Audiobooks Are Not Cheating


  1. Paul H says:

    Your rant on audio books did not fall on deaf ears. So when can I expect your blog to come out on audio? ;-)

  2. KJToo says:

    My wife and I listened to all seven Harry Potter novels on CD. I’ve listened to dozens of unabridged novels on CD; everything from Orwell’s 1984 to Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings trilogy to William Gibson’s Virtual Light, Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and Carl Hiaasen’s Nature Girl. I’m currently listening to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (26 discs!).

    To me, audiobooks aren’t cheating. In fact, I find the “painting by numbers” analogy is ridiculous. If anything, a good narrator allows me to get more out of the book than I would have by reading the ink and paper version. The words are all there and they’re all making it to my brain; why should it make a difference whether I’m listening to them or reading them on the page?

    Actually, there is a difference: I frequently remember more detail from audiobooks than I do from similar print novels. Go figure.

    Finally, I’m sure authors like J.C. Hutchins and Scott Sigler are delighted to know that the thousands of fans who listened to novels like 7th Son and Infection (neither of which is currently available in print form) were “cheating”.

  3. Scott Sigler says:

    This is like so many other knocks on podcasting, audiobooks, etc. The literati wants to preserve the status quo. They fear any change that threatens their position as taste-makers. I love how they had to get a “ognitive neuroscientist” to validate the fact that it’s okay to listen to books. Amazing.

    We will sweep away the non-believers in a wave of mass enjoyment. Power to the customer to choose what they want, regardless of format and schedule.


  4. Jay says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Paul: You know, I swear there used to be a service that would run your blog through text-to-speech conversion for just that purpose, but I can’t find it now.

    KJToo: Nice to hear other families are enjoying HP the same way. I think it’s great. I actually think LotR works better in audio. To me it reads like it was meant to be read aloud. Sounds like we’re pretty similar in our take on audiobooks.

    Scott: There definitely is a sense of “how dare you” about people enjoying the same thing in different ways. The thing that bothered me most was that folk listening to audiobooks felt embarrassed by it. Reading isn’t meant to be a workout for the eyes! Keep up the good work.

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  7. Marianna O'Connor says:

    So glad to hear that someone else loves audio books too…
    I worked for Recorded Books for quite awhile and over the years have built up quite a collection. I always buy the Library Unabridged Editions which cost around $100.00 each. Recorded Books is the leader in the industry, and their products are top of the line.

    I have collected so many I have started selling them in my store at

    For anyone who is interested, please look at my booth: