By Angie Georgeff
Print is not dead, nor is it dying. A study of book reading conducted by the Pew Research Center between March 7 and April 4 of this year asked U.S. adults whether they had read a book in each of several formats during the previous 12 months.
Fourteen percent had listened to an audiobook, 28 percent had read an eBook and 65 percent had read a print book. When respondents were asked whether they had read a book in any format, 73 percent said they had.
Of course I wish that figure were higher, but I’m pleased I won’t have to give up the tactile and visual pleasure of a print book anytime soon. While I do prefer eBooks to mass-market paperbacks, I will always choose a hardcover edition over either of the other options.
An Ode to Audiobooks
I’m so much a visual learner that audiobooks seem like a separate art form to me. Reading aloud for one’s own pleasure and that of others is not, however, a new art.
Jane Austen often had her characters read aloud for the entertainment or edification of the family. A good voice and a nuanced performance could recommend a suitor to his lady in the same way her singing or playing the piano could fan his ardor.
On the other hand, in “Pride and Prejudice,” poor Mr. Collins failed to impress the Bennett sisters with his monotonous reading from Fordyce’s Sermons.
Today’s audiobooks are often “read” by an actor – or even multiple actors – who take on the various roles and change their voice to suit the character. To me it feels as I have imagined a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre would have sounded, at a time when costumes, props and scenery were minimized and imagination maximized.
Of course, during those days there would have been the danger of being distracted – or even injured – by the rowdy Elizabethan audience. Today it is the doorbell or telephone that may break our concentration.
Multitaskers find audiobooks the perfect option for enjoying book content when they have chores to do. They also can keep you company on a long commute. If you’re a fan, please let us know which titles are at the top of your wish list. We expect to be ordering audiobooks in November when our federal funds for materials are released.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped us to restock our cupboard with Crayola Washable Markers and Elmer’s Clear School Glue. Your help is very much appreciated! Now that we are approaching October and the holidays beyond, glitter and plastic spoons top Cindy’s craft supply wish list. For many kids, glitter is the icing that completes their crafting cupcake!