Thread: Audio books
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Old October 8 2012, 06:15 AM   #23
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Re: Audio books

Christopher wrote: View Post
NKemp3 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post

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.
Yes, because you are still comparing two totally different things. Whether you want to own up to it or not a movie is never meant to tell the same story of the book. In fact movies can take liberties by changing outcomes, combining characters, moving plot points from the middle to the beginning, etc. An audiobook, on the other hand, is meant to convey the same story of the book. It is only an audio version of the written word. As a result it has always been considered a subcategory of the book business (the same can't be said of film obviously). When you gut more than half the story you basically defeat the purpose of the audiobook which is to allow the story in its entirety to be read to the listener

(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.
It being synonymous with the idea does not make it currently popular. Readers prefer short stories to condensed stories of novels. Condensed stories major purpose these days is to catch the attention of readers who would then seek out the complete text for purchase.

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.
Wait. The same argument coming from your point of view, could apply to publishing books in the first place for franchises like Star Trek. After all...the books are tie-ins too, right? So wouldn't the same issue apply? Of course it would. But they go ahead and publish those books anyway. Why not the audio portion then? There will always be a certain percentage of people interested purchasing an audio edition. Not just for Harry Potter or Prize winning books. For all books. Yes, some are going to sell far more than others and make a profit. But again the same can be said for books in general.

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?
Ha. I knew that would be a response. A manager used to tell me that a comment a customer had regarding a frustration they had was the same as a complaint sent in by letter to, say, a TV station. Every one you hear represents dozens more that are never verbalized or spoken of (or written about). That's how I view it. But let's say that's wrongheaded and let's say I concede your sarcastic point that the two remarks are a ridiculously unimportant and low number. You know what's worse? The actual ZERO requests from people clamoring for abridged editions and the ZERO complaints from people that they could only find unabridged versions of a book and not any abridged versions.

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.
You can't also assume that putting out a more shoddy and cheaply produced edition will lead to sales when consumers have examples of other audiobooks of finer quality to compare it too. Who wants to purchase an inferior product? Isn't it part of being a smart business person to realize that?

Of course I realize SW was more popular....even though the prequels were still a couple of years away. Again though if SW is so much more popular that ST could not hope to compete in the audiobook market, doesn't the same argument apply to the larger book market as well? So why publish the books then? All those trees, all those covers, all that ink, all of those shipping costs. That's expensive too especially considering the bulk of books that were coming off the presses back then. Point is S&S kept putting out books like SW but didn't try to put much effort into audio. S&S was dipping a couple of toes into the waters of the book industry while the folks behind SW were all but dumping the entire foot. How was S&S to know how much merchandise they could really move without going all out?
You will be missed, Richard Biggs
1961 - too soon
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