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I want to state that "I've read 10 books this year", but the books in question can be both dead-wood books and audiobooks. Is there a verb that works here in place of 'read'? Maybe something like 'learned' or 'ingested' (eww)?

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Why does there have to be a single word for a distinction that's only a few decades old? "Audiobook" is not what you call a traditional English word. – John Lawler May 28 '14 at 21:31
I've known blind people who say things like "I've just read a good book" when obviously what they mean is they've listened to someone else reading it out loud. If there were a suitable verb that didn't imply using one's eyes, I think they'd have latched onto it. – FumbleFingers May 28 '14 at 21:33
@FumbleFingers Braille. Blind people can read. – Doc May 28 '14 at 21:52
@FumbleFingers the plural of anecdote is not data; but in my case, ten out of ten blind people I know are fluent in Braille (in defense of your hypothesis, they are all older than me (45+ years) and there were no good audiobooks and other assistive tech when they were alphabetized.) – Massa May 28 '14 at 23:24
This is perhaps technically unrelated, but I think it is relevant as another example of a similar type of situation. Many deaf people that I know will use the sign for "talk" in conversation instead of "sign". "I was talking to so-and-so...", "Talk to you later", "I need to talk to my mom later...", and so on. What they mean is that they were signing with so-and-so, or whatever, but they use the sign for "talk" instead. – Dave May 29 '14 at 13:43


I've gone through 10 books this year.


I've gotten through 10 books this year.


I've finished 10 books this year.


I've made it through 10 books this year.


I've devoured 10 books this year.

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Consumed would also work, in the same vein as "devoured", but with less enthusiasm behind it. – Bobson May 30 '14 at 3:57

'Read' seems applicable as a term for both audio and visual books because the etymology of 'read' does not suggest 'with your eyes only'. Secondly, The blind commonly refer to 'reading', and even 'seeing' with their fingers.

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+1. This is the best answer, IMO. If you need to distinguish types of reading (and that includes the two ways you mentioned, plus more) then do so. If not, use "read". – Drew May 29 '14 at 2:28
I actually disagree with this. While it's true that the blind "read" with their fingers, they're still involving words on a physical object (even e-books qualify, because they're on the physical device). Listening to a book does not require a physical object of any sort. Similarly, you can read in isolation, but listening requires another person be involved (even if they're separated in time and space). – Bobson May 30 '14 at 4:00
@Bobson, I think we need to look not only at the root of a word but the original intent with respect to the times. I think we can easily confuse our present day with historical fact -books were damn rare in 1580s, and the "having knowledge gained from reading," was not indicative of ever seeing a book in your lifetime. Interestingly,I was doing research on Revolutionary America, and if you were caught traveling with paper (a rare resource), it was an indication that you were a spy -I can't imagine what they did if you had your 'vade mecum' – Third News May 30 '14 at 4:17
@ThirdNews - Books were rare, paper was rare, but words on physical objects weren't, necessarily. I actually originally write "words on a page", but corrected myself to the more general case. Inscribing words on stone or clay and then later reading them off again is a very ancient art. – Bobson May 30 '14 at 4:29
@Bobson. and therein lies the rub why language develops – Third News May 31 '14 at 5:02

A jargonized word for using content of any kind is consume. Typically, however, this word is used in reference to others, like "Our users consume 25 hours of video, 55 hours of audio, and 500 pages ..." You probably don't want to say "I consumed 10 books last year." It just sounds weird in this context.

So I suggest, as other have, to simply say read or completed or gotten through. The actual media used is far less important than the knowledge you gleaned from it.

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Consume seems to imply you ate the book. – Oldcat May 29 '14 at 0:09
@Oldcat It is jargon in this context. This particular use is specific to those in the content delivery industries, such as newspapers, video and audio production, etc. Specifically, these would be companies like The huffington post, iTunes division of Apple, and Universal Studios film division. – fredsbend May 29 '14 at 0:12

Why use just the one word? Why not say ''I've read or listened to 10 books this year''? The disadvantage of words like 'learned', 'studied', 'ingested', 'digested' is that you don't necessarily do all these things when you read/listen to a book. You might skim, scan, dislike or simply not get whatever it is you've been reading/hearing. You could use 'engaged' or 'interacted' but it would sound, to my ear at least, a little pretentious.

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Assuming that they were reasonably good books, you could say that you enjoyed them.

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If it were fiction, I would certainly choose enjoyed over any of these other choices. It's already quite natural to say in the context of reading alone. – mgw854 May 29 '14 at 18:39

Perhaps taken in? Several of the definitions of this term could apply

  • to admit; receive
  • to include; comprise
  • to understand; comprehend
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I've studied 10 books this year.

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That probably wouldn't work if your reading material was mainly potboilers or other "entertainment-only" books. – FumbleFingers May 28 '14 at 21:37
@FumbleFingers Agreed. I like Elian's answer best thus far. – njboot May 28 '14 at 21:44

I think you can also use: assimilate:

  • To incorporate and absorb into the mind: assimilate knowledge.
  • I have assimilated the content of 10 books this year
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I don't think I'm particularly dim, but I must admit that I have assimilated only a small fraction of the books I have read. – Jon Hanna May 28 '14 at 22:55

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