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Viccie

Are audio books the same as reading print?

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I'm not trying to be contentious here but a thread on one of my Facebook groups got me thinking. There was a discussion on how many books we'd read last year and one person claimed to have read 207, over 150 of them are audio books.

 

I don't count audio books as reading. I love them but they're different to reading print. If I'm reading print I can really only concentrate on that, though stirring risotto with one hand and holding my book with the other is quite feasible as is simple knitting and reading but listening to audio books almost always involves doing something else at the same time. Driving, food prep; light cleaning, ironing. It's not the same. Plus audio books are usually abridged too.

 

My facebook contact said rahter indignantly that of course audio was the same as reading, it's just being read to as opposed to reading. But doesn't that make them different?

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I count them as reading. I don’t listen to them as much as I did. For a couple of years I couldn’t read on the bus or train and so audiobooks filled the void. They can be listened to while doing other things, like walking or driving. But that’s about all for me as they require a certain level of concentration.

Also I wouldn’t listen to an abridged book, unless there was no other choice.

 

I haven’t tried it but with Amazon/Audible it is possible to switch between the ebook and audiobook. So that might be half-reading.

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They are recommended and possibly useful to those who are sight impaired or blind, as I understand it.  I imagine that the sight impaired would not be doing something else at the same time, so is it counted as reading then? 

 

I listened to one or two when I was having trouble sleeping, a very long time ago, but otherwise I don't.

 

I don't know if I'd count it as reading because it's technically listening but if you can't read otherwise .................

 

 

Not useful, sorry

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I count it as reading only as long as it includes the whole text of the book.

I do have a number of well loved books in an abridged format which are useful for lulling me to sleep, but they  just provide a quiet background murmur, and are not reading by any definition!

As I have mentioned on the "How to read more books" thread I find it difficult to get comfortable enough to read a "proper" book, so an audiobook, which allows me to potter about doing mindless tasks is the best way I have found to "read".

Not that I have listened to many audiobooks recently, as my CD player broke :(  and that is my preferred way of listening - all types of earphones become painful after a while (even a hat with earflaps has the same effect).

I'm not sure that consuming (hateful term) a book via my ears has less validity than doing so visually, but I do take Viccie's point regarding concentration. I really do have to make sure that the 'mindless' task remains mindless, and doesn't distract my attention from the book, but then, the presence of the now retired Mr meg in and out of the house has an even more distracting effect on reading a printed book.:mad:

 

 

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My gut reaction is that it’s not the same as reading a book, because then I’d count podcasts in my ‘reading’ but Luna’s point about sight impaired people has made me rethink my stance. 

 

I alway thought audio books were an inactive way to read as opposed to reading but really, you are using the same functions, just ears instead of eyes and not having to hold. The only difference is the voice and life you give to the book, is provided for you...so I guess then it is less active than reading...golly I am talking myself back round to my original gut reaction! 

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Rereading Viccie's OP made me think again.  I have to concentrate harder on audiobooks that physical books.  Because if something distracts me or my mind wanders, then I will have missed part of the story.  With a physical book I can look up from the page and then pick up where I left off. With an audiobook I have to rewind.  So I work hard at audiobooks.

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I would normally say I prefer reading to myself, but I was recently in hospital and listened to James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when unable to read. It was the BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime,  very sensitively read by the actor Andrew Scott. It was a revelation, and I honestly feel I had never properly understood the novel until it had been read aloud to me. Maybe Joyce's prose, poetic and lyrical, lends itself particularly well to being spoken aloud?

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23 minutes ago, brightphoebus said:

I would normally say I prefer reading to myself, but I was recently in hospital and listened to James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when unable to read. It was the BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime,  very sensitively read by the actor Andrew Scott. It was a revelation, and I honestly feel I had never properly understood the novel until it had been read aloud to me. Maybe Joyce's prose, poetic and lyrical, lends itself particularly well to being spoken aloud?

 

It may well do.  I have, in the past, read aloud to myself when trying to understand a 'difficult' sentence and it's always helped.  Never having read Joyce I can't actually say but it does make very good sense to me.

 

I hope that you are better now!

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If Audio books count as reading then surely, narrative-heavy TV and movies should too.

 

In which case, I've read thousands of books this year.

 

Good for me. 

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1 hour ago, hux said:

If Audio books count as reading then surely, narrative-heavy TV and movies should too.

 

Only if they contain the full text of the original book - which also applies to the audiobooks.

 I don't count abridged books or audiobooks as 'reading the book' more like dipping in to it.

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13 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

 

It may well do.  I have, in the past, read aloud to myself when trying to understand a 'difficult' sentence and it's always helped.  Never having read Joyce I can't actually say but it does make very good sense to me.

 

I hope that you are better now!

Thanks, second operation since last July and cross fingers it will all be in the past soon!

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Listening to an audiobook is not the same as reading it because it uses a different part of the brain - but that does not mean either approach is better or inferior. What to include on a list of read texts is a personal choice. Anyone who tells people they have read 207 books in a year is probably more deserving of pity than admiration, even if some of them have been listened to. 

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5 hours ago, MisterHobgoblin said:

Anyone who tells people they have read 207 books in a year is probably more deserving of pity than admiration, .............

 

Why?  I'm sure that they did not get too much else done and it could be said that that amount is more obsession than hobby (if true, of course) but are there not some people who could achieve this legitimately?  I heard that George W  Bush read 186 books between 2006 and 2008 while also being president, mostly biographies and history, for example

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Brightphoebus -  wishing you well.

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Individual memory ability allowing, if a person has read the physical version or the audio version they both have the same knowledge of the content of the book. So what does it matter how it is categorised? 

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I think you can say I listened to the book being read but you can't say you have read it.?

Nothing against audio books, great when your driving, but I would only listen to something I have already read.

For me its kind of cheating?

 

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29 minutes ago, Clavain said:

I think you can say I listened to the book being read but you can't say you have read it.?

Nothing against audio books, great when your driving, but I would only listen to something I have already read.

For me its kind of cheating?

 

 

I listened when I was driving.  Some were poetry and then I found that I disagreed with pronounciation and phrasing!  The great speeches were the best but like the poetry, ultimately distracting. So I went back to listening to the radio. And have never found the place/circumstances that suited listening to audio books outside the car.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Tay said:

Individual memory ability allowing, if a person has read the physical version or the audio version they both have the same knowledge of the content of the book. So what does it matter how it is categorised? 

I don't think that's quite true. When I started in advertising we were told that people generally only remember about 15% of what they hear, 40% of what they see, and 65% of what they see and hear which is why TV advertising can be so effective. Of course nowadays you'd have to work out how much you remember of what you see on screen, considerably less than 40% in my experience.

 

I think it goes back to listening being quite different to reading. I love hearing good poetry being read out loud but I never read it.  I remember listening to a book in the car on the way to England once where there was a sex scene, nothing too raunchy, the sort of thing that crops up quite often describing a certain amount of action, and it wasn't easy to listen to. Not because it was embarrassing, it just felt not quite right, too public somehow, rather like when you see a couple making out in a park who really ought to be thinking of getting a room. Reading about sex, in the privacy of your own head, is different.

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1 hour ago, Viccie said:

I love hearing good poetry being read out loud but I never read it. 

I agree.  But I've always thought of poetry as something that should be read/performed. The rhythm, cadence, metre, involved is an oral construct that I can't recreate in my head.

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I count it as reading as audiobooks were instrumental in teaching my son to read, he is severely dyslexic and learning to read at school was more than a chore and he got to the point where he refused to even pick up a book as the thought of 'fighting' with it put him off completely. So, I got him some audio books and he listened to them and thoroughly enjoyed them, so then the next step was offering a book of what he listened to and letting him follow it in the book whilst listening to the story at the same time.  From those first tentative steps of showing him books weren't scary things when he was a child he now reads well. He is a slow reader but that is to be expected and he still stumbles over unfamiliar words, but he is nearly 20 years old now and if he watches and has enjoyed a film that has been adapted from a novel he will voluntarily seek out the book to read.  He finds reading on a kindle easier than traditional books as he says the words tend to stay still on a kindle, but at the moment he is reading the mighty tome Lord of the Rings, (the book not kindle version) and for him to even attempt that - as I love that book, but found it daunting the first time I read it, I find remarkable and in my mind he wouldn't be doing that now if I hadn't originally offered him those audiobooks.

 

Another point is, I have read books which I haven't enjoyed one bit and have finished but struggled to do so and yet in the audio version I have enjoyed them immensely and prefered them in that version, as it has given me something extra which I was missing when I read it myself. Plus I find it hard to find the find the time to actually sit down and read a book much now (time restrictions and all that) yet with audiobooks, I can enjoy a good book whilst out in my car driving or doing other things. 

 

So yes in answer to the original question posed I do believe listening to audiobooks is the same as reading.

Edited by Apple

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On 3/12/2018 at 10:58, Viccie said:

 

Edited by Tay

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On 3/12/2018 at 10:58, Viccie said:

I don't think that's quite true. When I started in advertising we were told that people generally only remember about 15% of what they hear, 40% of what they see, and 65% of what they see and hear which is why TV advertising can be so effective. Of course nowadays you'd have to work out how much you remember of what you see on screen, considerably less than 40% in my experience.

 

 

But reading a book isn't about memorising everything in the book (I'm talking about fiction here). I doubt if most people with average memory can recall most of what they read. Reading novels for me is about immersing myself in the world created not about being able to sit an exam on how much I've remembered. So for me it doesn't matter if I'm reading a physical book or an audio book it is about the story and the quality of the writing not the medium with which I use to read. 

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On 4/4/2018 at 19:58, Tay said:

But reading a book isn't about memorising everything in the book (I'm talking about fiction here). I doubt if most people with average memory can recall most of what they read. Reading novels for me is about immersing myself in the world created not about being able to sit an exam on how much I've remembered. So for me it doesn't matter if I'm reading a physical book or an audio book it is about the story and the quality of the writing not the medium with which I use to read. 

I like this.  And I agree.

But... one of the genres that I particularly use audio for is travel writing.  I find that hearing the narrator works for me for these books.

Then again, I remember very little of anything.  But that's OK because I read today that people with poor memories are intelligent (I'm going to remember that).

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My husband and I are having a wee competition this year - to see who reads the most books and watches the most films. Silly I know, but after 19 years of marriage...anyway while we were discussing current numbers, I asked him if audiobooks counted as books, as I listen to the odd one when walking the dog, and he immediately said "no". I asked why and he said "they just don't count...make up a new list for them if you want, audiobooks and podcasts." It's not as if it would have been a challenge to him because he listens to audiobooks and podcasts more than me, I just thought it was really interesting that he had an immediate and definite response to them possibly being classed as books.

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Are any of us actually Audible members? I am seriously considering signing up as I am increasingly enjoying listening to books and podcasts when I walk the dog,  so interested in joining Audible. 

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