The Pros and Cons of Audio Textbooks

Updated for September 2018

You may have heard of recreational audio books, but what about audio textbooks? What are the pros and cons of using them in a classroom setting?

Taken from flickr member Piotr Drabik

Pro: Affordability - Audio textbooks are generally less expensive than actual textbooks because they do not involve the same overhead as do actual textbooks, i.e. audio textbooks save on paper, print, storage, delivery and so on. If you want to save a pretty penny on textbooks, audio textbooks are the perfect solution. Also, since audio textbooks are in digital formats, they do not undergo the same wear and tear as do paper textbooks, and you will need to replace them a lot less often.

Con: Impersonal - Audio textbooks lack the physical element of an actual, paper textbook, and may feel impersonal and intangible to students, which may result in a lack of motivation and a decline in academic activity.

Pro: Accessibility - Audio textbooks come in digital formats that are compatible with most mobile devices, including iPhone, iPads, Android mobile phones, and so on, therefore allowing students much greater access to the featured content, at virtually any time and from anywhere.

Con: Accountability - Since audio textbooks are somewhat intangible, and since they involve a lot of independent study, students will have to be responsible and will have to be accountable for their own work. Homework will have to be handed in separately and teachers will have to trust that their students are reviewing all of the relevant materials at home.

Pro: Engaging and User Friendly - Audio textbooks are very user friendly, on top of being highly accessible and allowing students independent study at their convenience and at their own pace. Most audio textbook formats come with a bookmarking feature with which students will be able to mark where they had last left off, and they provide users with a different, fresh and more dynamic approach to independent study.