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Do you consider listening to an audiobook as having read a book

Started by Mobius, February 25, 2021, 09:15:45 PM

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I haven't actually read the last few books I said I've read. I've listened to them on Audible. Is that the same thing? Does it matter?


I do yes, but I'm having trouble finding decent ones

is there a place where people share them?


Since when did reading just involve listening? Every single definition of reading (that I've just seen) involves looking at text.

I've nothing against audiobooks, but for me the experience is so different as to constitute a different thing, especially when it comes to fiction.
Firstly, an audiobook moves through the text in a straightforward linear way, but with a printed text I think a lot of readers tend to do things like:
Do an initial skim-read of a page before reading the page more slowly,
Linger and re-read striking sentences,
Read less interesting parts more quickly
Move back to an earlier paragraph, or even an earlier chapter, and re-read it in the context of the new information found in a later paragraph,
underline things and write things in the margins.
Personally, I feel like the visual appearance of the printed letters in a character's name plays a part in how I imagine them, though maybe something analogous happens there with the way a name sounds in an audiobook.


Quote from: holyzombiejesus on February 25, 2021, 09:36:06 PM
Since when did reading just involve listening? Every single definition of reading (that I've just seen) involves looking at text.

What about when someone says "I can read you like a book"


Quote from: Mobius on February 26, 2021, 03:13:12 AM
What about when someone says "I can read you like a book"

Good point. There's the reading festival too, that involves listening.

Captain Crunch

I can't remember when I first heard about this but apparently listing to an audiobook while reading along with the paper version is a bit of a thing, immersive reading.

Doesn't really matter, the text is the text, however you take it on is your decision as long as you do take it in. There are certain books that benefit from being read aloud, others where it detracts. I don't do audiobooks because occasionally I feel the the need to take certain paragraphs in slowly, especially in the modernist classics. Books written in cultural idioms that are not your own can benefit from an audio version read by somebody with the ear for it, but sometimes working it out from the page is half the fun of it. This is very much a 'you do you' type of situation.


Consuming a book? Is that satisfactory? You havent actually read it.

Always best to read the text off of the page and really sit with the thing in that way, because that best reflects the author's intentions and allows deeper engagement, but to be honest I find the fixation on the idea that audiobook listeners 'haven't read' a book to be snobbery I'm afraid, a largely substance-free talking point that people use to hold themselves above others. Some people are auditory learners and I would much rather my book group friends listen to the audiobook so we can chat about it than not read it at all because they can't sit comfortably with it for whatever reason. For me to accuse them of not having read it or not reading it properly would serve no real purpose, unless the book had pictures or diagrams (which of course most literary fiction does not have).


I think it's more or less the same thing. Of course, a print book has the advantage of allowing you to flip back and check what you had already read before... but for me it's the mark of a bad book if you're always having to do that. What matters with books is that you're really paying attention to them. Paying attention - not "drifting off" - is the most difficult thing, in either case. We're all guilty of "reading" a book but not really having read it - in my experience, it's no more or less likely to happen in the case of "listening" but not really "hearing".

So I'll throw in my chips on the "yeah" pile.

But... one massive practical advantage of print books that can't be replaced by audiobooks is how easy it is to fold a page down and mark a passage for later reference. It's a great feeling when you can go over to your bookshelf and quickly find a passage you had marked down as important many years before. For this reason I would always want a print copy of a book I really cared about, and I will always prefer print books to the audio alternative.


Quote from: Captain Crunch on February 26, 2021, 12:22:20 PM
I can't remember when I first heard about this but apparently listing to an audiobook while reading along with the paper version is a bit of a thing, immersive reading.

This is certainly a very effective way to study a foreign language. It even has a name in the polyglot community: "The L-R Method"


Depends how closely you are paying attention I reckon.

If you pop a book on in the background, then check in and realize you don't know what's going on but oh well then it doesn't count. If you're driving or listening on headphones then it's essentially the same as reading, though you will always miss the intangibles like visually interesting words/phrases, or a well-crafted frontispiece.



Nothing against audiobook as an art form but it's not reading. That involves looking at words on a page. That's pretty much the dictionary definition.
Chambers: read transitive verb (pat and pap read /red/)
To look at and comprehend the meaning of written or printed words




Great to know that my little boy was reading when he was 2 and we played him the Gruffalo when he went to sleep.

Mister Six

Yeah, it's fine, who cares?

Personally I find it difficult to absorb anything complicated in audio form, though, so tend to stick to autoobiogs narrated by the author.

Ray Travez


I've listened to very few audiobooks. Kafka's Metamorphosis which was serialised on radio 4, a few chapters of Keith Richards' autobiography before I got fed up of it; Ollie Ollerton's book and half of Foxy's. Quite SAS heavy, my listening. There's probably a couple of others now I recall; the excrable The Stars in Our Eyes was one.

My sense is that I can recall visual images from the audiobooks better than I can from reading. Perhaps because part of the visual cortex is being used to process the words when you read? For me it's quite a different experience, more akin to watching a film than reading.

I wouldn't call it 'reading' the book, but it wouldn't bother me if someone else did.


Does anyone use the sync feature between an audible and its kindle counterpart?  Obviously they get you to buy it twice (although there's often a hefty discount) so it's not my usual practice but the odd time I've done it kind of works.  Now to work out whether I've read those books...


I, Partridge (or any of the Partridge books) have more content as an audiobook, as Coogan adds in the wibbles and wobbles that is the Partridge voice. 


i think i prefer it as i have so little time to read these days, with an audiobook i can stick them on while i'm working and still absorb the whole thing


I don't think I'd enjoy fiction in audiobook. You want to come up with your own idea of what characters' voices sound like and their tone. Reference stuff and autobiographies (especially read by the actual subject) are great in your ears as you march up a hill for your daily lockdown exercise.


A girl I went to school with wrote a book and did the audible reading herself. That was quite a weird experience, especially the chapter about wiping her dad's arse.

Magnum Valentino

Vic Reeves does a reading of his autobioraphy Me Moir, but it's listed as abridged. I imagine that would be a great listen but I don't like the idea of being short-changed, as in I'd miss out on possible great material that's only in the book itself. But for biographies there's a lot to be said for hearing the author, and in particular a comic, read their own work.

How does one abridge a book? How is it decided what to remove? Would the editor take care of it then give the 'script' back to the author to read, or would the author have a say in what's excised?

The Mollusk

You want to try reading a book when you've got ADHD and any external distraction even as minuscule as the sound of a car driving past outside or hearing the upstairs neighbour walking around completely sucks you out of the zone. I haven't read a book in well over half a decade. Most news articles are hard for me. Audiobooks - having someone talk to you - are a world apart, to the point that I can even sit on the bus listening to them when I've got the world whizzing right by my field of vision. They're of enormous benefit to me.