I recently entered a debate as to whether audio books count as “reading”. During this debate, an article was posted that stated audio books don’t count as reading. Obviously listening to something is not the same as reading something. The one definition the dictionary offers for the word reading is:
read•ing– (n) identifying of written or printed words: the process of identifying and understanding the meaning of the characters and words in written or printed material.
Therefore, in the literal sense, reading a book is not the same as listening to a book. However; there are people who think that the activity of listening is less superior to that of reading. This caused me to reflect on my own audio book listening habits. When I listen to an audio book, I concentrate on the speaker and the words being said. I am either lying in my bed or sitting still doing nothing (on the subway or in my home). I am not driving, doing dishes or folding laundry. I am not multi-tasking. I am actively listening and following story plots and subplots.
This is not to imply that those who listen to audio books and multi-task are not actively listening. I am just one of those people who prefer not to do it. I have listened to an audio book while multi-tasking. I find that my concentration is not 100%, so I no longer do it.
There is then the argument of how listening to an audio book does not increase you reading speed. Again this is a very good point. However; speaking only for myself, my reading speed is quite fast. An increase is not necessary. Whereas I would encourage any child to read a printed book in order to increase there speed, I would not tell a ceaseless reader that they should read print in order to increase their speed, as I am sure their reading speed is quite adequate if not above average.
In a Forbes Magazine Article written by Olga Khazan entitled, “Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading?” mentions that the type of book that is being read or listened to can determine how much of it we comprehend.
Finding the time to sit in a comfortable chair and sip a cup of tea is a luxury. It is a good idea to take some time to decompress after a long day, and what a great way to do it. However; the reality is, most people do not have time but still want to enjoy the wonder of books.
There will always be purists. Those who think reading a physical book is superior to listening to an unabridged audio book. There are those who think reading a physical book is superior than reading a book on an e-reader. There are those who think reading a physical book is superior to everything that isn’t a physical book.
As long as you are reading and enjoying what you are reading, I see no problem how you derive the pleasure. Just don’t stop “reading”.