Friday, January 8, 2010

Is an audio book “reading”?

Headphone MonkeyQuestion raised by a professional contact who is trying to do nothing (except XBOX 360) that requires physical media. So no buying music CDs, no buying movie DVDs, no buying printed books.

Now, no comment from me on his quest. More power to him. But ... is it reading if you listen?

Hey - as long as you get the content and can discuss it afterward, it counts as reading to me. (Seriously, there are more important things to argue and get pedantic about. Like comma placement.) And why I like using audio books on long car trips, they'll never replace a physical book for me.

Listening is a background activity for me. So "reading" an audio book or something where I have to concentrate doesn’t always work for me. At least not when I really need the info. On the other hand, I can get so absorbed in a physical book that I won’t notice anything else going on.

Audio also has limited skimability. You can't jump around as you like, you can't skip easily to the sections that are most relevant to you, you can't move back to double-check that what you just read actually jives with what you read earlier.

Let's face it, it really comes down to the fact that I just don’t get as much pleasure out of eight hours of audio as I do out of eight hours of traditional reading. So good luck to my friend as he changes how he reads. I'll be kicking it old-school forever on this one. How about you?

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