Audio books – is it reading?

Editorial: In defense of audio books

I’ve come to the conclusion that reading books by listening to unabridged audio books has to have more applause from all of us readers. To be exact, it’s got to have fans who think it may be a pretty good replacement for the drudgery and wasted time of eye reading. Think about it. Eye reading requires a quiet spot, stopping all that you are otherwise doing, and owning a book or computer which will have print the right size to see well. These fans would see the value of ear reading or listening, similar to the phenomenon that has propelled music to the point of using an substantial amount of our daily waking attention.

Centuries ago there would not have been such a choice about stories. Stories were told and retold orally at all levels of society. Narrators or storytellers had their due, rated as highly as any other actor for their inflections, voices and humor. The change came with the printed book and the act of possession of a story. The reader now owned the story as property and could read and reread with a personal inflection, good or bad.

Today, we can return to the oral storytelling if we wish. It’s not such a bad choice. Many times the eyes do not read as well as the ears. The mind and ear partnership can provide so much more enjoyment with the voice of a gifted narrator than what the mind and eyes can do alone.

So, its not always a bad choice to go backward to a better way of storytelling.