Are Audiobooks a Lazy form of "Reading?"

I recently read an article in which a woman was complaining about constantly having to defend herself for listening to audiobooks. People would accuse her of being "lazy," or "cheating." Sadly, this said person had brain surgery 5 years ago that left her eye sight greatly diminished and reading had become a difficult process, and audiobooks her salvation. Where do you weigh in on this argument–just skim through the internet as those for and against audiobooks take great pride in stating their stance–and why is it even necessary to discuss one’s "reading" habits? Is this a form of prejudice? Why should individuals feel the need to defend themselves? When did the format of reading–though it has been occurring on the e-reader versus paper platform for many years–become such a volatile topic?

  • I love this topic. I love reading but my husband hates it. He got hooked on audio books a long time ago and now we can discuss so many of our same interests. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • That's interesting that people are being criticized for using audiobooks. I haven't listened to one yet, but isn't it just like having someone read to you? I can see there being tension between print and online formats but I'm curious about where audiobooks fall into the mix. – S.A. Takacs 8 years ago
  • For me and my ADD, they're more work. – Tigey 8 years ago
  • My cousin has motion sickness, so during car rides my aunt and uncle play audio books in the car since she loves to read. this way, for long car drives, she get's to experience and listen to stories with getting ill – Mela 8 years ago
  • Seems like an interesting topic, but I can't help feeling that it might be a little too subjective to arrive at any significant conclusions (or rather, in the case of conclusions like "laziness," judgment calls). It's the kind of thing that varies from person to person. For me personally, though I've never ventured a full novel in audio format, I really enjoy listening to poetry, and often read along with book in hand. There are a lot of great YouTube videos of Sir Anthony Hopkins reading poems by the likes of W.B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas, and T.S. Eliot, which can really enhance the experience when the written word is paired with his classically tempered voice and rhythm. Again, that's just my personal taste; I have no expectation for anyone to necessarily agree with it for their own personal engagements with literature. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
  • ProtoCanon, I agree. Hearing Eliot reading "The Wasteland" recalled my grandpa's accent and diction while speaking of '30's bootleggers and railroad men in Northern Minnesota. The poem is one thing, the history - not quite Greil Marcus' Weird Old America - in his voice another. – Tigey 8 years ago
  • This is an interesting topic. I personally prefer reading the old-fashioned way. I've tried audiobooks a few times, but I find my attention wanders way too easily for me to retain much. I have to be in an incredibly quiet place where I can just focus on the story without any other distractions for there to be any hope for me. I don't think the use of audiobooks necessarily means one is a lazy reader. It may just mean one prefers to (or has to, as the case may be) experience the story in an auditory way as opposed to the written way. It may even encourage people who aren't avid readers into becoming more invested in literature they might have never tried before. – aprosaicpintofpisces 8 years ago
  • As a question of lack of maturity, it could be. A person that never fully explored the experience or the importance of being self-informed rather than waiting or expecting that another will water it down or mince it into relatable morsels of ideas, perhaps. In that manner, audiobooks may be viewed as counterproductive to self-improvement. Gathering information from several paper books heightens learning activity by deepening personal understanding as well as the sheer entertainment factor of reading for pleasure. – L:Freire 6 years ago

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