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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Be Joyful and Read How You Like

Shellie Zeigler
Library Consultant

There is a debate going on about how we read that seems to be a competition of sorts. You have your purists that swear by the standard paper print book. Then you have e-book readers, who swear by the convenience of having 20+ books in their hand at any time. In come audiobooks, which happen to be the fastest growing market in the publishing industry. However, that’s only for digital audio: readers love the convenience of downloading their audiobooks onto their phones and other devices. I say: isn’t there room for all of us? Aren’t we all readers?

All of us love the power of the written word. All of us would rather be reading a well-written novel than watching some bad television (Note: there is some really good television out there that I would not want to miss). Why do we have to squash fellow book lovers who prefer to read in a different format?

I personally am a reader that transcends the lines—I’ll read print, audio, or e-books…it depends on the type of book and it very much depends on my mood. I’m willing to bet there are many readers out there just like me. A good thriller on audio is a perfect pairing, but a slow burning literary novel might be best in print or e-book—for me. Reading is a very personal, solitary activity.

June is National Audiobook Month. I have noticed that some readers feel the need to make a distinction when discussing a book as to whether they read a print copy or listened to the audio version. Did your brain not receive the same information? Why is there a “lesser than” stigma attached to audio readers? I see articles online and questions posed on social media with the underlying question, does the book count if I listened to it? You comprehended the story. If your brain is processing the plot, the characters, the dilemma etc., how does an audiobook not count? Just because you processed the information with your ears and not your eyes does not mean that the book doesn’t count. It does not mean that your soul doesn’t rage just as much at the social injustice depicted in To Kill A Mockingbird as the person who read the print version. I feel that saying an audiobook “doesn’t count” is just as much a slight against the book being discussed as the person listening to the book.

So please enjoy the books that you love in any format that is most convenient for you. And let’s stop judging others for their reading choices.

Happy reading, my friends!

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