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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Evergreen Reminder: If You Don't Count Audiobooks As Reading....You Are Wrong [period, end of discussion]

Thanks to the Book Riot "Check Your Shelf" newsletter geared toward libraries, I was alerted to this Popsugar article with the very click bait title, "Those Who Don't Count Audiobooks as Reading Can Kindly GTFO."

While the title may make you cringe a bit, the article itself is well worth your time. It also reminded me that I have been writing about this topic and defending audio books since the very first year, actually, the very first MONTH of this blog [August, 2007]

After reading the Popsugar piece,  I went through my own archives and realized that I have not ranted about this to all of you for a little over a year now. How dare I go so long without a post on this topic?!?!

Seriously though. The statement that I have made in the title of today's post-- that if you do not count audiobooks [or graphic novels for that matter] as reading, you need to know you are wrong and there is no argument, just admit you are wrong and move on-- is something I try to work into every single one of my presentations because it is still an argument many library workers need help making. 

The fact that Popsugar is posting about it, a for profit, click driven site, means it is still an argument worth repeating.

So below is my August 2019 post on the topic to enhance the Popsugar essay. My post has even more links to posts by me and others, including actual neuroscience that proves the fact that listening to audiobooks is reading.

I am not going to tell you to GTFO, but those who disagree here are flat out wrong. Please read on to open your mind and be more inclusive about what you count as "reading."



If You Don't Count Audiobooks as Reading You Are Wrong

The title of this post is something I say at every library which I present. I find a way to work this statement in no matter what. I actually include Graphic Novels in the statement too, but today is about audio books specifically because while I knew I was correct, actual SCIENCE has proved me right!

Yes I am going to gloat about this to everyone who has ever disagreed with me. And long time readers know that this is not a new issue for me [That 2016 post includes a link to a 2007 post where I took a stand on this issue].

Here is the link to a summary of the study which appears in the Journal of Neuroscience. This post includes links to further information including some upcoming brain mapping. They also talk about the findings previous to the new study and where they want to expand their research.

Also, I am linking to a summary from a popular science site instead of the direct study because, well, it is easier to understand for lay people [myself included]. But again, the link to the actual study is there too.

I am hopeful this is the beginning of the end of me having to fight people over this issue.

But, seriously for a moment, because I am not a mean person and I really want to help everyone improve their service, if you are someone struggling with the idea that audiobooks are reading, I don't just want to dismiss you. I want to educate you both from this scientific standpoint, and from a RA Service point of view. So besides looking at the proof, please also read my Call to Action where I talk about why audiobooks are reading from the reader's standpoint.

Consuming a story is consuming a story, whether we do it by reading words [or words with pictures], listening to someone read to us, or watching a movie. Our brain is doing the same work. Look at it that way, and you will be less judgmental and more willing to meet your patrons where they want to begin their leisure "reading" adventure, not just where you think the starting line has to be.

Open your ears and your mind.

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