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Reading a book versus listening to it.

  1. profile image0
    Chasukposted 5 years ago

    I have friends who tell me that they have "read" a book, when they have actually listened to it.  This blurring of the lines bothers me; I consider reading a book and listening to it as two entirely different acts. Does this bother anyone else?

    Note: I am _not_ denigrating audiobooks. I enjoy listening to them myself.

    1. ladybug187 profile image60
      ladybug187posted 5 years agoin reply to this


      1. profile image0
        Chasukposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Whether reading off the printed page or off the screen of a Kindle, both are still reading.

        My question concerned reading versus listening. :-)


        I avoid buying physical books, although I suppose I still prefer them. I won't buy them because I prefer the convenience of ebooks.

        1. profile image0
          jomineposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I like reading books but listen while travelling. Now what I find is that I retain more of what I heard than read(may be a temporary phenomenon). I still like books in physical form(I just like the sight of books) but for a Good number of people knowing the content might be more important that the way they got it and as audio books is relatively a new phenomenon they still use the traditional 'I read it'.

          1. profile image0
            Chasukposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Maybe I'm too literal-minded. I know that I'm too pedantic. However, to me, reading and listening are two entirely different cognitive processes. I can't imagine equating them.

            Oddly, sometimes, I prefer the audiobook to the tangible book. This happens when an author tells a great story, but their artfulness in the telling is mediocre. On those occasions, the narrator provides the prosody that the author didn't.

    2. ptosis profile image71
      ptosisposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, people make fun of me when I say I read an audio book - but it's true.

      1. profile image0
        Chasukposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        In what way is it true? You really don't see the difference between reading and listening?

  2. Uninvited Writer profile image85
    Uninvited Writerposted 5 years ago

    I prefer to read myself but I have listened to audio books when travelling.

  3. rajan jolly profile image89
    rajan jollyposted 5 years ago

    Chasuk, I believe listening to a book as akin to an email while reading a book is more like writing a handwritten letter. I like the feel of a book in my hands, I can concentrate, comprehend the matter better and it gives me great satisfaction to read. I find it difficult to retain my concentration when I'm listening to a book

  4. profile image51
    mowriterposted 5 years ago

    I feel that conflict, too.  But it feels a bit pedantic to beat myself up because I'm listening to a book instead of holding a book.  At the end of the day, I have taken in the book into my mind and memory, whether the transmission was via the eyes or the ears (LOL).

    Part of me gets mad at my own pedantic-ness, too.  I took in Nietzsche, Bunyan, W.E.B. du Bois, Ayn Rand and even Anthony Robbins while commuting over the years.  Folks are busy, reading risks being a luxury of the idle.  Audio books allow busy working people to feed their mind when they might otherwise fill their mind with radio trash.

    I'm a huge advocate.

  5. mwales28 profile image60
    mwales28posted 5 years ago

    The fact that someone says they read a book when they actually listened to it doesn't bother me much.  The thing that I can't seem to do is listen to a book.  I have tried it on many occasions but I often end up asleep or too busy and not really listening.  I am an avid reader and have read countless books but I can not seem to grasp this concept.  Oh and I have to have the book in my hand, no e-readers for me.  I love my dog-eared pages, bookmarks, and libraries too much for the electronic style of reading.  I know it is convenient but apart of me doesn't want to lose everything to technology!

    1. profile image0
      Chasukposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I wasn't able to give up physical books until my nomadic lifestyle made it necessary. I'm currently living in South Korea; obtaining books in English here isn't trivial. Now that I've made the switch, I don't think I'll ever return to paper.

  6. Gypsy Willow profile image81
    Gypsy Willowposted 5 years ago

    We love audio books when traveling It makes the journey very pleasurable. Books are still my preference over a kindle but I feel guilty buying them because of the trees. E books will rule I guess.

  7. jponiato profile image79
    jponiatoposted 5 years ago

    It doesn't bother me that people report having read a book when they in fact listened to it.  I myself don't get nearly the same amount of gratification from listening to an audio book that I get when reading one, so I always wonder if those listeners might be missing something, but I can't be sure.

    As for e-readers, I used to think that I wouldn't like them as much as real books, but I've found that I get the exact same enjoyment, plus the convenience of having hundreds of books with me wherever I go (I take my cheap Android tablet with me pretty much everywhere).

  8. readytoescape profile image60
    readytoescapeposted 5 years ago

    As an Author I think there is a distinct difference between reading and listening. When you read work you have a firsthand impression of what the author is trying to convey to the reader, however the author’s weaving the magic of words may be a slightly different experience for each individual.

    When you listen to a book you are hearing someone else’s impression of the author’s work and in a stylized dramatic performance of it. More than likely by a paid “voice” that has no conception or care for the work other than the performance and that performance is gauged by two three or more people producing it. So whose work are you really listening to?

  9. tobecontinuedhere profile image62
    tobecontinuedhereposted 5 years ago

    I believe the personal preference may come from the way an individual receives information (input) and how it is (stored) within the brain for them to then access the information in the future (output).

    There are three main learning styles - Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic and each individual usually has a combination of the three; but often with one that is the dominant style for learning.

    For me, I am visually dominant for input, as well as kinesthetic (visual in the form of handwriting) with auditory output.  So for me the physical reading of the visual words takes on a much different and more comprehensive process than if I was listening to something alone.

    For those who take in information more  auditorily - they very well may store it in their mind visually; so if that is how their brain processes, I can see where someone might equate that listening to a story is the same as reading it. 

    For me, not so much.  I would lose most of what I listened to if I wasn't taking notes and/or being able to see the source that is auditory (closed captioning for one)
    Just my opinion and thoughts on the subject!

  10. Tusitala Tom profile image66
    Tusitala Tomposted 5 years ago

    Readytoescape has the right slant on things, I feel.  I've listened to audio tapes of books being read out and, frankly, have always been a little disappointed.  The voice reading never quite seems to make it.  Instead of being carried into the story one is listening to the 'way' the reader is reading.   It just doesn't evoke the images that printed text does.

    On the other hand, at primary and infants school way back when the world was a lot younger, I absolutely loved to hear a teacher read a book such as Treasure Island, or Tom Sawyer aloud to the class.  It was always regarded as a treat and something to look forward to.  But then, the teacher would stop every now and again to explain a term or describe a situation to us.  It was an educational session.  Certainly for me it worked, for I've loved both to read and write ever since.

  11. nina64 profile image82
    nina64posted 5 years ago

    Right now, I'm listening to "The Help" on audiobook. So far, the experience of listening to a book through this type of medium is quite different. As I read some of the comments posted on this forum, I get the feeling that most people still like the feel of an actual book in their hands. Of course, the invention of "The Kindle" and "The Nook" makes its more convenient to have numerous books at the touch of a button. I guess it's up to the individual as to how they choose to read their books. The "Ipad" is another vehicle in which people can read their books, magazines, novels, newspapers, etc. It makes me wonder, what will be the next invention or vehicle in which we can read our materials from?