That, plus adding a star to certain articles. But the subject matter also makes a difference. Interesting, I've generally had the exact opposite occur for me, though it depends on narrator and context. Some people enjoy writing for the sake of words; but for me, words are the tool that I use to express myself. With audiobooks, any activity that requires the use of your eyes and hands but not your ears is now potential reading time. But if you are listening to something captivating like the serial podcast then podcast is actually superior, audible cues by the narrator add another dimension to the experience.
Listening to audiobooks helps me fulfill my need to read extensively. I have never been a strong or fast reader this might have something to do with being a product of Arizona public education. By the time I was a junior in university, I still read a lot! Downloaded on Audible, and was blown away. One might continue to try to make such a point, and point out that reading must be done by finding a quiet place and quiet time to dedicate to reading. In fact, listening while running has become her preferred way to consume literature. The author is a Forbes contributor. But downloadable audio books are increasingly popular.
But there have been several people telling me that I am not actually reading them. I confess I never really got the big deal about Harry Potter when I read the series in print, but then I listened to the brilliant Jim Dale who finally brought J. Sarcasm is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text. Depending on this I choose my medium for consumption. So on an intellectual level, is listening to a book really just as good as reading it? If its something boring as 'course material' then the outcome is predictiable, its easy to get distracted and let your mind wander if you are listening to something boring.
However, even research that predates suggests that reading and listening are strikingly similar cognitive processes. There are two steps that happen when you read a book - You read a sentence - You understand that sentence and then move forward. I just picked up audiobooks with a lot of skepticism a few months back. Wodehouse on my iPod going for a walk, on the subway, etc. And you can still take little notes in that Moleskine notebook you keep tucked in your back pocket.
Very different for me: unless I'm in a busy and unknown city, driving is pretty much autopilot for my brain. You were right on target, that good readers are good performers for the story. A good reader does make all the difference, but sometimes having a more dense book read aloud can help it move along in a way that obtuse literature doesn't always when read from the page. This makes the content accessible and you can easily continue where you left off from last time. For novels that are big chunkers, being able to just carry them on my ipod rather than lugging around 1000+ pages makes it easier. For example, I love as a narrator though my all time favorite narrator is who narrates the Harry Potter series. Similar to reading, I feel audiobooks have the same issues related to adoption.
I find it's just another tool for getting information, one that's replaced skimming since it's less mental effort and higher retention. Given the vast somes of work left on my ever-growing reading list, I would not do it any other way. But, the more you do it the easier it is to keep your mind on the narrative. You can have them on your phone, iPod, computer and in the car. I have been doing this on my commute and it is 95% as good as giving the book a textual re-read. I am a little strange in this whole debate between reading and performed books, because I listen to a lot of books through accessibility apps computer read books. A reason could be left-brain or right-brain dominance, or preference for auditory, visual, or tactile learning styles.
Audiobooks are a godsend to people such as myself. I also have an Audible account, and I find that with my free credit every month I feel more comfortable venturing out into something I might not pick up in a bookstore because hey- free credit. But with novels, I wonder if the experience of listening to a book is the equivalent of animating a painting. Not only its interesting to hear voices , you can enjoy them while moving. An appropriate to the material narrator is a joy, but some are just awful. I listen to them in car, at work and at home.
It's really predicated on the content of the book as well as the narrator. Most say audiobooks are essential to reducing stress, boredom or fatigue while driving. When you are driving or doing some sort of mindless work the requires just enough physical effort to keep you from being able to read, an audiobook can add a bit of mental stimulation to an otherwise unstimulating experience. You need the whole cognitive process, that part of you which is open to wisdom. In that way, audiobooks are better than reading. Then I forgot about it until I was looking around Audible earlier. I find that I take in more of what is said in an audiobook — it seems to sink in better.
Now only half of what you hear goes in. For example, correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well, also. What kind of books do you like? These distractors are pretty much eliminated while driving. Being in 2 book clubs, I need to keep up the pace somehow. I'm not a big Zombiephile, but had the book given to me. Non-fiction often requires re-reading certain paragraphs or flicking between sections to refresh my memory on certain points. Audiobooks are great to supplement previous knowledge to solidify information.