Photo taken by Kiran Weasel. DeRay Mckesson’s On The Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.

The slow pronunciation of each word rumbles through my earbuds. I am listening to DeRay Mckesson’s new book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case For Hope. His voice articulates every syllable as he describes the protests going on in Ferguson, Missouri. Each word is spoken with a carefulness as he relives the moment out loud, but I just can’t feel his emotion. His voice is too monotone and too slow for me, and I decide to read the book instead.

The debate between reading, and listening to books has become a new controversy in this day and age. Because smartphones are now accessible to so many, it has become extremely convenient to read and listen on the go. While these enhancements have changed many ideals of reading, audiobooks do not give the full experience of reading.  Books have been around for centuries, allowing people to access new information and take them on new adventures in their heads. Books foster creativity. If reading a novel, the character comes to life in one’s imagination. The voice, the gestures, the image create a character that is unique to the reader. Books also enhance relaxation. Reading forces time to be made for it. Whether you have chores or homework to do, reading will give your body time to relax and not worry about the rest of the day. Reading gives new perspectives to everyone. Mckesson’s book gives the voice of an advocate. The words written on the pages become a powerful tool to connect to the reader, to help the events stick in their mind.

Audiobooks have become the new alternative to reading, through apps like audible. Our world has grown accustomed to busy schedules and no relaxation, and there lies the benefit of the audiobook. No one has time to read a book for pleasure. The need for time becomes a higher priority than the need for reading, and audiobooks become the perfect solution. Audiobooks are an easy on the go type of deal. Find the title, download and listen, simple and easy for those who do not have the time. The only problem is that many audiobook providers make you pay, which can be a deterrent for some people. You can listen on the train, the bus, the car, really anywhere you want.

While audiobooks are a method of reading, books are undoubtedly better overall. Being able to hold a book and pick the pace of the which you read outweighs, the dry, dull way in which authors record themselves reading the book to you. Audiobooks are not a worthy alternative to reading a book. If we continue to only listen to audiobooks, people will never know the magic of reading, and eventually we will have a generation that is illiterate.

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