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What's better, reading a book or listening to audio books? I've done a bit research, and most places say that on isn't superior to the other. But I'm not convinced by that, since I don't see the logic in it.

Reading a book teaches you how to read faster plus you get the information about what you're reading. Listening to a book only gets the information about what you're reading, but doesn't improve the reading skill.

When that has been said, listening does have the advantage of only occupying your ears and not both your eyes and hands, so you can to some other task while getting the information.

Am I missing something?

  • You haven't (explicitly) considered whether you can absorb information faster by reading or listening. – user2768 Apr 10 '18 at 9:46
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    I believe reading is faster, since you don't have to pronounce each word in your head. When listening, each word has to be pronounced. – DeadlyCow Apr 10 '18 at 9:48
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    There are studies on how much content you can remember after listening, reading, etc. ... If I remember correctly, reading beats listening. – OBu Apr 10 '18 at 9:51
  • "Better" for what? – henning -- reinstate Monica Apr 10 '18 at 12:03
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    In general, it is a mistake to claim that one particular method of learning is better than another for all students. Usually, one method is better for some but not for others. – GEdgar Apr 10 '18 at 12:39
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The question is not really formulated well - there is no better or worse. A better question title would be something like "What are the advantages and disadvantages of reading books vs listening to audiobooks?". Reading books is better if hands and eyes are free; as you tend to be more immersed in the medium, you probably retain more infos. Most likely there is academic literature along these lines.

Audiobooks are a great invention. Whoever commute by car to their job can benefit from having at least one extra hour of reading per day. That is probably just as much as an avid reader reads on an average day. While it is true that you can read a book much faster than someone else can spell it out loud, that is time you can't recover with regular books. Also, if the audiobook is not in your native language, then it can become a powerful instrument in understanding that language pronounciation.

  • Ok, so neither reading or listening improves a skill that the other one doesn't? Because I could imagine that reading improves a skill while listening does not. – DeadlyCow Apr 10 '18 at 9:58
  • Caveat: my answer is based on personal experience, not on academic research. Reading a lot sure makes you read faster. But reading a lot in order to read faster is the goal of reading when you are 6 year old. An adult reads in order to learn more about something, or be entairtened. – famargar Apr 10 '18 at 10:02
  • It is true that an adult reads to learn more. But reading faster also means learning faster. – DeadlyCow Apr 10 '18 at 10:06
  • Agree. I think you should rephrase the question as something like "what are the advantages and disadvantages of reading books vs listening to audiobooks" – famargar Apr 10 '18 at 12:29
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    @DeadlyCow - reading a physics textbook faster is unlikely to result in learning the physics faster, much less learning it at all. – Jon Custer Apr 10 '18 at 13:43

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