Ebooks and audiobooks are real books and you’re an ableist jerk

Text reads: Ebooks and audiobooks are real books and you're an ableist jerk. Background contains a person reading on an ereader with a cup of coffee and plate of chocolates and cookies.

I’m just overflowing with festive cheer, aren’t I?

Provocative title aside, something has been bugging me for a while and I decided to get it off my chest before the new year. And that something is this: the attitude among self-proclaimed avid readers that reading doesn’t count unless it’s a print book.

I know I know, not all readers. Probably not even most. But hang around certain bookish communities and you’ll start seeing posts like:

“Do you like ebooks or real books?”

Uh, bizarre question, Karenina. That’s like asking, “Do you like horses or bananas?” Ebooks are just as real as print books.

Or “I have loved books since before computers and Kindles! I much prefer actual books!”

OK, Booker. Congratulations on… being born before the proliferation of digital technologies?

Or even, “Does anyone else still read proper books? I feel like no one bothers to actually read anymore and just listen to audio in the car or something! Is it just me??”

Umm… Yeah, I just rolled my eyes so hard that they got lodged in the back of my brain and I can no longer see to read.

By all means, have your preferences. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the ridiculous superiority complex that irritates me. It’s elitist. It’s ableist.

Not everyone can read a print book. Maybe they can’t see the text, but they can if it’s enlarged to the right size on their ereader. Or maybe they still can’t read it in extra large print but they can listen and understand. Or maybe they can’t physically handle a book and turn the pages. Any of these things could happen to any one of us in the blink of an eye if it hasn’t already.

And not everyone wants to read a print book to get a good story. Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy books while you’re driving or cleaning or relaxing or doing other things. You’re not better or worse if you experience books this way. As for me, I do read print but it’s far more efficient for me to chuck my slim Kindle ereader with its protective case into my backpack than it is to lug a bulkier paperback around and worry about creasing it.

TL;DR – Read however you want, let others read however they want. Ho, ho, ho.

Anyway, in the spirit of… insulting people during the holiday season, I thought I’d end this post with my second favourite Christmas song, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues. 😉 (I posted my favourite Christmas song on this blog a couple of years ago.)

The Pogues – “Fairytale of New York”

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