Can I Say I Read A Book If I Listened To It?

Audio-books have become a popular part of the reading culture. We can of-course credit this to advancements in technology paired with availability of information all over the Internet.

We can borrow the demand and supply principle from economics and apply it to reading and listening to audio books.

In essence, now that we have a higher the supply of information all over the Internet, there’s basically less the demand for reading.

People are literally bombarded with information as soon as they wake up and look at their phones. This has made reading become less desirable and most people now prefer listening to audio books rather than reading.

This then brings about the question; Can I say I read a book if I listened to it?

Well, the truth is,

Reading or extracting information in any way from a book is all about comprehension. Therefore you can say you read a book if you listened to it because you’d have pretty much listened to the words just as you would read and comprehend them off the page and into your mind. Reading and listening to audio books is pretty much the same thing.

Therefore it counts as having read a book if you listened to it.

Reading Vs. Listening to an Audio-book

We all love to read, even most people that don’t read like to read. The only thing that makes it difficult for them to read is usually time.

We lead different lives as human beings and our schedules and responsibilities are all different. This makes it easier for some people to adopt audiobooks rather than reading actual books.

Audio books by their nature can allow you to do other things while you listen to them. For example, I like to hit the gym and work out while listen to an audio book.

For some, reading books is better than listening to audiobooks and that’s okay. preference comes first after all…

One question that I see alot in forums basically asks whether it’s better to read than to listen to an audio book… and the answer is quite simple…

In terms of comprehension reading and listening to audio books is basically the same, so no one method is better than the other.

However, some books are harder to read and comprehend than others…so reading carefully can be more advantageous but so can can listening to an Audiobook carefully…so it’s more of a preference and book type thing.

Is listening to an audio book cheating?

The reading culture these days has basically been split into two groups.

We have the readers on one side that believe in reading books the “normal” way and we have people that prefer to listen to audiobooks.

I don’t really have a side, I believe both reading and listening to audiobooks can be effective, but that’s surely not the case for everyone in the reading community.

So you have two sides that basically believe in their own ideals and have their own set of preferences which usually brings up the question… is listening to audio books cheating?

I believe this question comes from an honest place for most hard-core readers because let’s face it, listening is easier than reading off a page right?

But the fact is still this, listening to audiobooks is not cheating. There may be a difference in the way that information is consumed when it comes to reading and listening to audiobooks but the brain basically goes through the same process of decoding information to make sense of it..

So there’s really no cheat method here… People assume listening is easier than reading and hence it’s cheating but that’s not true…

Comprehension for the brain is the same activity whether you’re reading or listening to words.

Are Audio-books read word for word?

Audiobooks have made their fair share of impact on the world. Most successful people have even made them part of their routine…

But there’s always something that we have to consider when it comes to audiobooks..

And this is simply, the content that the narrator, narrates.

Is it the original book content?

This is usually a question that we all run into at one point or another you will or have too if you’re a reader…

With that said, are audiobooks read word for word?

There are two types of audiobooks ones that are basically read word for word and abridged version’s.

Audiobooks that are recited exactly as the authors words (original publication) without changing anything are what are called unabridged audiobooks.

On the other hand, abridged audiobooks are usually a shortened version of the full text of the original publication.  

Even though alterations are made to the original the idea is to have the themes, tones, and mood all line up with the original text. 

Abridged books can be shortened to around 35% to 75% and may contain some commentary or some sort of additions to the book material that you would otherwise not find in the original publication.

Book or E-Book?

Other than audiobooks we now live an era where electronic books or E-books for short, exist.

As we dive deeply into this topic we can now see how relevant this discussion of reading is. Culturally reading has shifted so much that when one speaks of reading, we can’t always know how exactly they’re carrying it out.

But we are guided by the assumption that information is being extracted from a book in some way.

So let’s talk E-Books.

E Books are electronic books that are basically everywhere now. They allow the reader to access a book in its digital form so they can read it using a device like a phone, ipad or laptop .

The question that I’ve seen alot of times revolves around whether physical books are better than E-books…

Well the answer to this is, Ebooks can be convinient to read when you’re away from home. The Downside is you can easily get distracted by your device’s other applications.

Therefore physical books may seem better in this sense because you can keep your concentration without worrying about for example, a clickbait YouTube pop-up flashing on your screen and enticing you to leave your E-Book and get on YouTube.

But then again, it’s all a matter of preference both E-Books and physical books do have their appeal and downsides.

Is it better to study via books or your computer? LEARN MORE HERE

Reading with an Audio-book

We’ve discussed both listening to audio books and simply reading the old school way…but now let’s get more interesting…

Most new readers or readers that are trying to become better and more frequent readers usually pose the question of whether its helpful or if its a good idea at all to read and listen to an audiobook at the same time.

It’s pretty easy to understand why somebody would think of this and why they’d pose a question like this…because let’s face it, reading is not as easy as it may seem…. Like I always say…some books are easier to read than others .

With that mind, would it be a good idea to read whilst listening to the Audiobook version of the book?

The truth is, reading and listening to an audiobook can be helpful for comprehension and concentration. Most people easily get distracted when reading. This can then have them abadon a book and not come back to it at all.

For these kinds of people or basicslly anyone that finds it hard to channel their concentration, it is a good idea to read and listen at the same time.

Reading Vs. Watching TV

Let’s get to the big question that most people ask. Reading Vs. Watching TV, which is better?

The fact is reading can be great and definitely appealing for most people that enjoy the art as well as for those always looking for new information to consume.

But it can sometimes become too much, and some people may actually prefer watching over reading.

With that in mind let’s break it down further so we get a better sense of what I’m getting at here…

You see, reading is definitely a great way to consume knowledge as compared to watching TV because reading makes the brain work harder and optimally. However, certain practical things can be learnt better by watching.

But, as far as which activity in general is better between reading and watching TV…the answer is reading.

Reading is a more productive activity than watching TV, and most people that read a lot find it hard to actually sit through a movie or TV program.

It’s always good to train your brain to read more and more stuff. Reading can improve intelligence and health which makes it a both productive and healthy activity.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, whether you’re Reading or extracting information from a book by listening to it, your brain is basically doing the same decoding.

Therefore you can say you read a book if you listened to it because you’d have pretty much listened to words just as you would read them off the page into your mind.

Reading and listening to audio books is pretty much the same thing.


Is listening to a book ‘cheating?’ – The Washington Post

Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading? – Time

Does listening to audiobooks still count as reading? – Mic

Why Listening to a Book Is Not the Same as Reading It – Psychology today

Do Audiobooks Count as Reading? (We Think So!) – Chirp Books

The Great Audiobook Debate – Barnes and Noble