Monday, August 19, 2013

How fast are audible books read?

Since my life involves many tasks that are very tedious, but can be done in an incognizant state of mind I tend to listen to many podcasts and audiobooks. That tedious work such as cleaning, washing up or walking the dog becomes an opportunity to learn instead of just a waste of time. I recommend this approach to every dad who feels under-stimulated when at home (not a prerequisite to be a dad of course).

Anyway, I was curious to know how many pages one hour of listening corresponds to and therefore I decided to do a small study on the books that I have listened to the past year. You can find the complete list of books that I have listened to below. The first column gives you the title of the book, the second gives you how many pages the book is (gathered this data from The third column gives you the reading pace for that particular book i.e., pages per hour.

I will give the most important statistics here. In total I have listened to audiobooks for a total of 284 hours this past year. This amounts to 5.5h per week or 0.8h per day. These 284h were spent listening to a total of 24 books, totalling 8469 pages. This amounts to 163 pages per week or 23 pages per day.

So what about the reading pace? To get the average number of pages you get through in an hour one can merely divide the total number of pages with the total listening time, 8469/284 = 30. That is, the average reading speed of audible readers is about 30 pages per hour, with a range from 22,2 (The 2nd world war by Anthony Beevor), to 54 (The science of evil by Simon Baron Cohen). The standard deviation was 7.79 pages per hour.

Here is the entire list of books I have listened to the past year, as well as the number of pages, the duration of the audibook and the average reading pace of that book:

Blood and thunder 499 21 23,76
Energy for future presidents 305 9,5 32,11
The Universe within 191 6,5 29,38
How pleasure works 223 7 31,86
Thinking fast and slow 483 20 24,15
We are anonymous 428 14 30,57
Half the sky 259 10,5 24,67
Bad astronomy 259 9,5 27,26
Naked statistics 257 11 23,36
Drinking water 320 8 40,00
Genghis Khan 352 14,5 24,28
The Moral Lanscape 320 7 45,71
At home 592 16,5 35,88
Radiation 288 7,5 38,40
The world until yesterday 512 18,5 27,68
Complications 269 8 33,63
The undercover economist 265 8,5 31,18
The willpower instinct 272 8,5 32,00
The science of evil 272 5 54,40
A history of the world in 6 glasses 311 7,5 41,47
God is not great 336 9 37,33
Incognito 304 9 33,78
The Second world war 880 39,5 22,28
Who's in charge 272 8 34,00

ps: An assumption of this analysis is that the number of words per page is approximately the same for different books - an assumption that is likely to be false for some books and may therefore bias the results.

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