I Read You Loud and Clear

I'm amazed at how popular audio books are. Part of me is sad because I think people are physically reading less, and part of me is happy because we might be exposed to more great books this way. While thinking about this I came up with an important question.

If you have listened to an audio book, have you "read" it?

Most people I think would say yes. I would argue that it's not the same thing. For me, I get a sense of accomplishment when I read a book with my own eyes. I might go back and forth between pages or reread lines to get something I missed the first time. It feels to me like a fundamentally different activity, like watching a theater production of a play vs. reading the script (I'd use movies as an example, but obviously they are typically very different).

Full disclosure: I have never listened to an audio book, with two exceptions. I did once listen to The Book of Mormon on audio over the course of a few weeks during my commute. I enjoyed it and got some things out of it that I hadn't when reading. But I still wouldn't "count" it as the daily reading we have been counseled to do. The second exception was when I did freelance work with an audio book production company. I would read the book and listen to their audio recordings, making corrections. That was work, so not the same thing as just choosing a book I wanted to read and listening to it.

So here is what I propose. If you have listened to an audio book but have not physically read it, in conversation you may say, "I read it." But you must use air quotes with the word "read." And in writing you would place quotation marks around "read" as well.

So let it be written. So let it be heard.


)en said…
I agree. I guess it's like how a kid has "read" a book his/her mom or dad read to them. (But they didn't really read it; mom or dad did.) I can't listen to books very well. I am too easily distracted and stop paying attention and then have to backtrack. When I'm driving it's much easier. I often listen to podcasts so maybe I should swap out an audio book or something. I'm still adjusting to the kindle way of reading "books" too.
Joel said…
I am totally on board the ebook train. I can't read physical books anymore. Partly because the way I read is taking my phone out for 30 seconds at a time in between the kids yelling at me to do something for them. It's just not practical to carry physical books around.
Lori said…
sometimes i like to listen-read a book while i am working. since drawing and designing don't use that part of my brain...unless i am working on verses for my stamp sets.

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