It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of audiobooks. But that wasn’t always the case. My first full-time job out of college had an hour+ long commute. It was giving me terrible anxiety, because I felt like I was wasting so much time just to get to a job I didn’t really like. I needed another solution that wasn’t listening to the same albums on repeat and being angry. So I decided to give audiobooks a shot.
Before I did, I’m ashamed to admit that I was in the “audiobooks don’t really count” camp. They’re not really reading, right? I was wrong, and I am so glad I learned why.
Here’s the thing: we all have different tastes and opinions. It’s completely okay if you don’t like listening to audiobooks. It’s totally up to you if you prefer reading paperbacks or ebooks or hardcovers with the dust jackets still on them (though I might judge you just a little for that last one). Just like you don’t have to like science fiction or romance novels or memoirs. You don’t have to listen to audiobooks, but you should appreciate the value in them.
Personally, I listen to audiobooks just as a way of reading more books (mainly while driving). But I’ve talked to people who use them as tools for rereading favorites in a different format, and others who listen to them only after having first read the book. There is no right or wrong way to listen to an audiobook. So long as, you know, you actually listen to it. How you do use audiobooks?
Regardless of how or where or why you listen to audiobooks vs. reading a physical format, I think they should count as reading. You are still ingesting a book, right? And aren’t you still using your imagination in the process? Is an ebook less of a book than a paperback? Does the format make or break a book? Personally, I don’t think so. Sure, they all provide different experiences, but that doesn’t make any one of them superior to the others.
But the thought that really made me decide that audiobooks should not be precluded from making my Goodreads Challenge – counting as “having read” – was the realization that thinking they don’t is kind of ableist. I think it’s amazing that people who have any variety of difficulties with their eyesight or coordination can still benefit from the millions of beautiful stories out there. I think it’s really important that we make books as accessible as possible, and audiobooks are a great way to do that.
What’s your take on audiobooks? Do you listen to them as a way of fitting more books into your busy life? Do you only use them for rereading or in conjunction with another format?