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  • Writer's pictureMark Morton

Reading audiobooks

I read a lot of books and I listen to a lot of audiobooks. But is it appropriate to instead say that I read a lot of audiobooks? There are differences, of course, between books and audiobooks in terms of how and where we consume them. Lots of people listen to audiobooks while driving, but hopefully no one is flipping the pages of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian while they're behind the wheel.

With a traditional book, it's much easier for me to go back a sentence or two and reread, in situations where I've not understood something or perhaps missed something. You can do that with an audiobook, but it's a lot more cumbersome to stop audio and clickback ten or fifteen or 33 seconds -- so I bet most people don't do it. They just let the audio flow onward.

But with both mediums, words are entering my head and I'm visualizing a story or apprehending an idea. So in that sense can I read an audiobook as much as I can read a book made of paper or a book on the screen of a Kindle?

A friend of mine solved this question for me. She said that we must consider listening to audiobooks to be reading because otherwise people who are visually impaired would not be able to "read" anything. In other words, their experience of books would somehow be seen as "lesser"—as not real "reading." That's good enough for me. As far as I'm concerned, you can read with your eyes or you can read with your ears.

Image courtesy of Jeanne Menjoulet under a CC BY 2.0 DEED license

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