It’s a free week, so I dove into the LTB wayback machine for this topic from the before-times, or January 2020.
We were all so innocent then.
Anyway, this topic comes to us from Aria @ Book Nook Bits who asks:
Do you consider listening to audio-books as reading? How do you feel about audio-books? Is listening to an audio-book the same as reading a physical one?
OK. I’m gonna start by saying something very important.
I love audiobooks.
I do. After my husband died, I didn’t have the concentration to read, which was a devastating secondary loss. But I could listen to audiobooks, and I did. For months and months, that was the way I got my book fix in.
So, I do not come at this as a hater. I do not look down on audiobooks. I do not think less of you if you choose to listen to them exclusively, instead of reading. Audiobooks are lovely ways to pass the time.
But they are not reading.
This question first came to me about ten years ago on a message board I used to frequent. And, wow…was it contentious. The audio-book people thought the book-people were passing judgement, and the book-people thought that it was absurd that anyone would even think to suggest that reading and listening to the same content was in any way the same. There were 550 posts in that thread, and no one convinced anyone of anything.
Welcome to the Internet.
I am firmly in camp “it’s not reading.” Because it’s not.
Now, there are ways in which the audio book is better. The performances can be great, and we should not underestimate how important it is to be told how to pronounce Hermione. I mean, seriously. I pronounced that wrong in my head for years.
But they are performances. They are not reading. I made the point in that thread 10 years ago that reading Shakespeare and seeing Shakespeare performed are both valid life choices…but they are not the same.
Now, for those that ask “if someone asks if you read a book, and you listened to the audio book, what are you going to answer?” Well…
I mean, I know that they are asking as a segue to a conversation about that book. They want to know if I know about the book so that we can talk about how awesome it was, and whether I read it or listened to it, we can still have that conversation. I’d probably say “I listened to it, actually…it was awesome.”
So, not the same. What say you, Internet people? Do you love audiobooks? When someone asks if you read something and you listened to the audiobook, what do you say? I’ll be, ummm, reading your comments (but only because Sam Jackson turned down my request to narrate them…)