Can you read an audiobook?

What verb can represent both reading a book and listening to an audiobook?

Let’s look for a medium-insensitive verb. We don’t care if it’s a regular paper book, ebook, audiobook, braille, smell book or direct-to-brain book transfer (I’m futureproofing the hell out of this article).

Many people are pondering the same question:

Verbs suggested:

  • read
  • consume
  • absorb
  • digest
  • devour
  • peruse
  • pore
  • go through

Fruitless Investigation

Let’s check if there is any common synonym between read and listen?

Nope. That got us nowhere. What a disappointment.


Personally, I feel like both digest and devour strongly suggest eating a book. I’m not familiar with peruse and pore as a non-native speaker and other people will have the same issue. I want other people to understand when I use the verb. I don’t like ‘go through’, it’s two words, I want a single word verb. It wouldn’t have any advantage over using ‘read/listen’.


We are left with 3 verbs:

Read has many meanings. There is one from computer science that could be our breakthrough: “to acquire (information) from storage“.

Consume implies that the book is used up but after reading/listening. We still have the book.

Absorb suggests that someone is devoting full attention and taking in the contents which might be true for books you really enjoy but what if you don’t?

I’m a fan of read. What about you?


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