Friday, August 10, 2007

On "reading" audio books

On the radio the other day they were debating if listening to an audio book for book discussion group should "count" or not. Today I read an article asking the same question.

While listening to the radio I wanted to call in and say ...

"Does it matter who does the reading? Does a parent reading to a child discount the experience of reading? Does a reading buddy, spouse, teacher, or librarian reading to an individual or group not count for them as reading the book? I think not."

"I feel that "reading" an unabridged audio book counts as reading the book, just as much as if your eyes had looked at every word. Do the individuals using the services of the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) not "read" their material? It seems that the people running the program believe they do, after all they use the tag line "That All May Read . . ."

"So, in my opinion it is necessary to experience the message of an author via his/her words to qualify as "reading." This is what happens when you hear a full, complete version of a book. Taking the words of the author and melding them with your history is what makes the experience real for you. You like, or dislike, the book because of the way the message is made meaningful to you... not because of the way the message was delivered. To argue audio v. print, in my opinion is an odd a concept. Do you debate the merit of content in making the decision of paperback v. hardcover, no, you expect the same complete set of author words in each format. An audio book is just another format for delivery of the author message."

"A condensed version, movie, or abridged version of the words of the author merely convey the message of the person doing the condensation, movie, or abridgment. To this I say "it does not count" as reading. It is just sampling."

"By the way, I prefer the format of hardcover, to paperback, over audio book. My favorite experience is having a loved one read to me!"

When I read the article I knew I has to "speak up" and share my opinion on the topic.