Wednesday, May 25, 2005

No, no, actually it's not reading

The NYT has a story about the increasing trend towards audiobooks, and the question of whether that can be considered "reading" a book. I have nothing against audiobooks -- they make perfect sense in some situations [eg on the bus, on car trips], whereas in other situations, they don't [for example, when the subject is somewhat technical -- having to rewind because I didn't quite understand something would drive me insane]. But I do take issue with the claim that "it is too reading" because

a
) reading involves taking in written or printed characters, per dictionary.com:
  1. To examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed characters, words, or sentences).
  2. To utter or render aloud (written or printed material): read poems to the students.
  3. To have the ability to examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed material in a given language or notation)
  4. ... etc ...
b) you don't actually have to know how to read to take in an audiobook

So, no, sorry, you're not reading the book, any more I would say that I was "listening" to a song if I wrote down its lyrics and then read them. That's not a judgement about listening somehow being "inferior", it's just inherent in the definition of the verb "to read".

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