Michaelene Malan (column mug)ENE

Are audiobooks real books?

There seems to be a misconception that books must look a certain way. As if only some genres are worth reading or there’s a right way to read a book. When I was growing up, I was all about paperback books. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized the importance of a good portable eBook and the versatility of the audiobook.

To answer the question above, yes. Audiobooks are real books. They count as reading. And the benefits of audiobooks are numerous, from improving fluency and comprehension to increasing accuracy.

Audiobooks also allow a narrator to bring the characters to life. I enjoy listening to their cadence and tone of voice, rounding out the reading experience. There’s an art to a good audiobook. In fact, each year Audio Publishers Association hosts the Audie Awards for outstanding achievement in spoken word narration. The association also points out that audiobooks are great at helping develop critical listening skills too.

Do you ever stumble upon a word you’re unsure how to pronounce? I’ve mentioned that I’m a big historical reader. I remember discovering through an audiobook that I had mispronounced a word for years. It was a mind-blown moment (emoji and all).

For those interested, it was the word “Viscount” in the British hierarchy. It’s pronounced vi-count, and the “s” is silent!

And I have to throw in here that being able to read while you’re doing something else is always great too. Have you ever tried reading a physical book while you’re doing the dishes? 0/10 would not recommend it. I’m also a multitasker, so if I can listen to a book to liven up a daily activity, it’s a win/win.

Graphic novels

Audiobooks bring me to another question I’ve gotten before. Do comics and graphic novels count as reading? The answer is also a resounding yes.

A while back, I got hooked on “Locke & Key” on Netflix. In the series, a family moves into a house where they find many magical keys. I had no idea it was based on a graphic novels series by Joe Hill. I had to read the graphic novels after that, so I requested them through InterLibrary Loan (although they are now available on the library shelves upstairs!).

In graphic novels, you’re actively following threads of text and illustrations from one pane to the next. The details are in connecting all the elements. This combination of things makes graphic novels so enjoyable for me. I felt myself slowing down so I didn’t miss any details.

And as Scholastic.com points out, graphic novels offer a bridge for reluctant readers who may find graphic novels more engaging than text-only (or text-heavy) books.

I love browsing all the options available to me. So next time you’re at the library, pick up an audiobook or a graphic novel. Visit our digital library and stream an item in your car or on the go. The options are limitless, and librarians are here to help you find your next great read (or listen).

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Malan is communications specialist at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County. Malan is communications specialist at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.

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