No, Listening to the “Harry Potter” Audiobooks Isn’t “Cheating”
I consider myself an audiobook connoisseur – I truly believe that a well-narrated audiobook can be just as important a work of art as a well-written book is itself. I agree that there is nothing quite like the smell of a book, the feel of turning pages, or the experience of trying to find a comfortable reading position without having to move your body after each page, but as time progresses and technology advances, eBooks and audiobooks are becoming more common. Here’s why that’s not a bad thing:
Their convenience and accessibility are honestly unparalleled – visually impaired individuals can listen to audiobooks. Individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia can ofttimes better enjoy hearing the narrated stories rather than reading the written word themselves. Those who struggle with literacy may also benefit. When it comes to inclusivity, I think that audiobooks are really quite important to the Harry Potter fandom.
Accessibility aside, however, I don’t think we should be discouraging anyone from enjoying the Harry Potter books just because they are doing so through the spoken word. I am happy to welcome any fans of Harry Potter with open arms, even if they haven’t read or listened to the books at all! You don’t have to prove to anyone that you are a Potterhead. If I’ve learned anything during my time writing for MuggleNet, it’s that everyone has such different perspectives to bring to the table as far as J.K. Rowling’s stories go.
This isn’t a test.
I have read physical copies of the Harry Potter books. I have borrowed the eBooks from my local library. I own all of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and through them, I am able to “reread” J.K. Rowling’s stories more often than I would be able to otherwise. As someone who works full-time and goes to school – with a plethora of side hustles – my morning commute with Jim Dale’s narration of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is unmatched. Driving to work is some of the only free time I get each day, and I find listening to J.K. Rowling’s stories during that time is a valuable use of my time.
Listening to audiobooks of any kind is not cheating, because this is not a test. Listening to an audiobook doesn’t make you get anything less out of the story. Plus, how else would we know that Voldemort is actually supposed to be pronounced “Vol-de-mor”?
Literature is literature.
I can definitely tell you that if I didn’t listen to audiobooks, I would consume far less literature than I do. I happen to think that listening to my audiobooks on Audible during my work commute is a great way to spend that time accomplishing something that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Many books are meant to be read aloud, and some of my earliest Potter experiences were bedtime stories with my father and sister. I’m just continuing that tradition in a different way. Let’s be honest: I’ll consume stories from the wizarding world in any way I can get them.
Audiobooks may not be for everyone, but anyone who listens to the Harry Potter audiobooks is welcome in our fandom.