Inherently Better

Audiobooks are inherently better than print/ebooks.

Yes, that’s what I said and yes, you can argue with me. I am quite comfortable with that.

audiobkjkbxbadgeBut first, let me explain (or bore you with) why I believe this to be so. I started my own little book review blog this past summer and I accept books for review. I can work with audio, ebook, or print. I started off with several audiobooks for review through Audiobook Jukebox. Through them, I had access to a variety of books, some produced by well-known publishers such as Blackstone Audio, Brillance, etc. Other books came from smaller publishers, like Iambik Audio and Mind Wings Audio. I have even had the pleasure of listening to self-published books such as Colony by Scott Reeves.

The vast majority of these review audiobooks have been Good to Beyond Excellent. Truly, I haven’t really had a negative experience even though several were outside my normal genres of scifi, fantasy, and historical fiction.

I have also been accepting ebooks and print books for review. The quality of these books has varied greatly from Why Are You Sending Me A Second Draft to Completely Awesome. Honestly, several of these books, even print which I think is more expensive to produce, have had serious flaws in story development: timeline issues, is it possible in the world you created?, characters melding together, staging issues (such as a weapon is suddenly no longer in the scene).

So, why the difference?

I think it is because someone, perhaps a publisher or even the author, must read the book through out loud in order to turn it into an audiobook. Therefore, several errors are noticed right off and either corrected or the publisher chooses to pass on that book for audio production.

Have you run into books that could have benefited from an ‘out loud’ read through? Do you find audiobooks in general to be of higher quality in the sense of story crafting?

About nrlymrtl; Round Table Farms; organic farming; reading scifi/fantasy, historical fiction, mysteries; cooking good stuff; weaver

9 thoughts on “Inherently Better

  1. I’ve traditionally been a consumer of mostly paper books, but my commute of late has me working through lots of audiobooks lately – I’m not ready to commit to a position on the primacy of print or audio, though some stories really do seem to draw something extra from a well done performance on the audio version (can’t think of any immediate examples, though I keep hearing that James Marsters’ work on the Dresden audiobooks is execellent – if availability at my local library is any indication, this is probably a valid position – I’ll find out eventually).

    That said, I’ve had a few experiences where the performance, or some aspect of the recording process, can detract from the consumption experience. For example – I’m currently working through the unabridged edition of Todd McCaffrey’s “Dragonheart” (recent vintage Pern), and while the perfomance by the reader is just fine, they use a poorly applied reverb on telepathic dragon dialogue, which is at best difficult to understand, and at worst, totally unintelligible.

    • Good to know about the Dragonheart book. I am currently listening to the BBC production of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and I am not sure that this is a plus. I think I might prefer the paper version or even simply a single reader narrating the book and leave out all the special sound effects.

  2. Some of the radio theater ones can be fun, when they’re written specifically as a drama. I’m thinking Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    I do argue with your inherently better, tho, at least as far as your sampling set. I wonder if you are receiving better quality audio productions and lower quality optic productions? Are you comparing print/ebooks from TOR and these types of bigger publishing houses along with the audios? are you comparing productions that involve lots and lots of people and gatekeepers to productions that have fewer people involved in the process?

    • Great questions. Specifically, in my mind when writing this, I was comparing indie and small publishers works – audio vs. print. I think Carl’s comment nails it – why would a small or large publisher put time and $ into an audiobook if the book hasn’t been edited or is still in rough draft form?

  3. I wouldn’t say so much that audiobooks are better, just that the better print books are the ones that publishers are willing to pay the extra money for to also put out in audiobook format. The experience of an audiobook can be incredible but it can also be quite a drag depending on the skill of the narrator. I’ve had wonderful experiences and ones where I’ve turned off the audio, deciding that if I really wanted to read that story I would do so by reading it myself.

    • My man and I listen to several audios a month and there is this one particular narrator that he really enjoys and I always have to think twice about picking up a book narrated by him – it’s always him, he has limited range of voices, almost no female voice. So, yes, I can see your point about a listening experience being a drag.

  4. I still haven’t broken into audio – I like your reasoning though. Oh, I don’t know why – it would be good for when I’m doing things like walking or ironing but I just don’t think I would stay focused. I really will have to try it out. Think how many more books I could read!! Win win.
    Lynn :D

    • I do believe your ironing would be much more exciting with an audiobook on hand. I know my boring chores are no longer chores, they are an opportunity to enjoy a good book.

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