Audiobooks Don’t Count as Reading? Really?

Okay, so, preface. I was watching InsaneReader’s video (which I’ll put right after this bit, because the guy is hilarious and if you haven’t seen him before, I recommend just giving him a chance) where he reacts to Booktube drama videos, and at about the 11:50 mark, he’s watching a video of a girl ranting about her bookish pet peeves, one of which happens to be about people “reading” audiobooks and how she doesn’t agree that it should be a thing.

I went ahead and watched her video too (and read a comment below it from her expanding on the topic), and I can see why she would think it wouldn’t count (and she explicitly states for her, it doesn’t feel like it counts for her, she’s not attacking anyone who disagrees or whatever!), but I was actually surprised that people thought that audiobooks don’t count as reading!

Yeah, go ahead, call me out on living under a rock. I knew, and also felt once upon a time, that people thought reading audiobooks wasn’t the same as reading a physical book (for various and also obvious reasons, because it isn’t the same, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the same result … IE, the story being told), but I was either unaware or somehow ignoring the fact that some people don’t believe listening to audiobooks actually counts as reading the book. So, I was a little shook when that bit came up, and it got me thinking.

Now, I am not saying her opinion isn’t a good one, or is wrong or whatever, all I’m doing here is asking you: How do you feel about audiobooks, and do you think they count as reading?

Because this is new territory for me! I’m genuinely curious about the reader community’s thoughts on the subject, and why you feel that way about whichever way you feel. I don’t see anything on the subject (which is why I was so in the dark about it) aside from people, like, always plugging Audible, which is for audiobooks, and I’m too lazy to give it a thorough searching (although I am going to do that at some point, I’m just off of work as I write this and don’t feel like doing it right now), so I’m asking here instead!

I personally think it counts. You’re consuming the story just as you would if you were physically reading it, in most cases, but I can fully understand why someone wouldn’t think that the same as I do. And in cases like The Illuminae Files or books with illustrations, I would agree you probably don’t quite get the full experience through having it read to you, because you’re missing out on some of the really fun parts that come with reading it yourself. For example: Gemina is packed full of comics and doodles and little bits from one of the characters, and I have no idea how these were expressed in the audiobook — if they even were at all. And if they weren’t, that’s such a shame! Because they really helped identify the character they were coming from, along with the people around her. I know the audiobooks are still great, but in this case I would have to push for the physical copy to be read.

However, that does not include cases where maybe someone has a disability and can’t read a physical book, so that obviously this doesn’t apply to those cases.

But, back to before, any other book? Like your typical book you’re maybe having trouble getting through (reading the same line over and over and over and over …) or don’t have time to sit and read but can listen to on a drive to and from work (how I got started on audiobooks while doing an internship that took two and a half hours to drive to), I fully support “reading” via an audiobook. And I think it counts!

But I want to know what others think on the subject. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine! I want to know that you don’t and I want to know why, because I really do understand what people mean when they don’t think it counts! I actually probably thought it myself back in my high school years because I was very strict about my media consumption, so I can definitely see why people would think it shouldn’t count.

Let me know what you think about the subject! And thank you for reading!

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5 thoughts on “Audiobooks Don’t Count as Reading? Really?

  1. I definitely think it counts (although I get where the girl is coming from). There’s pros and cons to both but I think when we’re reading a physical book (especially when it’s a really good one or if we’re reading right before bed or something) we all have a tendency to skim a little. Listening to an audiobook makes that impossible. We hear every last detail described by the narrator usually at a slower pace than we would read it. That being said, when I listen to audiobooks, I’m often multitasking so I miss details that way too. I guess that’s all just a long way of saying that it all counts!

    Liked by 1 person

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