Reading for pleasure can be one of the most relaxing activities. Whether on the subway, on a plane, in the park, or at home—where you read does not matter.
Unfortunately, a discourse has sprung up arguing that how and what you read does matter. Literary purists believe that unless you’re reading a paperback book, you’re not reading.
So, let’s explore why these rules don’t really matter.
Is Listening to Audiobooks Reading? Yes
Let’s pull out the big guns right off the bat: physical copies, digital books, and audiobooks are all books. It’s a bit unbelievable that it’s a point that needs to get made, but it seems it does.
There is no wrong and right type of book. For example, if you enjoy participating in book challenges, each one you go through adds to your read pages or finished book tally. If you’re interested, both StoryGraph and Goodreads are excellent platforms that set good end-of-year challenges for readers.
What matters is that you consumed a book from cover to cover. Once you do, you can safely say that you’ve read that book. Even if you use Audible to listen to a book, had someone else read it to you, decided to buy a Kindle to read it digitally, or however else you finished it. The medium in which you read through it does not matter.
To stress again, using audiobooks, e-readers, or physical copies do not matter. Why? Because it’s all the same—you’re reading and consuming content someone intended for you to consume. How and what you’re reading is irrelevant.
Who Defines What Reading Is?
You do. You’re responsible for deciding what you consider reading. The issue arises when people attempt to enforce their personal definitions onto others.
With the rise of social media and many established and newcomer sites introducing social aspects, it’s more common for people to share their opinions. That by itself is not bad. However, it does become bad when some decide theirs is the only correct opinion. And choose to dedicate their free time, forcing it on everyone.
Ultimately, other people’s opinions on reading shouldn’t matter to you. So ignore those who try to scream into the void that how and what you’re reading is wrong. You’re reading, and that’s what counts.
The Issue With Defining What Counts as Reading
Trying to force others into sharing your opinion is a losing battle. More often than not, you’re wasting everyone’s time, especially when it comes to reading. People will continue to read what they like and won’t stop enjoying their preferences.
Gatekeeping reading is pointless. But, worse yet, it can be harmful. Think about the stringent definitions of reading some attempt to enforce. To fit their strict definition, you must read a physical copy of a book, holding it in your hands and going over it with your eyes. But what if you have a disability?
Many disabilities can affect your reading. Some have to do with eyesight, others with your physical ability to hold a book. And, if you’re trying to police what’s the correct type of reading, some readers get bumped into the category of wrong, despite them reading the only way they can.
The Hows and Whats Don’t Matter—You’re Reading
Why are there so many requirements to fill and hurdles to jump over to be considered reading? Some readers shout from the rooftops that certain genres don’t even count as reading. They look down on stories that focus on romance, bodice rippers, or certain types of adult fantasy, to name a few.
But the truth is, books are books, and reading should always be encouraged. Even if you don’t enjoy a particular genre, that doesn’t make it any less of an enjoyable read for others. On that matter, fan fiction can count as reading, too.
Places like Wattpad are brimming with stories waiting to become books and ones that certainly have the word count as many published works (or longer). And there are also many free ebooks you can find on Wattpad, and enjoying those doesn’t diminish your reading in any way. If you’re looking for more examples, there are plenty of eBook download sites you can use to read for free.
If You Start and Finish a Book, You’re a Reader
To reiterate the point made throughout, you’re reading, and that matters above all else. Going from the first to the last page of a story makes you a reader. Of course, you may have preferences regarding how and what you read.
Some readers enjoy hopping between listening to an audiobook while reading the book’s physical or digital copy. Others choose to stick to one medium in particular. Neither is right nor wrong; it’s a matter of preference.
You can read with the help of services like Audible, Kindle, bookshops, and more. It truly makes no difference in your process of undertaking the journey set out at the beginning of a book and then finding its end.
If you’re a book lover, how you’re enjoying your book should be the last thing on your mind—it’s the story you’re following that counts.
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