Listening to an Audiobook Is Not the Same as Reading a Real One

Don’t fool yourself

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  • It feels more social, and intonation helps better communicate emotions. You’ll also get correct pronunciations instantly.
  • 10–15% of your eye movements while reading are regressive: You’re re-checking what you read subconsciously, and it improves your retention. It’s like asking a speaker, “Can you repeat that?” but better.
  • When you snap out of a daydream, you can pick up where you left off, and physically turning pages gives you small breaks to process what you’ve read.
  • You get structural cues on what matters through punctuation marks, bolding, italicizing, underlining, etc., which you process subconsciously.
  • With physical books, you constantly have a spatial sense of where you are in the story, which further improves how well you remember. You can also take notes and integrate them in this space-based framework, for example by writing in the margin.

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