Readers, are books on tape cheating?

The title says it all. This board seems to be heavily populated with people that love reading. I, on the other hand loathe it. I have the attention span of a gnat so when I do read I end up reading the same page over and over becuase my mind keeps wandering. And even if I had a longer attention span, I don’t have the time. I do, however, spend alot of time in my car. I would guess between 6 and 10 hours per week, just counting trips that are longer then say 45 minutes.
I keep telling myself, I need to pick up some books on tape, but then I wonder, is it the same? Is it cheating?

I love stories and not necessarily reading. So I would say no. If it’s a good story that takes me out of reality I don’t care what medium it’s in.

EDIT: I have heard three books on tape. I listen in the car because I have a 45 minute one way commute each day.

It’s not “cheating” IMO. And I certainly recommend it on long drives. I highly doubt you’re using the same parts of your brain though.

I don’t like books on tape because they’re SO SLOW. I can read about 1000x faster than they can talk.

However, horror/suspense books are excellent on tape for the exact same reason. You can’t rush through it, to find out what happens, you have to sit there for every. single. scary. thing that happens. It’s really kind of fun…“Ten Little Indians*” is a GREAT one to listen to on tape. It’s short and fairly fast-paced.

*Sorry, I’m not going to call it by the uber-PC name…one of its central features is the disappearance of those 10 little Indian statues!

When I started school they offered a free learning styles workshop. It tested to see how you related to different types of sensory input.

It worked like this:

You had three sensory types

Then you had three types of consciousness:
Conscious (experience)
Subconscious (thought)
Unconscious (memory)

Now, each sensory type was more wired to one or the other consciousness types.

It was explained that the one that is in your unconscious, if stimulated will bring you into your unconscious. So, you might have Visual in your unconscious if you cannot read without wandering, but can listen to a book on tape. Words are both visual and auditory, as you are looking at symbols for an auditory concept.

The test was based off of the work of Dawna Markova.

Here is an online test:

See what it tells you about how you learn.

No, I wouldn’t say it’s cheating.

Personally, I prefer to read books myself. Mostly because I can read a book faster than I can listen to it (eg 9+ hours seems to be the average for the books on tape I have vs 2-3 if I read it myself) but I like it for when I want to do knitting, or am on the bus to work (I have to stand most of the time, hard to balance a book + coffee + not falling). And some books just are more interesting when heard than read (The Time Traveller’s Wife was much better listened to, and I already loved the book when I read it).

If I’m trying to discuss it with you it doesn’t matter how you read it, just that you did. :slight_smile:

I forgot to answer your question.

Absolutely not.

I’d prefer to read a book myself (like Anaamika, I go a lot faster that way). However, I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I’d like, so audiobooks help. I think they make me a better driver too, because they’re calming.

I think it’s admirable that although you don’t like to read, you’re still interested in finding out what’s between the covers of a book. :slight_smile:

Definitely not. I find that it’s an advantage to have some books read – The Iliad, The Odyssey, Gilgamesh – these were originally recitation works. Also Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, although a written work, purports to be a transcription of a taped work, so it was a hoot to listen to it on tape.

I also find that I frequently hear things or connections IO missed while reading text. This was the case with Joseph Campbell’s hero with a Thousand Faces.

I listen to books on tape when I have long drives–Since Friday I’ve listened to all of Walter Mosely’s Devil in a Blue Dress, Rex Stout’s Too Many Cooks, and all but the last 2 1/2 hours or so of Nevada Barr’s Flashback. (This is not normal for me. But I’ve done a whole lot of driving since Friday.) I may check the last one out from the library in book form to finish off–I bet I can read it faster than I can listen to it, especially with in-town driving.

All three of these are mysteries, which is unsurprising because I often pick out mysteries on tape or technically CD.

It is arguably cheating if you listen to ABRIDGED versions of books–yes, they exist to bring long(ish) books down into managable lengths (5-6 hours, usually).

I find that a book on tape, coupled with a really long drive, is a good way for me to read stuff which doesn’t grab me immediately. It can be frustrating–I keep wanting to turn back and check on events that occurred earlier in this last book, and I can’t.

I’d feel awkward saying that I read a book which I’d listened to. But if you’d like to expose yourself to the contents of some books, or the writings of some authors, which you wouldn’t sit down and read, or if you have a long drive a head of you (or a long commute), why not visit your local library and try it out.

I don’t think it’s cheating.

I don’t care for audiobooks myself; for me reading is as much about holding the book, seeing the typeface, and even smalling the paper as it is about transferring words to brain.

But that’s my personal preference. I say if you like audiobooks and spend a lot of time in the car or whatever, knock yourself out! (You probably have more pleasure “reading” time than I do. Bastards.)

Well, we’re kicking off summer reading here at the library, and books on tape count as books read. So, quite literally, it isn’t cheating.

I can’t stand them myself, but I know a lot of people love them. I’d always rather read it myself, personally, but different strokes.

I don’t think it is cheating but I think we need a new word to describe it.

“I listened to that book” isn’t quite right and “I read that book” when you actually listened to it doesn’t seem right either.


I listened to a lot of stories that way – some full-fledged novels, but mostly shorter stuff – when I was a kid. It encouraged my interest in reading and writing, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t think listening to a book on tape in the car would be as much fun as sitting down and reading with it, just because of the imagination involved, but it’s not cheating.

Oddly, this is the reason I always give for not liking movies! If I’m bored when reading I can always skim a little further ahead.


I don’t usually do it, because I like the feel of reading an actual book - but for long car trips, I get books on tape and listen to them (and I’ve occasionally found books being read over the radio on similarly long car trips).

One thing I’ve noticed, is that the same books that I’ve had trouble reading, I’ve had trouble hearing (I’m never going to get through Vanity Fair). Similarly - the same books I love to read, I like to hear. I think about them the same way - and rush back to the car/couch to pick up where I left off.

I personally have an overwhelming preference for the print medium, but whatever works for you. Far better to listen to a book on tape than not to ‘read’ it at all.

I have a button on my DVD remote that says “Fast Play 1.4x.” It makes quick works of boring movies.

So I guess it’s not cheating. That’s good. I really really really wish I could just sit down and read a book. But like I said, I’ll read three pages and not have a clue what I just read. Come to think of it, I probably could fly right though a book if I started taking my Adderal again.

You could use that on a CD player for boring books.
Actually, when I listen to James Burke on audio ( Connections, The Day the Universe Changed) it already sounds like he’s at 1.4X speed. I can’t imagine what he’d sound like if you sped him up. Probably like a chipmunk on speed.

You are all wrong. If you bother to check the manual, rules section 7.4.6(b)(iv) says that listening to books on tape is impermissable, and may subject you to a three chapter, seven paragraph penalty if observed by an official. If you get away with it without getting caught, you’re just cheating yourself.

I don’t think it’s cheating at all. Like someone upthread said, if it gets you to check out what’s between the “covers” of a book, why not?

I use them for when I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine (but not when jogging outdoors). They take me away from what I’m doing just enough, but not so much that I can’t pay attention to my balance, breathing, etc.

The only thing I find is it sometimes makes it a little harder to keep track of details, like clues, foreshadowing, etc. unless I’m really paying attention, but it really makes a tedious activity like cardio training fly by.

I’ve haven’t tried audio books in the car yet, but since I listen fairly intently to the them, I think they’d be a distraction to me there.