A few months ago, my wife picked up an audiobook from the library (it was Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends, in case you were wondering). I had never listened to an audiobook before, but I’ve always believed that the more you read good writing the better you will become at writing nonfiction and writing fiction. So if I could squeeze more reading in, great. And, it turns out, I love reading audiobooks. It’s the perfect way to spend my solo time in the car, beating the other well-known car pastime of complaining about traffic. So now I read in the car.
Or do I?
I told a friend that I was reading Rob Lowe’s memoir and he asked me what page I was on. “I have no idea,” I said. “I’m reading the audiobook.”
“Read an audiobook?” he said. “Brian, you don’t read audiobooks. You listen to them. That’s like saying I read the latest Radiohead CD or I read Jurassic Park when you only watched the movie.” Though I argue that neither of those are comparable and that audiobooks are typically word-for-word versions of a printed book.
But this brought up an interesting point. If you listen to an audiobook, can you say, I read XYZ book? Or is it wrong to say “read” when your eyeballs didn’t digest a single word? I’m on the fence and want your opinion.
So THE Q is:
After listening to an audiobook, is it fair to tell others that you have read the book? Why or why not? (Note: If you say no, then what do you tell others?)
Leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’m hoping to be swayed one way or the other.