Reading Vs. Listening to Books

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Ever tried audiobooks? Many of us have, and we can all attest to the fact that they offer an amazing way to hear an author’s written word. In addition, one can listen to a book while doing anything—sort of being a multi-tasking reader!

Audiobooks are so versatile—one can listen to a book while driving, exercising, doing chores around the house, or just relaxing at home. For those individuals with failing eyesight, audiobooks open the world back up for people to hear their favorite authors’ literary works.

Audio books offer a feeling of exhilaration, for they add realism to a book’s context; they encompass voices, often with dialects, and they bring an element of excitement, especially if the narrator of the book is the author of the book.

Perhaps many people will think that listening to audio books is cheating or taking shortcuts. Not so, writes Cody Kommers in the December 2018, edition of Psychology Today. Kommers writes that he has been listening to audiobooks for years. He points out that the biggest difference between reading and listening to audio books is engagement, as reading is something you do, while listening is something that happens to you. Reading is being engaged in the context of a book.

However, he does not agree with the theory that difficult material is better suited to reading. Indeed, sometimes harder material is better listened to, rather than read. Conversely, he believes that technical material, such as math, is better suited to reading.

Kommers ends his article by writing, “So, no, listening to a book isn’t cheating. Depending on the performance of the text, it might even be the better option. And you shouldn’t just limit yourself to ‘easy’ works like popular memoirs or novels if your interests range beyond them. At the end of the day, time spent contemplating new ideas and experiencing new worlds is what matters. And if audiobooks open new ideas and worlds for you, then that’s all that counts.”

So, does the idea of listening to an audiobook sound interesting to you? If so, you are in luck! The SaddleBrooke Community Libraries recently consolidated its collection of audiobooks, moving the collection from the SaddleBrooke One Library and combining that with the collection at the DesertView Library. Special thanks go out to our library volunteers, who moved a lot of audiobooks to make space, and Steve Scanlan in particular, who recently spent 10 days re-cataloging all of the SaddleBrooke Library audiobooks to the DesertView collection. You can now view the entire collection of more than 1,200 audiobooks in one place.

According to Janet Fabio, director of SaddleBrooke Community Libraries, to browse this extended collection, simply go to the SaddleBrooke Libraries website at

On the homepage you will see a Sign Up button. Click on it and you will be directed to a page where you can make an appointment to use the DesertView Library.

Note: New books, audiobooks and DVDs at the SaddleBrooke Community Libraries are purchased with funds provided by Friends of the SaddleBrooke Libraries. Are you a member? If not, please join! Your membership is tax-deductible! For more information visit their website at