Yakkety Yak- Doesn’t Count If You Didn’t Actually Read It

Posted June 3, 2017 by Sophia Rose in Yakkety Yak Let's Chat / 45 Comments

Yakkety Yak...Let's Chat

When the idea of doing a post on Delighted Reader for June Is Audio Month occurred to me, I wasn’t sure what topic I wanted to address to draw focus to this wonderful emerging powerhouse that has opened the world of books to more people.  Then the topic dropped right in my lap two days ago.

I noticed on Facebook the other day when a string of comments were discussing how many books people were reading in a year that a commenter said she got to about fifty books a year with most of them audiobooks.  This is a common enough sight on FB if you have lots of readers in your friends list.

What made me do the googly eyes thing was the comment on her comment.  Someone else told the gal that the audio books didn’t count because she didn’t actually read them.  There was no smiley face, just kidding, or LOL so the response was meant seriously.

Say what!?!

How does a book not count just because you used your ears to receive the content that your brain processed rather than your eyes?  Is it because you didn’t have to do the work of parsing out the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters for yourself?

I had a gut reaction to the critical comment, but I do try to give more than a reactionary response when I’m too hot under the collar to be reasonable.  So, I took a deep breath and thought about it.

See, I get this critic’s point if- and only if- reading is all about racking up numbers in this ‘well I read x amount of books each year’ or if one has a narrower definition of what counts as reading.

BUT, right or wrong in this instance, her point is immaterial if the object of reading is to experience, learn, and/or enjoy the content of the books and if one has a broader definition of what books are and what reading is.

This thought led me to the pondering of the idea that ‘reading’ is in flux right now and largely due to audio books.  Even saying you only count print books as those read, can get hairy in some circles.  I found that out when I innocently entered an indie bookstore into the middle of a fiery discussion a few years back.  People didn’t want to count electronic books as books read since they were not paper copies.  And, with time, we got them past that and now many are all fired up over their e-readers and five thousand books stored there.  So now, it is the same sort of thing with the audio.

Fascinating to be living through these historical evolutions in reading and books, right?  LOL  I like to tease my mom that her idea of the tablet was a slate and piece of chalk back in her day (she still shuns cell phones and her coffeemaker came out of the sixties.  Don’t even get me started on her idea of light reading.)

So, ahem, back to the legitimacy of audiobooks counting as reading…

My own opinion is a resounding yes, they count.  Now what my preference is… that’s a Yakkety Yak for another day.

What are your thoughts on this?  Audios, are they legit books and count as reading, or no?  Do Tell and enjoy a good audio during JIAM!


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • A book is a book. If you read a print book, an ebook or listened to an audio book. It’s still a book and in my mind counts as a book. I remember a few years ago when people would say how many books they read in a year that some would say that ebooks didn’t count because they weren’t real books. So maybe it just takes some people longer to see them as books.

    • Agreed. I think it will take some time, but eventually, they will be more widely accepted. I think fear is at the bottom of it all that change will happen and they will lose what they already love (print books), but I think the book will always be around in some incarnation or another.

      Enjoyed your thoughts, Mary!

  • Of course audiobooks count. I have had people tell me that I shouldn’t count them and said it was the same thing as counting a movie based on a book as a book read. This individual doesn’t read at all so I didn’t say a word since he had no idea what he was even talking about.

    • Yeah, I’d probably scrap the non-reader opinion, too, Carole. An audio book is not the same as a script adapted from the book and put into movie form (which, if you really want to poke at them, has merit, too,LOL).

  • Oh my goodness! If audios don’t count, my books read amount would be way down. I love listening and would do way more of it if it wasn’t expensive! I rarely read a paper book anymore, although I have many I have collected in my tbr. So YES, listening counts as reading as far as I am concerned!

    • Oh me, too, Carole. I am at about 25% of my reading total coming from audios and they sure make chores and other activities much more fun plus I’m getting to books I wouldn’t have had time for.

  • That’s silly. It’s still a book that she is listening to (as opposed to a magazine or newspaper article or something). Audiobooks are super long too, it takes longer to finish an audiobook than it does a straight read of a book! (Well, for me – it takes me 3-4 hours to finish a book.) Audiobooks canbe like 10 hours, right? I’ve never tried an audiobook but I firmly believe that audiobooks “count” in terms of reading.

    Great post, Sophia! =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yep, for a fast visual reader, an audio book does take longer. I’ve even set the speed faster on an audio, but it still isn’t as quick as me reading it myself. Good point, Alyssa.

  • Maybe that particular person doesn’t think they count but I say they do. To me that’s like saying it didn’t count that you listened to a song because it was on a cd and not the radio. A book is a book is a book.

    • Oh, neat comparison, Ashley. The source of the music doesn’t change the fact that it’s music. 🙂

  • Buahaha! Yes, your word is golden, Christy!

  • Ofcourse it is! Take note, this answer came from a person who haven’t tried audio book…just yet *wink

    I really kind of hate it when people think otherwise. Well, why would they even call it audio books if they’re not books eh? haha

    Thanks for pointing this out Sophia Rose, I’m sharing this 😉

    • Yes, exactly. It’s still the same book with the same words, right? Thanks, Vanessa for the share. 🙂

  • I totally agree with you! It’s experiencing the world of the characters through their eyes that is important to me, and that can be enhanced when listening to a story rather than reading it myself. To me, a book is a book, no matter the format, and I think it’s so sad that there is so much judgement in the bookish community. Like, because one person doesn’t do audiobooks, she finds it invalid as an actual book? It’s called audiobook not something else 🙂
    Great subject for your yakkety yak, Sophia 🙂
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Yes, good point, Lexxie! Getting the narration only enhances a book and it sure is called audioBOOK. 🙂

      I got mad when I first read the comment response b/c I thought was a judgmental remark, too, and I get tired of seeing them when we should be happy that people are experiencing books any way they can.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Lexxie!

  • I do get that reading and listening to books is a different experience, but to say audiobook don’t count is just weird. You still experience the story and even though it’s technically not reading, I would still count it as reading for the sake of how many books you read in a year. I can also see why people would say I read X book and listened to X audiobooks in the same way I might differentiate between e-books and physical copies, but in the end I still would count them all as books read even if the medium is different.

    It is itnerestign to see those changes in the reading world and how some people still hold fast to the old idea of reading or even publishing while you see the world change around them. And slowly those things like e-books which were rare once, become more common. I am sure that will happen with audiobooks too and hopefully comments like that will be more rare as well. I still remember how when e-books just started becoming more common I was firmly against them, look at me now. I read 51 books this year and am just reading my first physical copy.

    Back to the main topic, yes I think audiobooks still count as reading too.

    • I didn’t like to see someone discount the audio books under this type of circumstance, either. They listened through the whole thing and got the same content if not more than reading it so for total numbers or challenges, I think it should definitely count as well. Sometimes challenges distinguish what format of book counts for their numbers and like you say, that’s when stating that one read so many of each type is appropriate. I guess it will take a bit longer for people to get used to the idea of audiobooks.

      LOL, yes, you would definitely be in trouble for the challenges if only print books counted. So would I.

  • Debbie Haupt

    okay yes the audible experience is NOT reading, BUT it also can’t be ruled out. What about the readers who are sight challenged, readers who are dyslexic or have other comprehension problems or hey how about those of us who really LOVE the narrator experience. So my vote is YES listening to an audio book is reading.

    • I thought of the sight challenged and those with difficulty reading, too. Since this is probably opening up more opportunities than Braille books and other reading tools for libraries. Very good point, Debbie!

  • I mean, you say “I listened to the audiobook” not “I read the audiobook.” So I can sort of see where the person is coming from if they are trying to be literal about it but regardless, an audiobook is still a book. Trust me, I have friends that like nothing more than to be literal and correct everyone on social media. *rolls eyes* However, I count audiobooks as “read” on my Goodreads list and write reviews on audiobooks. The only time I think audiobooks shouldn’t be considered reading is when you are tasked to read something for school, like a reading assignment, then it should be in a written format. Otherwise, you’re not giving your brain that exercise of registering/learning words, grammar, and formatting.

    • LOL, yes, it was probably someone being literal and maybe not necessarily trying to be mean as I have a few literal-minded friends as well. Very good points about how audios should be counted. I think it makes a difference what the context is, as well, Kristin. Thanks!

      And thanks for visiting for the #getsocial17 event.

  • It’s a different experience for sure, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that listening to an audiobook isn’t reading.

    Stopping by from the #getsocial17 blog hop. It’s nice to meet you.

    • Yes, good point, Jackie. Different, but counts. 🙂

      Thanks for the visit. 🙂

  • RO

    Even though it’s pretty hard for me to get into the audio versions, and I see a lot of people getting them from the library, clearly, the book is being read, it’s just not being done in the traditional sense. Someone who listens, is just as capable of discussing the plot and work of the author as a person who may have the written word in front of them. This is a really great discussion and another example of what comments can come out via social media. (lol) Hugs…Sophia and Happy Sunday! #getsocial17

    • Ha, yes, FB is fodder for comment material these days. LOL

      I like that point, Ro. A person can listen to the book and fruitfully discuss it and learn from it and the author’s work as much as someone who has a print version.

      Thanks for dropping in for the #GetSocial17 event. 🙂

  • Karen

    I saw this come up last year and I can’t for the life of me understand how that is not reading a book.

    It’s a different experience in that you can be doing other things – like driving, cleaning etc while reading but you still get the full experience of the book so that seems like a weird comment to me.

    Stopping by for #getsocial17

    For What It’s Worth

    • Yes, this sort of issue does seem to come up frequently. I remember a few times when e-books came out and now it seems audios are stirring it up.

      It is a wonderful thing for when you otherwise can’t read a print version. Good point, Karen.

      Appreciate you coming over to visit is us for #GetSocial17 🙂

  • Interesting topic, Sophia! I can get why that would raise your back up over that FB comment. I’ve seen similar and you just wanna give them the stink eye. I’m mixed on it. I can see both parts for me personally. Yes, I count them on my Goodreads totals and mark them read. But I also don’t get the same out of them as if I’d read the actual words. It’s like reading-lite for me. It’s kinda like a book/tv or radio hybrid. I don’t retain as much or have as much of an opinion about them when it comes to reviewing even when I’ve enjoyed. They tend to be short overall reviews and no detail. So I can see both sides. But really no need to be snotty about it.

    Now one thing (totally different topic) I do take some issue with on both the writer and reader side is short stories. I have some people who will go I read 500 books this year!! But when you look half+ are “books” that were 50 pages or less. Same with authors I know. I have some who will brag they’ve written dozens of books. But those books are all 50 pages or less. So is that really considered a “book”? Eh. Sorry tangent! LOL

    PS A heads up on the #GetSocial17 event (for Shari since she signed up)– I had a blip with the sign up linky (it didn’t request email info from anyone so I couldn’t send yall the kick off post ) so stopping by with the link which has the official linky list everyone can use to visit all the blogs 🙂 Hope you meet some fun new friends during the event! Thanks so much for joining in!


    • Oh hey, that is a good point you make about what you get out of audios affecting how you see them in terms of ‘reading’. That’s interesting how they hit you as different. I do get that since my very first year with audios was a rough transition. If I hadn’t already read the book then I struggled to engage the story when it was being narrated to me. Of course, narrator and the actual story played a role as well as changing the speed on my Audible app. 🙂 But sometimes, yes, I need the book in my hands to experience it best.

      Oh, now the length of the book when counting for bragging rights is a good gripe. I’ve not seen an author do it, but I have seen other readers do it. It’s kind of the same as the audios counting thing b/c it comes back to someone worrying about the numbers total and not about the content or experience of the book.

      Haha, no biggie about the event notice. We’ll find a way to make our rounds. Looks like a great turn out so far for your event and I love returning the visits and meeting new folks and their blogs. 🙂

      • Even when I LOVE a book and narrator. I just don’t get the same about of retention from it. I can say I liked it or didn’t but character details slip by me much like watching tv. It’s not a bad thing just a different way of “reading” when it comes to audiobooks.

        Really when it bugs me if someone is showboating about how much they read and bragging but then you look and you’re like yeah, I see what you’ve done there. lol I usually have a couple real short reads in my stack by end of year and I think that’s normal. But if you’ve got 50-70% of your ‘books’ read that are only a few dozen pages that makes me roll my eyes. lol

        • You are definitely not the only one like that when it comes to audios. I know tons of folks who are in your shoes. I haven’t seen an education scholar tackle this concept, but I think it comes from the same place with how all of us learn and receive our knowledge best (visual, audio, kinetic learning). It’s not that you can’t enjoy audio, but that it is not your best way to receive the story. This is why we need all our formats. My poor mom cannot use an e-reader b/c of her particular visual problems, but she has no trouble with a print copy and I know others that struggle with print copies and the e-reader has saved them. I think audios will be great for those with reading disabilities and visual impairments.
          Ope, sorry, got carried away. 🙂

          Yes, the showboating. Ugh! I don’t like that either. As you say, its one thing to have a few shorties in the pile because hey, there are usually a few humdingers to balance that, but to strut around like one is something special when half the pile are shorties is not classy. Besides, it does no good to be arrogant when everyone who is being compared all come from different walks of life and the opportunities to read are not the same. I know single moms who work two jobs and I think they are hot stuff because they can read thirty books a year. I’ve not seen the show, but I have heard of the Gibb’s slap and that is what I want to do when this bragging stuff starts. 🙂

          • It would be interesting to see a study on it. I saw one a little while back about ebook vs print book and that we actually retain more from a print book than an ebook. I found it interesting since at the time I’d been thinking how I rarely recall a hero/heroine name anymore but the early days when I read in print only I recall a TON more about the characters/series/etc. Crazy how the mind can work that way.

            • A light bulb just went off when you shared that. I wonder if that is why I struggle to remember details. I have to make notes like I never had to do before to remember for my reviews or just talking up books I’ve read.

              • I really wonder. I have to take notes like crazy now, too. But I can tell you all about a series I read in 2011 pre ebook. Honestly I can finish a book and immediately have forgotten a heroine or hero’s name. It’s frustrating.

                • Someone must have done this as a grad project at least. Maybe I’ll see if there’s anything on the web. I’m curious now. 🙂

  • Michelle

    There was a time I might have agreed that listening to an audiobook didn’t count, however that was long before I ever started listening to audiobooks. They definitely count as reading because you still have to focus on what the narrator is saying, just as if you were reading it from the page.
    At least half of the books I’ve read so far this year have been audiobooks, and I’ve gotten just as much out of them as I have the digital and physical books that I’ve read.
    Great discussion post!

    Stopping by for #getsocial17

    • Yes, I think your point about what you get out of them being the same is the crucial point, Michelle.

      Hey, glad to meet a new face through the #GetSocial17 event. 🙂

  • Greg Hill

    I think they absolutely count. I don’t personally do audio much because I get distracted easily and then have to go back lol, but yeah- they’re books. Once you’ve listened to it you’ve had the same content as if you’ve read it physically, so yeah.

    • Exactly. The audio listener can sit down and discuss the book at book club or around the watercooler right along with the print reader person.

      LOL, you are not alone with audiobook struggles. I’ve encountered several folks who just do not retain the details well that way. I have a theory that it’s connected to the type of learner you are.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and weighing in, Greg. 🙂

  • I think audio books count. The reader is still spending time with a story. An audio book is almost always derived from a written book, it’s just another form of media.
    Stopping in for the #getsocial17 event!

    • Yes, the reader is getting the story. I agree, PJ. Thanks for dropping by for a social call for the #GetSocial17 event. 🙂

  • I think they count, and it infuriates me when someone tries to say otherwise. Because let me be clear – *I* decide what is reading for me, not anyone else. Not reading for you? No problem. Quite frankly, I don’t care about someone’s business enough to dictate otherwise to them. Why do they need to be all up in mine?

    See? This topic gets me hot under the collar, too! 😉 Great post.

    • Yeah, I reacted too, Angie. But it gave me a good discussion topic and something to think about so at least I got that out of it, too. LOL
      Yes, I do think that is part of it, too. A person’s reading experiences or listening is personal and they should be able to count it as time experiencing a book. Good point!

  • Vicky222

    I’m with you. An audio book counts because you still have to focus and pay attention so you get all of the details. I am actually looking forward to listening to an audio book as part of the Popsugar 2017 reading challenge. Whatever form a book is in, its still a book. Have a great weekend!


    • Yes, you do have to focus and pay attention- at least I do. 🙂 Especially for a sci-fi.

      Oh cool! Wishing you luck for Popsugar.

      Thanks for dropping by, Vicky! 🙂