Podcasts Vs Audiobooks – What’s The Better Medium

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Podcasts are like Radio Shows Around A Certain Topic While Audiobooks Are Super Focussed, Knowledge Rich Sources Of Listening.

Podcasts are shorter and more conversational while Audiobooks are longer form content.

Learning through Audio has been around since the 70’s when people listened to tapes in their car or home stereos.

Listening for knowledge has become trendy, partly because of how easy it is to listen straight through your smart phone or laptop.

You just download the media and you are ready to go or you can stream it directly from the source.

Audiobooks and Podcasts are the kings of audio only entertainment and they are slightly different in nature, but listeners often use both mediums in tandem.

A podcast will usually be a series of shorter episodes (30 – 60 mins long) and it will take on a conversational style, often with many guests. Audiobooks are just books read out loud where an author will try to condense all of his knowledge on a topic into a single body of work, often reading out the book themselves.

Both mediums are excellent for learning so let’s jump straight into the similarities and differences between the two forms of audio content.

What Is A Podcast

Podcasting has become an incredibly popular medium in recent years and for good reasons.

It is like sitting down in your living room and listening to the biggest experts on any topic talking about the latest developments in their area along with covering the biggest topics in the niche or category in great detail.

Can be compared to a radio show with more focus and continuity.

A podcast is conversational in nature usually with a couple of people just hanging out a shooting the breeze with a rough schedule of what they want to cover that day.

A podcast is broken down into series and episodes which are bite size chunks of easy listening material around the topic the hosts are experts in.

Podcasts will usually have different guests each week who share their personal experiences, perspectives, and knowledge.

Since it is a real life conversation, it’s a great way to get to know these people better and see what is catching the experts attention right now without having to worry about missing some key information if you zone out for a second.

You can listen to a podcast through a podcasting app on your phone and they are usually free but there are also some premium podcasts around.

What Is An Audiobook?

The Audiobook market has grown tremendously in years as well with the rise of Audible and now some of its new competitors quickly coming to the market.

An Audiobook is simply a written book, read out loud, often times by the author.

Many people don’t consider to be real reading but studies suggest that you remember just as much from listening to an audiobook as you do from reading one.

Most people write the book first and then just read it out loud for the audiobook version but recently I have seen people write for Audio first and Kevin Harts new book is written for audio only.

This is something I think we are going to see a lot more of in the coming years.

Audiobooks are often narrated by the actual author which is a really authentic way to listen to the content, especially for biographies and the likes.

Audiobooks are a stand alone medium where the author will ram everything about the topic of the book into one listen and such it is usually much longer.

It’s not uncommon to see audiobooks reaching 7 or 8 hours but there are also much longer ones like the 48 Laws of Power which reach 20+ hours in length.

Audiobooks can be fiction or non fiction, depending what you like but I personally find them excellent for business and self development.

Audio books are often instructional and contain a lot of how to guides and tips for how to improve in certain areas.

Similarities Between Audio Books And Podcasts

  • They Are Both Audio Mediums For Listening And Learning.

  • You Can Multitask While Listening To Them.

  • There Are Unlimited Number Of Titles And Topics To Choose From.

  • A Great To Consume Knowledge Around Any Topic

  • 50% of Americans Have Listened To A Podcast And An Audiobook In The Last Year

  • There is Great Overlap Between People Who Listen To Podcasts And People Who Listen To Audiobooks

  • Anybody Can Start A Podcast Or Record An Audiobook Quite Easily.

Differences Between Podcasts And Audiobooks

  • Podcasts Are Conversational – Audiobooks Are Informative

  • Podcasts Have Many Guests – Audiobooks Have 1 or 2 Narrators

  • Podcasts Are Episodic, Series – Audiobooks Are Usually Stand Alone

  • Podcasts Episodes Are Usually 30-60 mins – Audiobooks Are Usually Much Longer

Audiobooks VS Podcast Cost

One of the things to note is that there are many podcasts available for free, most of them are free and Audiobooks usually have a cost involved.

When it comes to Audiobooks, Audible by Amazon are the biggest player. $14.95 will get you a subscription to Audible and 1 credit which can be used to buy any book on the platform. Once you buy a book from Audible, you own it forever, unlike some of its competitors.

It comes with a free mobile app that you can download and use to store your books and listen to them as you please.

To listen to podcasts, you just download a podcasting app to your phone, type in the name of the podcast you want to listen to, hook up to RSS feed and all the episodes and series will be right there for your listening pleasure.

For Premium Podcasts, you may also be asked to sign in to prove you have to listen up and then the podcast will come right into your feed.

What I Like Most About AudioBooks

What I like most about Audiobooks is that the author can cram all of their knowledge on a topic into one place.

Wisdom and knowledge it took them years to build up can be passed onto you in a couple of hours.

If we learn from our own mistakes we can make a good living but if we learn from the mistakes of others, we can achieve wealth.

Literally everybody has an audiobook right now and books have been the number 1 medium for gaining wisdom in the world for 100’s of years.

A biography written and read by the author is a real unique experience, unmatched in any other medium.

What I Like Most About Podcasts

The best thing about Podcasts is that it let’s you know what’s going on right now in the lives of the podcasters.

Any breaking developments in your industry or new ways of doing things can be picked up immediately, giving you an advantage over the competition.

At the same time all of the episodes are archived as well so for a podcast that has been going on for a long time, you can go back and listen to all the old episodes and almost watch the podcasters grow and make progress as the weeks, months and years go by.

Pros And Cons

Pros Of Audiobooks

  • Brilliant for Increasing Knowledge

  • Authentic Experience When Narrated By The Author

  • Books On Every Topic Imaginable

  • All Classics And Biographies Are Now In Audio Format

  • Can Listen While Multitasking

Cons OF Audiobooks

  • Can Be Long And Drawn Out

  • Some Authors Only Write Audiobooks To Push Products And Courses

  • More Expensive Than Podcasts

  • A Lot Of Time To Invest If The Book Is Bad

Pros & Cons Of Podcasts

Pros Of Podcasts

  • Conversation Style Makes For Easy Listening

  • Different Guests Every Week Can Introduce You To New Influencers

  • Latest Developments In The Industry

  • Usually Free

  • Great For Increasing Knowledge

  • Listening To Old Episodes Can Give Further Insight

Cons Of Podcasts

  • Episodes Can Be Hit Or Miss

  • Not As Many Nuggets Per Minute As With Audiobooks

  • Some Podcasts Are Premium Only

Pro Listening Tips

Increase The Speed For More Knowledge

People talk slower than we can listen so it makes a lot of sense to increase the speed of the audio to get through more content.

All audiobook and podcast players have the ability to go 1.2X speed or higher. I usually listen on 1.2x but if the book or content is not that good or the speech is particularly slow, I wouldn’t hesitate to move to 1.4x or 1.6x.

Listen While Multitasking

Doing some repetitive work, out walking or at the gym are all perfect times to get your listening in.

One cons of reading books is that you need to set time aside especially to read and with today’s busy lifestyles, it isn’t always possible.

Turn your drives into work into a mobile university and increase your knowledge while you are on the go.

It allows you to be twice as productive or turn dead time into productive time.

Which Is The Better Medium – Audiobooks Or Podcasts

Why Not Do Both? Most audiobooks listeners also listen to Podcasts and vice versa and that is the best suggestion I can think of.

One thing is that Audiobooks can be hit or miss and if the book is not that good, you have to invest a lot of time into listening to it. That being said, there is no fluff and if you get a good book, you can absorb a ton of knowledge quickly.

There is nothing like waiting for the new episode of your favourite podcast to come out every week. It’s easy listening, you don’t have to worry about super close attention to get all the knowledge while it can still be filled with nuggets.

You will learn quickly if you like the podcast or not and move onto the next if you don’t.

Some episodes can be gold mines and some can be drawn out and boring, but it is an excellent medium overall and the library of content swells quickly with every new episode.

Overall, it depends on what you are looking for but I find a combination of the two works very well.

Best Audiobook Providers

Audible By Amazon

The leading platform in terms of titles and market share, there is 400k books on the platform and growing every day.

You pay a subscription of $15 for 1 book per month or $22 for 2 books.

You can buy additional Credits at a discount, there are unlimited returns and the mobile app is one of the best around.


The biggest gripe we hear about Audible is that people want it to be an all you can eat option like Netflix and that is exactly what Scribd Offers.

You pay $9.99 per month and you can listen to as many books as you like. They don’t have as many books as Audible but the library is growing quickly.

Only available in the US to date and you don’t actually own the books outright so if you cancel your subscription, they are gone.

Chirp Books

Chirpbooks is a great option to be used in conjunction with Audible.

They have a ton of new releases, best sellers and classics available at a considerable discount.

You can buy top notch books from $1 – $4 and you own them forever.

The app is not as good and they don’t have as many titles as Audible but if you run of credits on Audible, you can get a new book for cheaper on Chirp books.

Best Podcast Apps

Apple Podcasts (Iphone)

Perfect for Iphone Users, easy to use and with all the features and functionality you would expect from a top player.

Great for recommending new podcasts to listen to.

Google Podcasts (Samsung)

Google Podcasts offers a similar experience for Android users.

Great searching, high quality, easy to use, free and recommends new podcasts to listen to.

Radio Public (Cross Platform)

Radio Public is a cross platform service that allows you to listen without signing in, connect to RSS feeds, listen to Private podcasts and more.

Simple yet effective to use, it is hard to beat the functionality and simplicity of Radio Public for all listeners.


Both of these mediums are excellent for picking up knowledge. Use both, use them often and develop a war chest of knowledge to apply in your every day life.