Thread: Audio books
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Old October 8 2012, 02:29 AM   #22
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Re: Audio books

NKemp3 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
JWolf wrote: View Post
But who has the right to give me a story that's incomplete and expect me to like it?
Ummm, anyone who's ever made a movie based on a novel? Those invariably trim out huge amounts of content, because adapting a full book would take a whole miniseries' worth of time. (Even Peter Jackson's extended cuts of Lord of the Rings leave out a bunch of stuff from the books.)

Bad example because movies and books are entirely different genres.
No, because my point was that those early abridged audiobooks weren't meant to be exact equivalents or replacements, but adaptations to a different medium, not unlike movies. Today's unabridged audiobooks may be more like books per se, but I don't think it works to apply that same standard to the early Trek audiobooks.

There's also Reader's Digest and other publications over the generations that have presented condensed versions of novels and stories. Those have been very popular for a long time.
Since when? That excerpted format is not much of a draw.
Reader's Digest Condensed Books (now called Select Editions) have been in continuous publication for over 60 years. I mean, come on, it's such a perennially popular series that its name became synonymous with the idea of condensed storytelling, even a metaphor for brevity. You often hear people say "Give me the Reader's Digest version" when they mean "keep it short and concise." So yes, obviously there is a market for shortened versions of novels. Just as there are plenty of people out there who don't like to read at all, there are also plenty of people who don't like to read too much, who wouldn't have the patience to read a full-length novel and just want a briefer version.

Respectfully disagree. Working at a book store in the late 90s I couldn't understand when I saw untested work such as the first Harry Potter novel get released with both abridged and unabridged audiobooks. This is before anyone could be sure that HP would sell well in the States. Meanwhile Star Trek, at its height in popularity thanks to TNG, was putting books on the NY Times Bestsellers list and yet for the most part its audio versions were unabridged. Sure it is possible that unabridged versions of ST books could have been huge disasters financially, but S&S never really tried to go for it and find out.
You're comparing a media tie-in franchise to an original novel series? I'd call that an invalid comparison on the face of it. There's probably less financial incentive for an audiobook publisher to do tie-in adaptations in the first place, because they have to split the royalties with more people and get a smaller piece of the pie, and because the market for an adaptation of a tie-in to a mass-media franchise is probably pretty tiny to begin with. So they probably didn't see enough profit potential to invest in an unabridged version. But those factors wouldn't apply to an original novel, especially one that was already a huge hit overseas.

Twice I can recall customers asking me if there was an unabridged version of these books; one lady asked because she was going to be travelling by car throughout the weekend and wanted something to listen to. These folks had no interest in the abridged versions because those only lasted two to three hours which meant most of the story would have been lost.
Twice?! You heard objections only twice out of the whole time you worked there, and that convinces you it's a universal attitude?

Let me also say that I'm comparing S&S to what was being done with the Star Wars audiobooks. There was a big difference. SW had its share of abridged of course but it also provided full cast audio versions with a dozen or so actors on each reading dialogue of the various main characters. The SW books tended to put more money in background sound effects and music too. And of course it had its share of unabridged audio too. Trek audio books never seemed to get that type of carefully crafted handling.
When has Star Wars not been a bigger seller than Star Trek in head-to-head competition? They could afford to do those things because they had reason to expect enough profit to justify that overhead. You can't just assume that a large enough audience will magically appear if you pour money into something. Yes, doing a better job will probably get you more patrons up to a point, but there are limits.
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