Audiobooks are Silly

That’s right. I’m saying it right now: Audiobooks are silly things for people to get attached to or even engage in.

Before you go losing your cool and calling me some sort of ‘traditionalist’ or hater of the spoken word, take a breath. Sit back and READ on.

There’s been a huge movement and rise in audiobook sales. In today’s fast paced cutthroat world, we don’t have time to read. So, we spend our workouts, our nights, our work day, our commute, and probably at our dinner table listening to audiobooks. Or at least that’s the argument. But there are 2 problems here: books were written to be read and this leads to a very disturbing trend away from reading at all.

First, books are written to be read. Seems logical, right? Then why do so many decide, “Ah what the hell. I don’t care. Let’s just have someone read it to me for me?” For those who say time is the issue: if you don’t have time to read the book, then that’s that. But for everyone else who are just being lazy, take note: most good books are written to be read by the human eye. There’s subtle plays on words, on grammar, on dialog. All of these cannot be truly understood by listening to someone else tell the story.

Following this same line of thinking, if you want to LISTEN to a story, find a storyteller and listen to their stories. Storytellers are different from writers. They tell their stories in spoken word, meant to be spoken and LISTENED to. Their play on things are more in tuned with timing, tone, phrasing pleasant to the ear. Podcasts are growing in popularity because they do what audiobooks of written novels can’t do, they tell a story the way the storyteller would tell you, because they’re written as spoken word stories!

Second, audiobooks are creating laziness. With new and cheaper technologies, we can listen to text or even have things translated in real time by audio. Take a look at the data. Many people born blind are no longer taught braille. Instead people just pop headphones on them. Problem solved. But what sort of life would you think you’d lead if you couldn’t read?

Now, for those who just like audiobooks. You. Are. Lazy. Sure, Pride and Prejudice is a tough read. So is Lolita. But there’s something very satisfying and enriching and brain expanding by actually physically reading the text.

I’m not one of those technology is making the sky fall type people. Hell, Socrates (or Aristotle, I can’t remember who) thought written text was going to ruin the mind because you no longer have to remember things. Well, now books are considered the WAY we mark someone as intelligent. I listen to lectures and science and social podcasts daily. I’m still enriching my mind when I can’t read. But when I listen to things, I’m listening to things written to be listened to. There’s a different skill, a different equation that goes into building these things.


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