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  • Writer's pictureTina Joe

Reading a book or reading online or listening to an audiobook. The debate continues

Reading a book or reading online or listening to an audiobook. The debate about what constitutes as "reading" is an interesting and evolving one, especially in today's digital age.  

I am passionate about books and reading. My home is filled with books. For me Biblichor provides a safe sanctuary. It takes me to my magical world... The emotional connection and nostalgia tied to books make them an integral part of my life. 

My fondest memories include seeing my mom read till the wee hours of the night and spending my after-school afternoons at the Secretariat Library's reading room. The fact that I could reach out and read a book in any room of my home kept me calm back then and now.  Touching a book, feeling the paper, print, and smell, can brighten a gloomy day, make me relax, or make traveling more fascinating.  

Recently, many of my reading pals switched to reading online or listening to audiobooks. I've been unable to grasp the concept of reading or listening to a book online. I don't think I ever would. Lately, I've realized the benefits of internet reading like the accessibility to a vast library of books at any time. Many of you would have strong opinions based on your preferences.   

I had a chat the other day with one of my friends, who recently switched to reading online books. It was an interesting chat. The benefits of reading online  that she was trying to sell to me were mostly lost, but I have to say that part of it stuck with me. She stated that you can easily access any book at any moment. This is true. I suffered during the lockdown. Even while I had a "To be read" pile, the number of books in the "to be read pile" was steadily dropping, and the idea that books are not deemed vital commodities during lockdown, truly troubled the reader in me. And it struck me… my dear friend had her stash at any point in time… as she was reading online…. Jealous I was but I still did not budge.  

We also talked about how convenient it is to take a tablet, Kindle, or iPad with you everywhere you go. It won't add to your luggage while you travel. I will admit that I normally pack two or three books in my hand luggage and then buy more at the airport bookstores. Yes, it does jam my suitcase, and occasionally I even stuff books into my son's hand luggage, but I still love it. I'm not complaining though, because books are just as essential to me as clothes. However, in the case of my friend, she can simply check in, locate a comfortable spot, and begin reading.  This is unquestionably advantageous for those who prefer reading online. 

As someone who loves books and reading, I wanted my son to read as much as I did. This time, God had no plans to help me. I made every effort... I was on the verge of giving up. I was genuinely shocked when he began asking me questions regarding online publications during lockdown. He refused when I suggested that he read the books I had bought for him. Reason "Books make him think of textbooks, which isn't so great". So, I obliged and purchased an online reading subscription for him. To my surprise, he started reading different genre of books page after page. And he even downloaded an application so he can listen to books and go to sleep. Even though that was difficult for me to comprehend, I am content if he "listens" or "reads." The transition of my son from no reading to reading online and listening is a testament to how different people perceive reading.  

Ultimately, the essence of reading, regardless of the format—be it physical books, e-books, or audiobooks—lies in the absorption of stories, knowledge, and imagination. Each format caters to different preferences and situations, offering diverse reading experiences to individuals. 

Based on my conversation with my friend and my son's recent interest in reading or listening to books online, I understand that the platform of reading a personal choice. But, when I envision a world where these bookworms read or listen endlessly, without boundaries, and let their imaginations run wild, I see a more positive and imaginative world.  


 On that note the read along for February is a mix of literary experiences. Join along, let us transport ourselves to different worlds and read   

On a truck alone, to McMahon, by Nabaneeta Dev Sen,


Things you can see only when you slow down, by Haemin Sunim.

Happy Musings


Photo courtesy Konika Chhabra.

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