Audiobooks and print narrative: Similarities in text experience

In Jarmila Mildorf & Till Kinzel (eds.), Audionarratology: Interfaces of Sound and Narrative. De Gruyter. pp. 217-237 (2016)
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Comparisons between audiobook listening and print reading often boil down to the fact that audiobooks impose limitations on the recipient’s continuous in-depth reflection. As a result, audiobook listening is considered a shallow alternative to reading. This chapter critically revisits the following three intuitions commonly associated with such comparisons: 1) Audiobooks elicit more mental imagery than print. 2) Audiobooks invite more inattentive processing than print. 3) Audiobook listening is more contingent on the environment than print reading. Instead of postulating the superiority of print over audio, the chapter argues that the three intuitions are largely based on a misconception of print reading, its experiential characteristics, and its function.
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