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.
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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