BOOK VICES: THE PROS & CONS OF AUDIOBOOKS + DO THEY COUNT AS READING? (ANSWER: YES)

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Hey guys, welcome back to my blog! Today I’m coming at you with a new Book Vices post, and today I’m talking about why I love audiobooks, and why some people don’t! I’ve tried to be completely fair for each side, so I’ve included arguments from each side, against and for audiobooks.

YOU CAN FIND MY LATEST BOOK VICES DISCUSSION HERE:

Why Do We Hate Ebooks?

Do Our Books Need To Be In Pristine Condition?

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THE ARGUMENT AGAINSTΒ AUDIOBOOKS

  • It’s not really reading
  • It’s not really reading
  • It’s cheating
  • It’s not really reading

As far as I can find, the argument against audiobooks seems to be mostly just that it doesn’t count as reading because you’re not physically reading the words with your eyes. Other arguments include:

  • Not being able to focus
  • Not liking the characters sharing the same voice
  • I can read faster than I can listen
  • Audiobooks put me to sleep [link]
  • Audiobooks are expensive
  • I don’t need audiobooks because I don’t travel
  • I get easily distracted
  • Can’t skip pages, or go back
  • Don’t always like the narrator – they’re always terrible [link]
  • Who wants to sit at their computer for 2 hours listening to an audiobook?
  • There’s no book, just a detached voice.
  • I can’t find where I left off [link]
  • Too long & too slow
  • There aren’t audiobooks for every physical/e/book
  • You need a bank card to purchase an audiobook online [link]

Most of these arguments are pretty good, needing a bank card, characters having the same voice, money, getting distracted. They’re all problems I have to. I get distracted when I listen to audiobooks too, for example, I was trying to listen to The Hobbit on audio this morning and was struggling with it. But, I think that’s mostly down to the author’s writing and I think I would have a similar issue if I was reading physically. For me, getting distracted usually has more to do with me or the writing than the actual audiobook, itself.

As for money, I agree. Audiobooks can be pretty expensive. If you buy them physically on a CD they’re usually ($AUS) $50-100 per book [link]. So, you really would be racking up a debt that way. But, I buy my audiobooks via Audible which often has sales and ebook/audio deals. If I don’t buy the audiobook, however, I get the audiobook from my library for free.

As for the other arguments like not being able to skip ahead or go back, not liking the narrator, the book being too long/slow & being able to read faster than listening. I use Libby & Audible and with those apps you can change the speed (I usually prefer 1.75x. 2.00x and 2.15x), you can set a sleep timer in case you think you might get tired, you can skip backwards and forwards, and you can bookmark whatever you’re reading. In terms of not liking the narrator though, I get that and narrators will often deter me from reading a book – if I don’t like the narrator it can ruin the whole experience but, some books, particularly with popular authors & classics, there are multiple versions to listen to so you can choose a different narrator.

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MY ARGUMENT FOR AUDIOBOOKS

  • You can adjust the speed at which you listen to your book
  • Most library systems (physical libraries, Libby, Overdrive) have audiobooks available for free
  • Handy for long distance travel (work, holiday, school etc)
  • Won’t weigh down your bag
  • Not everyone has the luxury of being able to sit down and read for a few hours every day, so audiobooks are a good way to still get some reading in [link]
  • It’s really ableist to say that audio isn’t a way to read. You can still be a reader if you can’t see the words.
  • Helpful for pronunciation if you’re trying to learn a new language – you can always follow along with the physical book
  • Often authors will narrate their own book (popular with memoirs) so you can hear the book exactly how they meant for it to be told.
  • Often audiobooks for classics are available in the public domain (YouTube has a bunch)
  • Some people learn better aurally than visually
  • It’s environmentally friendly – no paper or ink
  • Audiobooks are great for the people who don’t like reading in general but have to read a book whether that be for school or because they’re being dragged into a book club.
  • You can listen to them on multiple devices [link]

I’m an avid audiobook listener so of course, I think the pros outweigh the cons. I really think that audiobooks are a great option as a way to read books. Physically reading books – whether it be in your hand, on a tablet or through braille is always amazing.

I believe that the pros outweigh the cons because as long as you have a library around problems like money aren’t as much of a problem reading-wise. Yes, there’s still somewhat of an issue if you have trouble concentrating hearing the words versus reading them physically.

So, to go back to the question in the title of this post: do audiobooks count as reading? The answer should always be yes: reading on your phone vs reading a physical book with real pages & ink vs listening to a book through your headphones. They all count as reading because no matter what, you’re absorbing the story, you’re taking in the plot and learning about the characters. Reading in any form counts as reading.

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DO YOU LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOK?

WHY DO YOU LIKE/ NOT LIKE AUDIOBOOKS?

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20 thoughts on “BOOK VICES: THE PROS & CONS OF AUDIOBOOKS + DO THEY COUNT AS READING? (ANSWER: YES)

  1. Thank you for this! I totally get that audio books aren’t for everyone, but of course they count as reading. It’s absurd that some actually think it’s controversial, it only serves as “gate-keeping” from the book community. It’s like people that don’t count crime novels and YA as “real-books” lmao Savannah go and read your leatherbounds

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally, I don’t read audiobooks because 1. I get distracted too easily and 2. I have too many podcasts to catch up with. But I do respect those who read audiobooks and I have also heard a lot about how audiobooks help people with reading when they just don’t have the time to sit down and take out a physical book to read. So yes, I think audiobooks do count as reading even though I don’t read audiobooks myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can completely understand that and I do struggle with getting distracted with some audiobooks, I think it’s usually down to the writing or narrator when I can’t concentrate on the audiobook. I’m jealous of #2, I can never stick to a podcast, I always forget about them and stop listening!

      Reading audiobooks is amazing if it’s your only option and you have the means to acquire them, but reading in any form is amazing in itself!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, the not really reading it thing is stupid. I wrote a blog post about it, but I agree that the point shouldn’t be “are you eyes looking at words?” unless we’re talking about school and actually trying to get a student to develop reading skills. Otherwise, you heard and comprehended and thought about the text. It’s reading.

    But I don’t like audiobooks because I can’t focus, they’re slow, and half the narrators annoy me. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, as long as you’re taking and understanding the content, it should still count as reading. I mean, we’ll never win though because there are people who don’t count using an e-reader as reading.
      I can totally understand that. I usually recommend trying to listen to your favourite book on audio if you can’t concentrate but, if you don’t like audiobooks you don’t like audiobooks. Also, yes, a bad narrator can RUIN a good book.

      Like

  4. I don’t use audiobooks only because I don’t think they’d work for me and I have no need for them. I’m homebound, the only place I ever go is the Dr’s (and I don’t drive so I can read an ebook or physical book), and I have trouble focusing on stuff like that (which is a me thing, not the book). However they do very much count as reading and i’m so happy for all the people they work for! Maybe i’ll try them one day and find out i’m wrong about them not working for me. It’s definitely ableist to say audiobooks don’t count. Audiobooks, ebooks, physical books, it all counts as reading. A story is making a way into your noggin in any form. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can completely understand that! I have 2 hr trips to and from school so I find audiobooks really helpful because I don’t have to take the physical book with me, but if I was at home more throughout the book I would probably listen to fewer audiobooks too.
      If you ever try an audiobook out I recommend listening to an excerpt first to see if you like the narrator and then listening to a book you know really well. When I first tried them I listened to the Harry Potter series because I was already familiar with the plot & characters so if I missed a bit it didn’t matter as much.
      I agree everything should count as reading and it makes no sense to say otherwise!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for linking to me post 😊 As you know, personally I can’t concentrate on Audiobooks because I am easily distracted πŸ™ˆ But it doesn’t mean that listening to audiobooks is not reading. It off course is. As far as you are able to grab a story and words, you are reading. I hate people who judge others because of their reading medium.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted to include your post to try and give a balance to each argument because audiobooks aren’t for everyone and I respect that. I think reading is reading and ebooks and audiobooks should always count. I agree, judging people because of how they read is a horrible thing to do!

      Like

  6. YES YES YES. I think most people who complain about audiobooks haven’t really experienced them, and don’t know about OverDrive/Libby. It’s magical.

    (btw 1.75x and up is SUPER FAST. I think you must be a superhero! I can do 1.3x but that’s about it) πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I think if you’ve tried a variety of audiobooks or at least sampled a few chapters from different narrators then you have the right to an opinion. But if you’ve never tried an audiobook can you butt your nose out, please? Exactly, libraries have audiobooks for free and it’s amazing!

      (I had no idea that was considered fast! πŸ™ˆ I’ve actually been listening to a few on 2.15x lately so maybe I do have superpowers???) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Like

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