Does listening to an audiobook count as "reading" a book?
Is it an inferior act? Do you retain as much?
These are some questions i have been contemplately lately.
Apparently these questions are common in some book forums and recently The New York Times did a piece on the topic, quoting a few authors as saying they'd rather have their books read then listened to.
So what's your take? Are you getting less from a book if you listen to it?
While driving, some information gets lost as people hearing the story get distracted, just as may happen to a driver listening to The Brothers Karmazov while commuting to work (and yes, I tried that).
On the other hand there are perfectly valid reason to listens to books on tape or cd.
Now I've listened to my share of audiobooks, especially when having time constraints.
Call me old school, but I think one gets more out of the one-on-one aspect of reading, focusing directly on a book you can hold in your hands, turn pages at your own pace, etc.
Besides, It's hard to dog-ear a page on a cd. Go ahead and try it.No, really, I'll wait here while you go do that.
Are you back? Ok...
You don't have to worry about whether you can stand the voice of the person reading the book and other factors unique to audiobooks.
And someday when I write my first book I would sure rather people read it than listen to it.
Now I just need to find time to actually write it, which I instead use to read books, bringing this whole issue back to
On the other hand, oral history pre-dates the printing press.
There are also some books which are better on audio because you get to hear the author's voice. Any story by David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell - both regulars on the excellent This American Life radio program - is better when heard
Plus for Sarah's last book, Assassination Vacation, along with the Daily Show's America book, they are using actors and it's just overall much more hilarious.
Both are so good I listened to them twice. Which is something I rarely do.
Which may be another good thread someday - why do some read books multiple times while others (me) would rather read as many books as possible and doesn't want to get slowed down reading Lord of the Rings 88 times?
So I don't know - I guess I'm flip-flopping more than a politician when asked why they oppose campaign finance reform.
What do you think?