Abridged Audio Books
I usually find it essential to get the full version of whatever I’m reading. If it is an article or a scholarly essay, I want to know all the details so that I can make up my mind. If it is fiction, I want to experience everything the author wanted to show me. When I’m listening to a famous piece of literature as a digital audiobook, I often prefer the unabridged version as well. With unabridged audiobooks, I get to experience the full story rather than a cleverly made summary.
When I don’t have a lot of time or if I’m traveling somewhere, however, it’s an entirely different matter. When taking public transit in the morning, for example, I like to listen to abridged audiobooks on the way to work. I don’t have a lot of time to listen to the story, and I want it to move along at a rapid pace so that I can make some progress on the 20 minutes or so to work every day.
On long car rides or business trips, I also sometimes prefer abridged audiobooks. It’s nice to be able to take in a whole novel in a few hours rather than having to pick it up again when I get home. A lot of the downloadable audiobooks I listen to when I’m traveling are pretty light reading anyway, so it doesn’t matter how complete and comprehensive the story is. If an editor can pare down a bulky, cumbersome book to a lighter, more bite-size version, why shouldn’t I enjoy saving some time?
Not all abridged audiobooks are of the same quality, so it’s really good to get an idea of how well a particular company does at shortening.
Personally, when I’m exploring new books on tape, I like to listen to both an unabridged audiobook and an abridged book by them and compare the two. If I feel like I’ve missed some good parts when I listen to the abridged version, I know to avoid their abridgments in the future.
More often than not, however, I can barely tell the difference, and the shorter version takes significantly less time to listen to. In that case, I know that I can trust the editor to make the right cuts and keep the ‘feel’ of the original work intact while cutting out some of the filler from the abridged audiobook.