Monday, September 16, 2013

Do Audiobooks Count as Reading?

Image Credit: Luci GutiƩrrez
I enjoy listening to audiobooks immensely --- Especially if they have a good storyline and are well read. 

This year alone, I have probably listened to more audiobooks than in years past. I enjoy listening to audiobooks while traveling, while spending time at the beach or simply to pass the time at home while doing other things.

I recently wondered if listening to audiobooks counted as reading one?? I know I'm not technically reading a book, but listening to the book instead. However, I still consider listening to an audiobook on par/equivalent to reading a book.

Interestingly enough, I recently came across an article on The Wall Street Journal titled Is Listening to a Book Same as Reading? Do Audiobooks Count as Reading? by Dan Ariely, which poses the same questions I've been wondering about audiobooks myself.

The answer provided by Dan Ariely wasn't so straight forward. For me personally, I will continue to equate listening to an audiobook on par to reading one.

After reading what Dan Ariely wrote in his article, I definitely have new food for thought when it comes to 'listening to' verses 'reading' a book, that sheds new meaning for me on how to view the situation.

For instance, in Dan Areily's article he writes:

"...I purchased an audio book and I listened to it on a long flight—and for what it is worth, I find it is harder to focus when listening to a book than when reading one."

I couldn't agree more with Ariely's observation as I find it more difficult to focus on listening to a book than reading one. For me, reading a book is easier to comprehend /focus my attention on than listening the very same audiobook.

Also, whether you read a book or listen to the audio version, you're still enjoying the experience, just in a slightly different way. 

Perhaps, it really isn't that important whether you consider listening to an audiobook counts as reading it. The important thing to consider is how much you enjoyed the book's content.

Click on above to read the full story! 

Weigh in with your thoughts about audiobooks. Does listening to an audiobook count as reading it? What's your preference to a read a book or to listen to the audio version if it is available? Do you find it more difficult to focus your attention to listening to an audiobook verses reading a book?


  1. I just recently developed an appreciation for audio books, and I too have listened to more books this year than in year's past. I think it's interesting because almost all of my "listens" have been non-fiction, which I rarely read. And yes, I do still count them as having read the book. I think I could just as easily discuss the content of the book, plus I've enjoyed the added experience of the "voices."

    My husband is actually the one who got me hooked on audio books during my daily drive time. It's the only way he will "read," so I also love that it's given us a way to connect about books (which you know I love!).

    Thanks for posting this article ... always interesting to hear others' perspectives.

    1. Brooke, thank you for sharing your experience with me! I think it is wonderful that you and your hubby enjoy listening to books together. :-)

      Listening to books is a great way to connect with other people, especially the ones you love. I wish my hubby or other friends and family also enjoyed reading/listening to books too, so we could discuss them afterward. One of the joys in life (for me anyway) is to also discuss the books I've read with others.

  2. I listed to my first two audio books ever this year. I don't fly so I am constantly driving on road trips. So I have listened to Under the Dome by Stephen King and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Two totally different experiences. Under the Dome I LOVED!!!!!!! I couldn't wait to get back in the car and listen. American Gods was terrible. So It made me wonder would it have been better if I had actually read it? ?? ?? ?

    1. There are audiobooks I've totally loved and others that I couldn't even finish and had to stop listening to all together.

      Sometimes I don't like an audiobook because the story wasn't all that wonderful, but I usually finished listening to the audiobook.

      For me personally, I find it really difficult to listen to an audiobook if the dramatic reading isn't done right. If the reader's accent, tempo, or way of reading a book is off for me, then I can't listen to the audiobook. This may sound strange, but listening to an audiobook is all about the listening experience in addition to a well developed/told story.

      So, perhaps your speculation is correct. Maybe you would have enjoyed reading 'American God' more than listening to it on audiobook., How one experiences certain events (in this case listening vs. reading) makes all the difference in the world.

  3. I don't see why they can't count as reading a book. :)

    I prefer reading a book, though, compared to listening to an audio. I can't sit still enough to listen. :) I did listen to books on tape, though, while I drove to work.

    I also want to thank you for stopping by my post about Burial Rites. It was very good.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Elizabeth!

      Yes, I agree that it is a bit more difficult to sit still long enough to listen to audiobooks, which is why I end up listening to them while traveling to help pass the time, while relaxing at the beach or busy doing something around the house. Otherwise I can't seem to sit still long enough to listen to them.

  4. Great post!

    I couldn't agree more with you about audiobooks. I too consider it as still reading with just a different kind of experience. It is a lot harder to stay focused on an audiobook versus actually reading a book. Thus, your listening skills really come in handing.

    The production of an audiobook is very important to me. A person's concentration span can only go for so long and audiobooks are at least a few hours long. Having a good narrator/reader and even some sound affects makes "reading" the book a good experience. If anything, it adds more value to the story.

    Thank you for sharing this post with me. I highly enjoyed reading it.

    That picture of the girl with books on her ears is very cute!

    1. Thanks for the compliment on my post!! I liked the picture of the girl with books on her ear too!!

      Production/Presentation is everything to me. If I don't like the reader, then I can't listen to the audiobook at all. Some subject matters are also more difficult to listen to for me. I had to stop listening to Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species recently because it was too difficult to listen to the material. I think I'll have a better experience reading the book.