This is somewhat controversial – do audiobooks count as ‘reading’ when you’re actually listening to a book rather than reading?
My opinion: yes.
I’ll shout it from the rooftops if I could do that without getting arrested for disturbing the peace or whatever.
There’s been so much controversy over this on Twitter recently (it’s probably always been there but it became more apparent to me recently), and it’s absolutely absurd just how enraged some people are getting over this. Not only is it elitist to claim audiobooks don’t count, but it’s also ableist, and because of that, I can’t sit around and say nothing about it.
WHY IS IT ABLEIST?
Imagine you’re blind. Imagine you were born blind. Imagine your sight got progressively worse throughout the years…
It’s not a nice thought, is it?
To tell people who are visually impaired that they’re not ‘really reading‘ because they’re unable to is very ableist. If the only way they’re going to be able to enjoy books is through an audiobook, who are you to tell them that it’s not a valid form of reading?
And it’s not only those who are visually impaired either. What about those who have dyslexia? ADHD? Irlen’s Syndrome? The list goes on and on. For some people with those conditions, reading is not always easy – or possible.
Audiobooks are a saving grace. It allows them to access content that some of us may take for granted.
WHY LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS
A few weeks ago, I asked on Twitter what everyone’s opinion was on this controversial subject.
81% of the 398 people who voted in my poll believe that audiobooks count as reading. I had 83 comments in total. The majority of those comments were from people who do listen to audiobooks explaining why they listen to them.
The most common answer I came across was people listening to audiobooks on their daily commutes.
Another common reason for listening to audiobooks was to make doing household chores less of a drag.
You know how I mentioned above that to deny audiobooks as reading was ableist? Here are a few responses from some who benefit firsthand from listening to audiobooks.
And even those who don’t listen to audiobooks still consider it reading.
Of all the comments I received on the poll, there were around five comments from people who didn’t think audiobooks counted as reading. One I found interesting was this:
Do you think that having your own perception of a character makes listening to an audiobook a vastly different experience? It’s certainly another side of the argument to consider. However, could we argue that this only applies to those who do not feel a need to listen to audiobooks i.e. full sighted individuals since our experience is one that can include reading a physical book without any problems? Does the experience of listening to an audiobook for visually impaired individuals, for example, count as reading simply because it is the only format in which they can ‘read’ a book?
The general consensus from the poll I ran, whether someone listens to an audiobook or not, is that audiobooks do count as reading. And that’s what I’m sticking with. So, if you want to listen to an audiobook and are afraid of letting the world know due to the controversy, maybe this post can help you with that. After all, 81% is a high majority that should not be ignored. Listen to your heart’s content. A book is a book regardless of format.
Where do you stand on the subject? Do you agree or disagree with any part of this? I’d love to know in the comments (please be respectful of all opinions when commenting).