Actually reading is better than listening to books

Victor Munoz

Imagine you found yourself in need of a book to read, but don’t have the physical copy. You don’t want to go out, so you decide to either buy a pdf of the book or an audiobook. But you know audible has a 30-day free membership and a free audiobook. Meaning you wouldn’t have to spend any money at all, but was it worth it?

The truth is reading a book/pdf is much better than listening to the same text as reading the text helps with memory retention.

While one would argue that listening to the books would be better for people with dyslexia who have trouble reading, and better for those with sensitive eyes but that is only to select few people.

Proof of this can actually be found by a small experiment done by David Daniel a psychology professor at James Madison University. He had students choose whether to listen to a podcast or read the text. He had them all perform a comprehensive quiz, he found that “listeners scored an average of 28% lower on the quiz a difference of A or D grade”.   Most students had wanted to be in the podcast group, but when asked what their choices would be now most selected the text group.

I personally had a decision to make on my choice of how I was going to get through a book. I had decided to go ahead and listen to an audiobook. It was about European history, I needed to understand it so that I could complete an assignment for school. I did, in fact, complete the assignment but when it came around and I took a quiz about the book I did not do very good. I received a below 75% and while it was not a failing grade, it was not a grade I expected to receive after listening to the complete book and completing the assignment.

This is why I believe that people should stick to reading texts rather than listening to them. Whether you’re reading from the physical book or you’re reading it digitally does not matter. You’ll still be able to remember more of what you learned from reading the text but if you are using an audiobook you would have to rewind it rather than looking back into the text.

In conclusion, audio books are very time consuming and don’t always help understand the stories due to the fact that you can get easily distracted and if you get distracted you will have to rewind the story. There is a huge difference in test scores from reading and audio it was in a 28% lower. Although some people do benefit from using audio books, reading texts is always the best choice.