This is a perennial source of angst in the audiobook community.
Here I work for an audiobook company, and still, I flinch a bit when I tell someone at a cocktail party that I just read ‘Seven Habits’.
I worry that because they know my background, they’ll respond with, “Did you actually READ it? Or listen to it?” I should be more worried that they ask, “Then why are you such an inefficient schmuck?”
I honestly believe that the manner in which one consumes a book is irrelevant. One of my first audiobooks, “First Among Equals” by Geoffrey Archer, I read while driving around New England with my wife. We later divorced, but I’m almost certain it had nothing to do with my listening to the book instead of reading it.
Anyway, several years later, I couldn’t immediately remember if I’d read the paperback or listened to the audiobook.
That, I think, is the real test. As long as you remember the content, then it doesn’t make any difference. So to all you out there that believe you can only use the verb “read” to mean holding an actual tome in one’s lap, hands, or clenched trembling fingers… try to defend yourself without using the word ‘purity’.
By the way, if you still flinch at cocktail parties, you might want to take a look at the Chautauqua series of famous lecturers. They’re lectures, so it’s only natural to say you listened to them. Then all you have to worry about is people asking if you actually went to Chautauqua. If you can’t remember if you went to Chautauqua – well, read this book.