Thursday, May 26, 2005

Check out this article in The New York Times about audio books versus traditional reading. Requires registration, but it's free.


1) I will admit that it is better that people are listening to books, and digesting them in some form rather than not at all. But that is like saying "Oh well he's just raping long as it isn't murder it's ok." I think that it's an unfair justification for a problem that shouldn't be there anyway.

2)"...and the market for children's audio books is booming." This is the scariest part of the entire article. It's depressing that there is a generation of children growing up with audio books rather than traditional, brain-stimulating, reading. It is kind of worrisome. It's just one more piece in a much bigger pie that proves two things: 1) People are getting lazier, and 2) No one knows how to relax anymore.

3) I'm not a total snob. I'm glad that people are exposing themselves to books that they might not have read otherwise. But I do not think that it's ok to say that you've "read" a book after you've actually listened to it. Those are not the same thing. There is something about reading that is much more than simply ingesting words, and putting them together to form a story. Reading a book is just much, much more than that.

4) I do think that audio books have a place in our lives. My grandmother is in her 80s, and has loved to read since she was young. Over time her eyesight has gotten poor, leaving her unable to read. Audiobooks are a lifesaver in this instance.

5) I have listened to one audiobook. Which one it was is unimportant, but it was enjoyable. I would not trade reading for it altogether, though.

So to summarize, I think audiobooks in and of themselves are not a terrible thing, and not a threat to humanity. But I do think that everyone should be encouraged to read the traditional way in addition to listening.

Anyway, what do you guys think?