Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Audiobook Listening Considered Reader Cheating?

I'm listening to audiobooks now. In the past, I avoided them for two reasons: I didn't have a long enough commute and I thought that if I didn't actually pick up the book and read it, then it didn't count.

Of course, technically, listening isn't reading. But, in theory, the activity of listening vs reading is only different in the method of input. When you read, you see the words and your brain creates images and creates a world for you to live in. When you listen, your brain still does those same things. You still have to imagine it all. Perhaps the biggest difference is that you can't go at your own pace or stop to take notes when you're listening.

So, today I believe that when I listen to books, I've legitimately consumed that book. However, I still think there are certain books that can't simply be heard and must be read. I plan to practice some basic rules to determine if I go book vs audiobook:

  1. Books for improving my job need to be audiobooks because they normally take me months to read. Good info, not very fun.
  2. Humor books read by the author are great audiobooks, e.g., Tina Fey's Bossypants.
  3. I'm torn on "classics" because some you just HAVE to read and others are Moby Dick.
  4. Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror make great audiobooks and can really freak your ___ while you're driving home from work and it's dark.
  5. Any audiobooks read by Kirby Heyborne because he's a friend and doesn't suck at it.
  6. Read books by authors who love and play with language because that is a visual experience and can't be duplicated by listening. Authors such as Hemmingway, Beckett, Chabon, Cather, Poe, Pynchon, Shakespeare, and Faulkner, for example.
  7. Read books that your book club is reading if at all possible just because. I don't belong to a book club but I feel like I would prefer to have read the book myself. Maybe it depends on the book. Thoughts, book-clubbers?

But enough about me, let's hear (ok, read) what some other people have to say about the question.

"Is listening to a book as good as reading it? I contend that it is not ... I choose audiobooks that are heavy on plot, but relatively light on character development and lyrical descriptions." – Mary McCauley of the Baltimore Sun blog

"Audio books are not cheating. In fact, I think that in some cases hearing a story spoken aloud can bring a new depth to the experience. I no longer stumble over the phrase “I’ve read that book” if, in fact, I have listened to it instead of reading the print version. The end result – hearing the tale – is the same whether you’re reading or, in essence, being read to." – @suddenlyjamie of the New Hampshire Writer's Network blog

I listen to audiobooks with the Audible app for the iPhone. Now, on my way to work, I listen to books all the time. I look forward to every moment I have in my car now, even with work-related books. I once again feel like a "reader" because I'm finishing books.

Are audiobooks cheating?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...