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“No, you!” – Why Audiobook Listeners aren’t lazy.

You might have read my blog post about audiobooks and ableism. When someone calls listening to audiobooks lazy or cheating it directly hurts readers who have to rely on audiobooks.

But I also have a few things to say in defense of all the many audiobook listeners who aren’t disabled and who are regularly confronted with how their favorite form of enjoying books is “less than”.

So, let’s talk about the so-called “lazy people” who don’t read “real books”. (Yeah, sorry, I’m literally air-quoting while writing this, taking my fingers off the keyboard to make super angry air quotes).

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Image of Batman slapping Robin. Robin asks: Isn't listening to audiobooks lazy? Batman answers: I'm cleaning!

#1 Listening to Audiobooks while doing Chores

Everybody will tell you how great audiobooks are while doing chores. And yet… audiobooks have this reputation of being a lazy thing. You know what cleaning your house and doing mountains of laundry is NOT? Lazy. It’s actually the exact opposite of lazy. It’s people working hard without being paid for it. And the least you can grant them is a bit of entertainment and a chance to enjoy literature despite… you know… working all friggin day!

Smiling cartoon figure with headphones typing on a computer, with text: Teehee, this audiobook is not suitable for work... or is it?

#2 Work and Audiobooks

I know a lot of audiobook fans who listen during their work. Depending on what your job is, that can really save you from going out of your mind with boredom. You know what having a job isn’t? Lazy.

But I’m repeating myself. So let’s talk about health again. But this time about the smaller things that don’t tend to register as that much of a health issue…

Squidward with red eyes: I am not tired

#3 Resting Tired Eyes

After working at a computer all day, many people have tired eyes. When they want to enjoy a book in the evening (or not bother their eyes more by watching TV), an audiobook means they can rest their eyes and still get entertainment and relaxation.

Picture of Archer: Do you want motion sickness? Because that's how you get motion sickness.

#4 Motion Sickness

You might look at that person with headphones on public transportation and think: “They could have gone for a ‘real’ book, what’s their excuse?!” But many people suffer from motion sickness and the only way for them to read while being in a moving vehicle is an audiobook.

Person: You seriously read that entire book in a day? Me: What, like, it's hard?

#5 Getting More Reading Time

Many people, especially parents of younger children, don’t find much time in their day to sit down and read a book. Audiobooks help them enjoy books on a regular basis and listen to one or more books in a week, instead of finishing maybe 1 print book in a month.

And you know what multi-tasking to increase your reading time is not? You guessed it: lazy!

Now, of course, I know that this isn’t exactly what people have in mind when asking if listening to audiobooks is lazy. But that’s the thing, in reality, most audiobook fans multi-task and enjoy their books super efficiently.

It’s easy to judge people based on our impression of them and most of us (me, for sure) are prone to do it. It takes a conscious effort to take a step back and remind ourselves that people might have very good reasons for the choices they are making. That they aren’t taking the easy way out or being lazy, but actually making the smartest choice for themselves.

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18 thoughts on ““No, you!” – Why Audiobook Listeners aren’t lazy.”

  1. Yes! And what about when we were reading books to our kids, does that mean they did not read it?🤔 Oh and one more question….hope you dont mind…but I nwver know if I should say I read an audio book or listened to one, when I do my book reviews….do you think it matters which way? Thanks!

    1. That’s a good question! So… I would say I’m listening to an audiobook. Because it’s simply the correct verb to describe what I’m doing. I’d say: “I’m currently listening to XYZ” and not “I’m reading XYZ”. However, if someone asks: “Have you read book XYZ?” I’d just say yes (unless I can’t shut up about it and continue on about the fantastic narrator, haha). So, I’ve read the book, but I’m listening to an audiobook. That’s just how I do it…

  2. Listening to audiobooks can be more difficult to me than physical books to be honest. I need to be in right head space for it because I get distracted or bored easily. It’s also difficult because narrators affect your reading experience. I do enjoy listening them while cooking but I like taking notes as I read so once again i’m making everything hard for myself

    1. It’s the opposite for me now, haha. I’ve gotten so used to multi-tasking while enjoying my books, that I get a bit antsy when I sit down to read an ebook.

  3. Im a fast reader. If I listen rather than read, I actually ‘get’ more of the book than if I read… I just listened to the Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb which I had read a couple of times and I got heaps more out of it. I love audio books.

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