Skip to main content

The Q: Can You "Read" an Audiobook?

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, so I thought I'd give it a go. And I fell in love with it. 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?

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.

The Q

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.

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Read my parent humor blog: The Life Of Dad
Sign up for my free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: New Podcast Episode, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our newest podcast episode, your chance to be published, and more!

David Adams Cleveland: On Truth Revealing Itself in Historical Fiction

David Adams Cleveland: On Truth Revealing Itself in Historical Fiction

Award-winning novelist David Adams Cleveland discusses the timeliness of his new novel, Gods of Deception.

Lisa Jewell | Writer's Digest Interview Quote

The WD Interview: Lisa Jewell

The New York Times-bestselling British author discusses creating thrilling plot twists and developing characters in her 19th novel, The Night She Disappeared, in this interview from the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

Author Anat Deracine found her agent at Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. Now she’s sharing what she’s learned to help other writers become authors. Here are her 5 tips for successfully pitching literary agents in person.

Tips for Reading Poetry in Front of an Audience

8 Tips for Reading Your Poetry in Front of an Audience

Poet's Market editor and published poet Robert Lee Brewer shares eight tips for reading your poetry in front of an audience.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character lose their powers.

Sharon Short | Point of View Quote 1

Managing Point of View: Mythbusting

In the first of this three-part series, novelist and WD columnist Sharon Short breaks down 7 of the most common myths about choosing which POV is right for your story.

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

As self-publishing continues to become an attractive and popular options for writers, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to have the right expectations. Here, author and entrepreneur Tom Vaughan shares how to channel your inner “authorpreneur” to help your book find its readers.

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Award-winning author, playwright, and journalist Mark Kurlansky discusses the experience of channeling Ernest Hemingway in his new memoir, The Importance of Not Being Ernest.