on reading: books v audio books

I count audio books on my reading list, same as all other books, as long as they’re unabridged. Two links about audiobooks, the New York Times writes in defense of audiobooks in Loud, Proud, Unabridged: It Is Too Reading! while audible.com has been strutting around with this “edgy” ad campaign at dontread.org, while I applaud their chutzpah (and their printable DON’T READ posters) I’m always a little squicked out when a for-profit entity sells me stuff through a .org domain.

Speaking of audiocontent, take a listen to this recording of Ranganathan talking about Dewey from a 1964 recording (it’s noisy at the beginning, stick with it)

8 thoughts on “on reading: books v audio books

  1. I agree that listening to unabridged audio books counts as reading.

    My only complaint is that I like to re-read, but with essay books like Sarah Vowell’s Partly Cloudy Patriot, finding quotations or re-hearing only the essay you want to re-hear is almost impossible. Written tables of content or indices would make a big difference.

  2. I enjoy audiobooks also, and can get lots of reading in while gardening, doing other chores, and driving. I will occasionally count an abridged version when it is substantial, say six discs or more. I never even realized a couple of audiobooks were abridged until after I had finished and was citing them in my reading log. They are not always prominently marked as abridged.

  3. Oh, come on. Don’t be a snob! Abridged audio is just fine too – as a librarian, I’m glad people are “reading” anything, unabridged or not. Personally, I can’t do audiobooks, it makes my brain hurt to multitask like that. Also cannot pat head and rub stomach. But I would like to see better packaging (so you know right away if it’s abridged or not), as many parents use the unabridged versions to help children who have trouble reading – they like to have them read along with the tape.

  4. Jess, I get a 404 on the Ranganathan link. I’d love to hear it…will check back.


  5. hi jessamyn, so ah, just thought I’d use this new comment feature to plug my personal favourite audiobook project: LibriVox LibriVox LibriVox


  6. I love abridged books, I just have a hard time thinking that reading them is the same as reading the full original. Maybe I need a special category for abridged audiobooks, I’ve read one or two. Fixed the MP3 link, check it out.

  7. To each their own; I can’t abide audiobooks, because they are so ploddingly slow compared to reading.

    Indeed, I somewhat resent the term. They are recordings, not books. I guess I’m a print bigot.

  8. I work in a library where audio books are the norm, and print books an oddity.

    For who think that audio doesn’t count as reading, I would invite them to make this statement to a blind or dyslexic person and see what the reaction is. (My advice is to stand back a bit and watch the fireworks.)

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