Reading ... or not?

Is listening to an audiobook 'reading'?

I remember asking this question at a conference last year and getting some diversity of response.

Like many others, our children's school uses Accelerated Reader. They can do the quizzes on books that they hear in the car as well as on those that they read.

Comments: 5

Nov 29, 2007
Martin

That's a really interesting question isn't it? I was asking myself that the other day after listening to Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach during a long flight, can I say I've read it? It depends if it's abridged or not for a start, but let's say it's unabridged, is there something in the act of reading itself that makes a difference? I once argued (pretentiously) that reading was a 'cognitive' art form since it wasn't tied to one sense. Blind readers who use braille for instance would argue that they are reading as much as anyone else. So, I think the answer's yes, it is reading, but there is a slight difference to its nature.

Nov 29, 2007
Karen Tobin

Yes, but only if it's unabridged.

Nov 29, 2007
Gem

I don't believe listening to an audiobook is reading. However, I believe that listening to an audiobook is as valid as reading. If I belonged to a book club, I wouldn't feel any hesitation over listening to a book instead of reading it. The experience may be a little different. For instance, I dislike reading first person narrative but listening to first person is fine. I've also discovered that some genres I prefer to listen to and some I prefer to read.

Nov 29, 2007
Kurt

Is listening to a song 'singing'?

Is hearing a sermon 'preaching'?

Is looking at a watercolor 'painting'?

Is viewing a map 'traveling'?

Or are those surrogate experiences different in kind from listening to an audiobook?

Nov 30, 2007
scott wicks

Well...in human terms, reading involves use of the eyes to ingest visual content, so listening to an audio book would not be considered reading.

One could say "I processed that book" meaning she ingested the content, but that's still too general and could be construed as anything from cataloging to labeling to discharging a book.

For those who like to verberize their nouns, how about taking the noun 'content' and making it a verb? I contented that book could mean I listened to it or I read it or I ate it, but somehow I took the content and ingested it.