Readers are a very particular group of people. Ask a reader how her books are organized, she has a system all her own. One thing that readers are very black or white about is whether listening to an audiobook counts as reading. This is an argument I’ve had several times with various readers, and I strongly believe audiobooks count as reading.
Scientifically, retention and comprehension are not as strong when solely listening to an audiobook. However, listening to an audiobook while reading the physical book or following reading the physical book can actually improve retention. One of the reasons I hate when people bash audiobooks is because as a special education English teacher, my students struggle to read texts. Listening to an audiobook and following along with the physical book in hand is one of the only ways they can enjoy a book. When readers say things like, “audiobooks don’t count as reading” it discounts all the work my students do.
Audiobooks are also great because they allow readers to read in situations they normally wouldn’t have. A lot of books exist. A lot. I get anxious thinking about all the books I won’t have time to read before I die. Reading audiobooks is a fantastic alternative to tedious car rides, and it gives readers a chance to read books they otherwise might not have had time for.
Another argument I’ve heard is that if you’re not physically doing the reading, it doesn’t count. In an age where reading is competitive, the numbers matter quite a lot to people, maybe more than the story. Often I surpass my Goodreads annual goal because I listen to audiobooks and read graphic novels. My sister always makes a huge argument about how my numbers are super high because of those two factors, and they shouldn’t count. I disagree. A story is a story, and if I invested myself in a story, I have the right to say I read it.
I don’t think audiobooks should be anyone’s main source of literature, but they’re fun, and for those who have difficulty reading, they are a great alternative to not getting the stories at all. Stop judging on HOW people read, and just enjoy that people ARE reading.
I’m curious to know whether people agree with me or not, and why. Let me know in the comments!