Like most millennial/gen Z folks, I spend a good amount of my free time on YouTube. And as a frequent consumer of YouTube content, I have learned that ads and sponsors have become a quotidian part of almost all YouTube videos with successful creators. Most of the time, the ads are tolerable and the products are often cool and potentially useful.
However, there is one ad that I see time and time again that always bothers me. Audible.com is a website/app for audio-books. Usually, YouTubers offer one free audio book if you use their promo code, and they talk about how much they personally enjoy the audio-book service. They usually say this by explaining that they simply don't have time to read, and the only way they can experience a good book is by listening to it.
First, I want to say that I do not hate audio-books, in fact, I think they can be wonderful. Listening to a good audio-book can be a great way to relax while doing other tasks such as driving, cooking or doing chores. Also, audio-books can have fantastic performances by the narrator, such as Stephen Fry's narration of the Harry Potter books.
That being said, I don't think audio-books can in any way compare or replace the joy of reading a physical copy of a book. The primary joy of reading a good book is that it is mindful. It takes us away from our problems and our work and places us in a new world, be it fictional or not. It forces us to sit still, get comfy and completely step away from our occupations to go somewhere new.
Reading also forces us to use our imagination and reopen our sense of childish wonder, which is a part of ourselves that we all still have, even when we grow up. There is no story that can be created better than the way we picture it in our own mind, which is why reading is one of the best forms of entertainment. We, as readers, get the chance to create our own story, picturing the characters and setting exactly the way we want to. It is truly an amazing thing, but it requires concentration without a wandering mind.
Furthermore, setting aside time to enjoy a good book should not be considered an un-achievable luxury in our technological age of social media and constant stimulation. Because of the infinite knowledge that is at our fingertips thanks to the internet, our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter, and our ability to calm our minds down from all that stimulation is only lessening, making us even more stressed and unhappy.
Because of all of this, it has never been more essential for us to commit to giving ourselves time to read for pleasure. It is mindful, relaxing and good for our brains and our imagination. It helps us separate ourselves from our work and our problems, and can be a great form of entertainment that makes us even more creative.
So, even though audio-books can be convenient at times, it is important for us to remember the power of reading a good book. Even when we're overwhelmed with work or school, we must remember that setting aside a small amount of time to read can make a big difference, and can help us stay more relaxed and engaged with stories that will always remain an integral part of our culture and our humanity.