Is Audible Faster or Slower Than Reading? (Basic Facts)

When you listen to an audiobook, it’s easy to think that it’s going by faster than reading a print book. It just feels like it’s flying by! But is that the case?

Is listening to an audiobook actually faster than reading a print book?

The answer is yes and no. It depends on the person. For some people, listening is faster, while for others, reading is faster.

Here’s if Audible is Faster or Slower Than Reading:

You might be surprised to learn that listening is actually faster than reading. The reason has to do with how our brains process information when we hear something versus when we read something. This is partly why many people find that their comprehension of spoken English is better than writing.

Can You Consume Audiobooks Faster Than You Can Read?

Audible is a great way to enjoy books. It’s cheaper than buying books and you can listen to the audiobook anywhere. But is it faster than reading?

The answer is yes, but not by much.

Audible can be useful in situations where you have a lot of things to do and need something to occupy your mind while doing them (like driving or exercising).

It also helps with listening comprehension since you’re forced to pay attention while listening instead of being able to read out-loud at your own pace.

How long does it take to read a book in Audible:

  • When you read a book in Audible, you can set your own reading speed. The default is 1.5x and the maximum is 3x. This means that if the book is 30 minutes long, it will be spoken at 60 minutes on average.
  • The actual time varies widely depending on the narrator, the book and its content (technical or descriptive). Some books are more interesting than others, so it’s normal for some listeners to finish them faster than others.

Read this blog here about do Audible books come with read-along text?

Average Words-Per-Minute for Reading and Listening

Reading speed is measured in words per minute (WPM). This is the number of words you can read per minute. For example, if you read at 300 WPM, this means that in one minute, you can read 100 words.


  • The average words-per-minute (WPM) reading speed is 120 WPM. The average words-per-minute (WPM) reading speed for men is 125 WPM, and for women it is 115 WPM.


  • The average words-per-minute (WPM) listening speed is 140 WPM. The average words-per-minute (WPM) listening speed for men is 145 WPM and for women it is 135 WPM.

The average words-per-hour for reading is 4000 words.

The average words-per-hour for listening is 5500.

There are many factors that can affect this rate, including the complexity of the content, the format of the text and whether you are familiar with it already.

Do People Remember Books Better When Reading or Listening?

This question has been asked by many, but it’s hard to answer.

We know that auditory and visual memory are different, but we don’t know how much.

In one study, researchers found that visual memory was better for faces than for words, but the difference wasn’t great. In another study, however, they found that auditory memory was better for words than for faces (which makes sense).

In general, auditory memory seems to be better than visual memory for abstract material—things such as speeches or lectures.

But visual memory may be better than auditory memory for concrete material such as images or objects.

  • This means that while listening to a speech might help you remember something abstract like its main idea or theme, listening may not help you remember what someone looked like or what they said word-for-word—though it may help with remembering general impressions and details about their appearance and mannerisms.
  • It’s also possible that the types of words we hear have an effect on how well we recall them: if you hear a word more often than another word (for example “dog” vs “cat”), it may be easier to remember later on because you’ve heard it more often before.

In a recent study, researchers found that people can remember books better when they read them, but they can remember audiobooks better when they listen to them.

The study has some interesting implications for how we learn, and it could help you figure out what kind of learner you are.

The key question in the study was this: Do people remember books better when they read them or when they listen to them? The answer is that both ways have their benefits and drawbacks:

  • The researchers compared two groups of students who had just finished reading The Odyssey by Homer. One group listened to an audio version of the book while reading along with each page; another group read the book silently without listening at all.
  • Afterwards, both groups took a multiple choice test on their memory of the book’s details. The results showed that listening while reading helped participants remember more facts about characters and plot points than did reading silently on its own.

How Fast Does Audible Read?

Audible’s average reading speed for its audiobooks is 180 words per minute (wpm), or about 3 minutes per page of text reading aloud at 300 words per minute (wpm).

For comparison, most people speak at about 150 wpm; some can talk faster but many average less than 100 wpm.

How Can the Reading Speed Be Adjusted with Audible?

Audible offers a variety of ways to adjust the reading speed.

There are several different intervals available, including 1x, 1.5x, 2x and more.

For example, if you have an audiobook that is 6 hours long and you want to listen at 2x speed, it will take 12 hours to complete.

The easiest way to change the reading speed is by using the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons on your computer or mobile device. To do this:

  • Open Audible and select the title you want to listen to.
  • Click on “Play” to play the audiobook from the beginning.
  • While it’s playing, click on either “Fast Forward” or “Rewind” depending on which direction you want to go in.

What Speed Setting Is Needed for Listening to Be as Quick as Reading?

The idea of listening to audiobooks at a faster speed than usual has become popular recently. The idea behind this is that if you can listen quickly, you can also read quickly.

But how fast should you listen? And what setting should you choose?

Audiobooks are designed for a specific speed setting, and each narrator will have a different setting. If you increase or decrease the speed of the audiobook, it will sound unnatural.

In addition, some narrators read their own books at different speeds.

If you want to listen to audiobooks at the same speed as reading, then a good starting point is 1.2x speed.

This will allow you to hear the words at a pace that is similar to the physical rate at which they are written, but it’s still fast enough that you can still understand what is being said.

You may find that you prefer to increase the speed further than 1.2x – this is perfectly fine, and some people find that they can increase their listening speed even beyond 1.5x without any significant loss of comprehension.

Some people also like to use different speeds with different types of material – for example when reading fiction they might keep it at 1.2x or even slower (especially if it’s a long book), but when listening to non-fiction they might opt for 1.3x or higher.

Read this blog here about does Audible automatically renew?

Is It Recommended to Turn Up the Reading Speed with Audiobooks?

There are multiple factors that can make your listening speed different from the recommended reading speed.

The first factor to consider is whether you’re listening to the audiobook on a mobile device or in a car.

Listening at 2X speed is perfectly fine for mobile devices, but it’s not recommended for listening while driving. If you’re going to listen while driving, turn down the speed to 1X or even 0.5X, so that you can hear every word clearly without having to strain your ears.

If you’re using a mobile device and want to listen at 1X speed, then you should use an app like Speed Reader or Spreeder, which work by speeding up audio without distorting it too much.

Another factor to consider is whether you’re using an Audible subscription or buying audiobooks outright through iTunes or Amazon Music.

If you have an Audible subscription, then Audible will automatically adjust your reading speed based on how fast or slow you’re going through the book.

For example, if you’re listening at 1X speed and finish 30 minutes of content in 15 minutes (or 2 hours worth of content in 1 hour).


Audible is faster than reading because it allows you to speed up or slow down the narration without affecting pitch or tone.

This makes listening more convenient when driving, working out or doing any other activity that requires your hands but not your eyes.

You can adjust the speed for each individual book or narrator so that it matches how fast or slow you like to read print books and magazines.



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