Why would anyone want an abridged version?

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Triton

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I was just wondering. I was about to buy a few books on audible but noticed they were abridged and they do not sell unabridged formats. Why would anyone want an incomplete book?

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anypats

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They do have many, many unabridged books. I have downloaded 4 of them from Audible already.

One thing about abridged versions though is that the author usually must approve them and there will typically be a statement on CD covers "The author has approved this abridgement." Abridged versions typically still give most relevant information, plot lines, etc. You will just lose detailed descriptions or possible side stories.

The abridged versions are good for people that are interested in a book but don't want to put time into actually reading the book or dedicating 12+ hours to listen to the full book. Costco and Sam's Club I noticed has started selling some abridged books on CD for $8.99.
 

Vance

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I listen almost exclusively to unabridged, but . . .

There have been times when I had run through my library's content, was waiting for a shipment from RBI or BOT, and knew that my local video store had some abridged books for rent. If it was a book that was not on my "to read" list, but might be fun for a quick listen (say a Cussler book), then I would go ahead.
 

Cloysterpeteuk

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I'm just thankful Stephen King refuses to allow abridged versions, I can't stand them myself half the time they are so badly edited it leaves you confused as hell trying to work out whats going on.

Any abridged versions don't derserve to share the same title as the original novel, if anything is going to put people off audiobooks then it's listening to these BS abridged versions.
 

moriond

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Triton said:
I was just wondering. I was about to buy a few books on audible but noticed they were abridged and they do not sell unabridged formats. Why would anyone want an incomplete book?

Regards
A lot of this is the simple cost of audiobooks, as described in this post and its answer. Also, older books that were released when there was only a limited audiobook audience may only be offered on Audible in abridged format because that's all that was available.

Publishers were often willing to spend more for narrators of abridged audiobooks when this was considered to be the key market, so this can be a factor in occasionally choosing an abridged version to download. (I prefer the narration on the abridged Audio Editions version of Alfred Lansing's Endurance to either of the two unabridged versions I've heard. The difference was enough to make me not want to buy the unabridged version as a download, and the abridgement is minimal -- I'd already read the book and knew this). YMMV.
 

BillClinton

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The vast majority of my audiobooks are unabridged; however, some books are very much enhanced by being shortened. Some books become bogged down with minutia; abridging crispens them to a nice sharp story - it does the editing that should have been done in the first place. Sometimes things are put into books just to be complete. Less can be more.
 

Podunk

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Generally, I prefer fiction in unabridged format. With fiction, the joy comes from the reading or listening. So as long as the story is good, I enjoy the ride.

But for most non-fiction, I often prefer an abridgement. I like to get to the point. If I want to find out more detail, I can always read the full volume or do further research. Heck, in many cases, I'll settle for an author interview where he has five minutes to tell me what his point is.
 

jemm

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As a child I often listened to abriged versions of adult books from the library. I hadn't the concentration or ability to understand the full story so I think this was really good for me. So like crime and punishment I mistened to an abriged version at quite a young age when I don't think I would have enjoyed the full version so much. Just my thoughts about one use for abriged audiobooks.

But I agree that now I would always want the unabriged version.
 

canonelan2

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I'm very pro-unabridged but there are a few audible titles I will buy abridged... like star trek & the x-files (back when they had them)

What surprises me is that audible has some popular books where they only have the abridged versions.

An excellent example of this is with John Grisham. They have all of his books all unabridged except "The Firm", "The Client" and "The Pelican Brief"

The same with the James Patterson, Alex Cross novels. They've got the entire series (11 total) unabridged except books 2, 3 & 4

That annoyed me... (I own all of the unabridged ones) but at least the local library was able to fill the void for me.
 

moriond

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canonelan2 said:
What surprises me is that audible has some popular books where they only have the abridged versions.
Notice that a lot of these examples are older book releases. The same is true for earlier works by Michael Crichton (The Great Train Robbery and The Andromeda Strain are only available unabridged through Audible). Sometimes there is a non-Audible unabridged version of these books floating around. Even some quite popular and relatively recent titles were only offered in abridged format -- like Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. I assume that's because Random House only released an abridged audiobook, and didn't want the unabridged readings (such as the Recorded Books unabridged Richard Davidson narration) offered in competition.

P.S. Until relatively recently the (unabridged) audiobook market has been a relatively small segment. See this Publisher's Weekly article From LPs to Downloads by Trudi M. Rosenblum, 12/6/1999 for a historical overview of audiobooks.
 
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canonelan2

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moriond said:
Notice that a lot of these examples are older book releases. The same is true for earlier works by Michael Crichton (The Great Train Robbery and The Andromeda Strain are only available unabridged through Audible). Sometimes there is a non-Audible unabridged version of these books floating around. Even some quite popular and relatively recent titles were only offered in abridged format -- like Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. I assume that's because Random House only released an abridged audiobook, and didn't want the unabridged readings (e.g. the Recorded Books unabridged reading) offered in competition.
I understand when books are ONLY released in abridged audio... but those 6 I mentioned ARE available unabridged as I was able to get all of them at the library. 5 on CD and 1 on tape.
 

moriond

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Yes, but at the time that Audible got started, they weren't able to negotiate for these rights. And some companies only re-recorded the unabridged versions after the original abridged versions came out, once the market started to take off. See this Audible Cranks Up post from the recent Has audible.com quality dropped? thread for a history of Audible. And see the Publisher's Weekly link that I added to my edited P.S. for a history of audiobooks. Unabridged books for reading first got started in the late 1970s. Audiobooks have really only taken off recently.

The other historical factor you're seeing is the bandwidth limitation at the time that Audible got started. This showed up in both a larger number of abridged audiobooks (which was also more typically representative of the earlier audiobook market) and more highly compressed formats (lower quality but smaller size for dial-up modem transfer and also to match device capacities). The books you cite (like the Grisham books) date from the pre-iTunes, pre-iPod Audible era of acquisitions.
 
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jbischke

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I do expect unabridged versions to become increasingly popular as people get faster net connections and storage becomes less of a problem. I'm usually looking for unabridged versions too for the same reason that I don't really know what I'm missing and that bugs me. And some abridgements are really bad ("Flow" is one that's a great book and a horrible abridged audio book).

Having said that if it's a business book and I just want the high points/main ideas then I'm find with abridged versions.

Now what really bugs me is when a good book isn't available at all on audio. I've been meaning to read The Paypal Wars for a while now. If it were on audio it would have already been finished. But since it's not it'll sit on my bookshelf collecting dust.
 
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