening to it. I listen to relax and enjoy the story over again, I can’t relax with it if I don’t know what’s going to happen. πŸ™‚ But in the last couple of years I’ve broadened out and listened to a few without reading first. I’ve had some nice surprises, not in plot but in knowing I would not have enjoyed the narrator if I had read the book myself. Listening first gave the narrator a chance to win me over to her “voice” for the characters.

    • Dee

      July 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Brenda – can you email me at – you won an audiobook in the random drawing – thanks!

  3. Ian Seta

    June 19, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I have favorite narrators, and sometimes I will do a search by the narrators name and see what else they have done. If it’s something I think I might like I give it a go. But generally I’m all over the place. I spend a lot of time on the road so I listen to a lot of audiobooks during the day. On weekends I like to sit in a favorite cafΓ© drink coffee, do a little study and then put away the Japanese text-books and read a novel, I tend to read e-books (Kindle) then. Before I go to bed I might read for an hour or so and that is either an e-book or a paperback.

  4. Heather in FL

    June 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    So far, I have not listened to something I’ve read or vice versa. I figure if I read/listened to the story already, I might as well spend my time reading new stories. πŸ™‚ Because it’s not like there aren’t a ton of them I haven’t read yet. And now that you mentioned being disappointed in Cam’s voice during The Hathaways, I’m glad I didn’t have a preconceived notion of how people should sound. I really enjoyed that series. And I wholeheartedly agree with your Davina Porter comment. She’s WONDERFUL in the Outlander series. I really don’t think I could read these, but listening is heaven. The Help was another one that was just wonderful in audio.

  5. Samantha

    June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I never listen to a book that I’ve read before. It is distracting as a reader because I know how I imagined the voices or for paranormal books, I say the names differently in my head. So when I hear how the narrator pronounce it, I’m slightly taken off guard.

    I try not to switch from book to audio but there has been a few cases where I needed to do that. For example, I didn’t care for KMM’s fever series when I read book 1. However, when I listened to the audio, I fell in love with the series.

  6. Michelle Bilbrey Angulo

    June 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I’ve done both, listen to a new book I’ve never read as well as listen to something I’ve read before. For me it is all about the narrator. I love good voices enhances what my imagination creates in my mind, whether I’ve read it before or not. If I’ve read it already, then a great narrator just adds to what my imagination creates by giving it a wonderful soundtrack. The experience is similar to watching a favorite movie again: you know how it ends, but still enjoy the journey just the same as it makes you feel the emotions and excitement all over again.

    If it is something I’ve not read before, then the voice of narrator along with the author’s words can create a “blockbuster” in my imagination as I experience the book for the first time. Or create a “rotten tomato” if the narration is flat. I’ve turned off several books because I couldn’t connect with the voice and just read the book instead.

  7. Miss Courtney

    June 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I do both. I often listen to children’s books I read when I was younger. For newer books, I just listen or read, not both.

  8. Jane (PS)

    June 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    All my audiobooks are listened to as I drive. I often cover over 1,000 kilometers each week.

    I listen to audio books of stories that I’m not sure will hold my attention in ‘print’ format, especially if they are long books. I can have the attention span of a gnat! πŸ™‚ And then I listen to books that I’ve loved in print, and want to ‘read’ them again – sort of like having a ‘treat’ for my drive. I view these as a reward for sometimes putting up with a shocking book – or sometimes I just need a lift.

    Whilst sometimes the narrator can annoy me by voicing a character counter to my imagination, this isn’t a common problem for me…

  9. Sherry Solomon

    June 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I say listen first, it’s such a great experience. That being said, it’s fun to go back and listen to books that you’ve read in the past – old classics from school or books you just don’t have in the house any longer. Listening give such a different perspective, especially if you’ve forgotten parts of stories over the years.


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