a kindle ereader

The debate has been going on since the beginning of the modern age. (Exaggeration–yes, I know, but it feels like truth.)

  • Are ebooks real books?
  • Are audiobooks real books?
  • Can you say you’ve read a book if you’ve listened to it?

What are Real Books?

Some say a book isn’t a real book unless it’s printed and bound and sold in a bookstore.
I say–are the words the same? Are they in the same order? Is the author’s text and message there? Then yes–the ebook or the audiobook is a real book.
It’s just in a different format. Like hardcover and paperback. One volume or two volumes. First printing or fourth printing.
It’s all the same book in a variety of formats. It’s still a real book. It’s just electronic.
The page numbers in the ebook might be different (or changeable based on your decision to enlarge the text size for easier reading), but the same words are all there in the same order.

Can You Read an Audiobook?

Again–same words, same order, different format. I know, I’m probably sounding a little bit snarky. But I keep hearing and reading about this debate and can’t help but think that it’s not a debate.
Would you not agree that you read The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe when your fourth grade teacher read it out loud to the class every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 2:30pm?
Of course you read it. Just with your ears instead of with your eyes.
I repeat, for the fourth time, it was the same words in the same order.
Books can be ingested in a huge number of ways–print, digital, audio, braille, alone, with others, quickly, over long periods of time, in quiet places, in loud places, on lunch breaks, on vacation, before bed, over breakfast.
To me, it’s all the same. It’s all reading.
So, please world, can we move on from this so-called debate and focus on more important things? Thanks.