Are Audiobooks cheating?

Within the last days, I listened to various audiobooks while actually having a printed copy in my hands and reading along (most of the time at least). Generally for me it’s very difficult to actually focus on an audiobook solely while doing anything else where I can’t 100% focus on what’s being told (at least in English, it may actually be different when listening to a German book). It’s okay when I’m commuting or like today while cleaning, but I often catch myself drifting off and then I wonder “Wait! What? Where did this person suddenly came from?” It’s okay when I’m at home but feel already too tired to read myself, but not too tired to listen to an audiobook and read along during that.


Now I came to think about whether audiobooks should/can be seen as cheating because you are actually not reading it yourself but have it read to you? I often listen to audiobooks 1.25x or 1.5x faster (especially since some audiobooks are really slow) so that I proceed much faster with a book than I would when reading it myself (I’m a suuuuuper slow ready). On Goodreads, I do mark the book as an audiobook, but it usually always wanders into my “read”- shelf, and it will count towards my Reading Challenge. Of course, a Reading Challenge is all just fun and a number and still:

Can audiobooks be counted as “read” when you didn’t actually read it yourself but have it read to you and you actually just sit and listen?

Personally, once in a while I really like to listen to an audiobook, but generally I prefer to read books myself. Like I mentioned before, this week I listened to 4 Audiobooks, mainly because I have been sick in bed and was just way too tired to do anything than lying around and practically not doing anything at all. And today, I listened to a large part of Evil Librarian (Michelle Knudsen) while cleaning. Surely I could have listened to music, too but I really wanted to have some books gone from my TBR-pile that probably can round the earth several times by now. So you can say that I listened to these audiobooks to complete my October TBR-pile.

Is that cheating?

I feel very mixed about that. On one hand I think audiobooks are a fabulous thing since they open up a whole new world and often they are greatly produced and give a whole different feeling than reading a book by yourself. On the other hand, it’s not like actually reading a book yourself and often one just listens to it on a quicker pace maybe because it’s just generally too slow or to proceed faster. After all, all you do is sitting there and listening not doing anything.


What are your opinions on audiobooks? Do you like them? Do you listen to them often or are you not a fan of them at all? If so, why? 

But generally I’d say that Audiobooks are great, let it alone be for blind people. They help us to relax and still be able to get some “reading” done even in busiest times and I think that an audiobook is alway a great addition for long books like A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)– Series or The Passage (Justin Cronin). The only thing I find sad is that with some books you can only find the abridged version and then half the book is missing (like with the German Version of The Passage by Justin


Author: Fhina

Ocean soul. 30 years old book lover living in Helsinki, active reader and coffee addict.

10 thoughts on “Are Audiobooks cheating?”

    1. Thank you for your reply.

      Yes, I often have the same problem, my mind wanders usually wanders off. Especially when I do other things next to it. It’s okay while things while cleaning because then I can still focus hard on listening but I prefer to read along too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I just listened to my first audiobook this past week, which then turned into three audiobooks. I don’t think it’s cheating. I can’t imagine listening at 1.25x or 1.5x like you. You must have outstanding auditory listening skills. I definitely prefer reading to listening but the audiobooks certainly made mundane house chores a lot more tolerable.


    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Like I wrote, sometimes audiobooks are just really slow that 1.25x is actually a nice pace to catch up everything, but when I do chores like cleaning I also prefer the normal, slow speed. When I read along, I have no problem putting it to 1.5x.

      I also think that audiobooks are a great thing for students who need to read books. I have a German Literature exam and certainly will listen to the audiobooks before it and read some intense summaries instead of actually reading these boring books… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s definitely not cheating. I do prefer to read rather than listen, but it’s not because I don’t enjoy audiobooks, but because I have a better visual memory, so if I read a book I remember more of it. But I do listen to some books, for example at work – when I have a mindless task to do I turn on an audiobook and my mind has something to concentrate on. Or during winter, when it’s too dark/too cold to hold a book while going between home and work audiobooks are just the thing.


  3. Nope not cheating. Working an office job where I’m pretty much left alone, I switch between music and audiobooks. It takes about as long as if you read it yourself since they say unless you’ve learned speed reading people read at the same pace they speak


    1. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      I can’t listen to music/audiobook when I work unless is something dumb like cleaning 😀 Otherwise my mind drifts off too much.
      Like I sad, sometimes I find that audiobooks are read really slow, so especially with German audiobooks, I’m actually faster reading the book than listening to the audiobook on normal speed. That’s why I often play audiobooks faster. 🙂


  4. I hope it’s not cheating, I’m planning to start using them for my 45 min (2x a day) commute! I think any exposure to a book is a positive and if reading is just absorbing and thinking about a story, listening or reading amounts to experiencing the book. Books used to be compiled from verbal storytellers anyway, I imagine! 🙂


  5. I have had this debate with myself many times, and I recently decided that they are not cheating. It seems to me that whichever way you need to get through a book should count! The way I look at it is, if someone was sitting next to me reading the book aloud, I would say it counted as reading, so why shouldn’t an audiobook?

    I did not realize that Goodreads allowed you to specify when something counted as an audiobook. Thank you for that tip!


    1. Oh, I created own list that I called audiobook and there I add all my audiobooks. And of course you can choose the edition you read/hear the book in.

      Thank you for your comment! 🙂


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