Although relatively new to them, I’ve quickly come to love the accessibility of audio books – that I can be walking or driving or hoovering and still be consuming books. I can drown out irritating chat on public transport and still be buried in a novel. I’ve only listened to a couple, and whilst I’m largely won over, I now realise that listening to a book is very different to reading it, and not necessarily always in a positive way.
There’s been a fair bit of chat about whether listening to a book is ‘cheating’. The simple answer to that question appears to be no – for typical adults, listening comprehension and reading comprehension is mostly the same thing, says Daniel Willingham, a Professor in Psychology.
The far more interesting question though, I think, is whether by listening to a book I’m experiencing it in the way the author intended.