I had previously written them off as “cheating”, telling myself that I ought to be able to read the printed version, if only I was more disciplined. Now audiobooks are the only option for me, and I love them. I play them at 1.5x speed, and I have “read” more books in the last year than I have in total since primary school. Information used to be imprisoned, but now I can access it easily. It used to be frustrating thinking about how much knowledge was being held hostage inside the books I’d never be able to get through, but now I can “read” that information anywhere.

I took me a while to “get into” audiobooks. I always put off trying them because I thought they wouldn’t be as nice a reading experience as reading a book (whether physical or digital) but I was definitely wrong. I have a bit of a commute to work by car, and I used to listen almost exclusively to music. But sometimes listening to music in the car isn’t a great experience either with all the exterior noise, so I gave them a try and realized how great they can be. Not every book really works as an audiobook though. I really enjoy listening to fiction with audiobooks, but non-fiction is a bit of a frustrating experience, especially if there are lots of tables and figures referenced. Also being able to use my commute time to “read” and adjust the speed means I can get through a ton of books I wouldn’t be able to get through if I were only reading regular books.

Umberto Eco was right when he said, “The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved.” When exactly the modern book was invented is a matter of debate. Was it by Gutenberg? No. He mechanized the manuscript. Was it half a century later, at the end of books’ incunabular phase, with the addition of the title page, page numbers, paragraph indentations, and other characteristics of the book as we know it? I think not. That describes the form of the modern book, not its soul.