Audiobooks: Reading or Listening?

Audiobooks: Reading or Listening?

Do audiobooks count as reading? I may be a bit of a book purist; I'm not a fan of ebooks, because they lack the tactile fun of a paper book and can't be shared. But I do love podcasts, and have been known to dive into audiobooks on long drives. But can audiobooks be considered "reading"? I'm genuinely not sure!

These days I've been working away at loading books onto the website during lockdown, and since I can't spend my time reading a physical book, I have been absolutely crushing audiobooks. I have one big stipulation for my audiobooks, though - non-fiction only (I have learned that for me, good fictional prose must enter my brain through my eyeballs to be properly enjoyed).

But, I have to admit that since I am usually listening to a book while doing another task, my retention levels are... not ideal. I retain some things for sure, but it's far from the immersive understanding I get from reading a physical book.

Because of that, I have started to wonder if listening to audiobooks really counts as "reading"? In making a reading goal for the new year ahead, I personally wouldn't count audiobooks in that goal. If they do count, I think I should have made my 2021 reading goal 100 books rather than 50!

Thankfully, this is not a matter of great importance. Whether you like audiobooks or not, and count them as "read" or "listened to" is a matter of personal preference. I'm happy to enjoy audiobooks when I'm too preoccupied to read, but at the end of the day, my allegiance is to the paper books that can be enjoyed, shared, and recycled through a used bookstore like mine. Happy listening, book lovers!