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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Listen: Audiobooks ARE Reading

Its often argued that listening to audiobooks does not count as reading, although the content is all the same (Pngtree).
It’s often argued that listening to audiobooks does not count as reading, although the content is all the same (Pngtree).

A longtime debate in the book world is whether or not audiobooks are considered to be real reading or not.

Audiobooks are essentially just voice recordings of books, whether it be a school textbook or a book for fun, and have been available since the 1930s. With rising technology, e-books and audiobooks have transformed reading for many people, providing another pathway to access books and reading material, becoming another option for those who want to read. 

Recently, the argument of whether audiobooks are “real” reading have surfaced, with one side arguing that while audiobooks are  still consuming books, they are in a way what is not actual reading. 

Reading is defined by the Oxford Dictionary to be “the action of reading written or printed material”, which is the main argument that people use in correspondence to audiobooks– since audiobooks are listening, they are not exactly “reading” anything. 

However, the short answer is that audiobooks are reading. It may be a different format of reading, but it is still taking that printed material and processing it into your brain. It’s a different type of reading, just like reading a physical novel versus an e-novel. 

Audiobooks make reading accessible for all, and give people who are blind or have eye struggles access to reading. This allows for people to enjoy reading and have another option, especially for people who might need to listen in order to focus better. The preference is absolutely up to the person. 

For instance, I personally prefer physical books over audiobooks or e-readers, but I would never fault anyone for using them. They’re forms of reading that can be enjoyable for all, and still force comprehension, knowledge, and enjoyment out of them, despite not being what others might consider a “real” book. 

The experience is different from reading a physical book, but audiobooks are still books, still considered reading. Also, many people choose to do a hybrid experience, reading a physical book while simultaneously listening to the audiobook. Audiobooks provide a different experience no matter how you consume them, and at the end of the day, it is still a book.

On top of that, audiobooks are simply another form of storytelling, and word by mouth was truly the first way that stories came to fruition. Generations have passed down stories, based on culture and experiences, long before they were ever put into print. 

It’s especially important to accept audiobooks as reading, as it is now so prominent in society to have different forms of reading media available. It’s a sign of inclusivity and can provide a sense of comfort and welcome to those who want to get into reading and enjoy it in the way that they want and/or need to. 

So really, this argument isn’t even an argument. Audiobooks are reading, just in a different form, and despite what others may say, it is media that allows for people to enjoy reading in a different way. A way in which they want to read. 


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