As a fan of Leo Laporte and the TWIT network (as well as a bunch of other podcasts) I’ve heard more than my fair share of Audible.com commercials. Audible, now an Amazon company, is probably the premier producer and distributor of audiobooks.
On this blog I often mention the latest books I’m listening to or reading, and I often don’t specify which I’m doing. It’s mostly a matter of convenience. As I’ve mentioned before, if someone says, “Have you read the Wheel of Time?” the simple answer is, “Yes,” not, “No, but I did listen to the unbridged audiobook edition.”
But in truth there is a big difference between listening to and reading books. First, in my case, I can recall details of books I’ve listened much easier than books I’ve read. This will of course not be true for everyone. Often if someone brings up a particular scene from a book I’ve listened to, even if it was many months ago, I will remember the exact intersection I was driving through when I heard that scene play out.
On the other hand, when I see, “Egwene al’Vere” in print it means nothing to me. I have to pronounce it out loud before I recall that character from the Wheel of Time.
Now whenever I listen to fantasy or anything with a lot of fictitious words I scan the wikipedia article to familiarize myself with them. I think this does a lot to improve the experience.