Are You Really Reading When You Listen to an Audiobook?

Print books versus audiobooks. Is reading with your eyes the same as reading with your ears?

When you read a book, you are essentially following printed words on a page and listening to your inner ear/voice as you imagine what you read. When you listen to an audiobook, you are essentially following spoken words someone else is reading on a page and listening to your inner ear/voice as you imagine what you hear.

Whether you read it yourself or listen to someone else read it to you, whether you agree or disagree with the format and methodology, the end result is the same: you immerse yourself in a world written by a writer for your enjoyment and edification.

James Tate Hill discusses this very issue in a recent article for Literary Hub called “Do Audio Books Count As Reading?” where he discusses his visual impairment and use of audiobooks.

Reading has traditionally been accepted as words on a page scanned by the eyes because it was the only game/technology in town, but as technologies change and lifestyles change, a new form of reading is taking its place on the game field, and its validity as a form of reading will be a subject of discourse and debate for years to come.