Do audio books make stories better?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Bob Gray, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    It's my understanding that Recorded Books is one of the big players in the audio world (or so said my agent when the deal came in).

    I love audio books, and was a little concerned when signing away audio rights because I thought they might just be shelved until the series saw some traction - so I of course was thrilled that it got picked up right away. I think that the industry is making many more titles in audio than they use to. It is a part of the marget (along with ebooks) that are seeing growth while the print (in all formats) are declining in sales volumes.
     
  2. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Registered User

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    I listened to Dean Koontz's Watchers (my first audio book) and didnt like the experience. I really liked the book when I read it 15 years ago, so I tentatively concluded I'm not an audio book person. Something about having it read out loud at a slower pace highlighted weaknesses that I'm pretty sure I could have blown by in print. In print, if I'm not interested in a section (excessive description or whatever) I skim it. In audio, you cant do that.
     
  3. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Interesting point...about skiming I can see where that would be an issue for some - although I rarely resort to skimming myself.
     
  4. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Registered User

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    Its more than that I cant skim over excessive description. Its more that I have so much more time to process each passage that my internal critic is a LOT more active, and has time to moan and groan over stuff that would otherwise escape his notice because I'd be onto the next passage.
     
  5. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I can see that. I like both audio and books, but as I said the narrator will make all the difference to me.
     
  6. Bob Gray

    Bob Gray Registered User

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    I think for me it is the fact that the narrator has the ability to put the inflection into the reading that I wouldn't necessarily get if I read a book myself. I'm sure it can completely ruin a book if the narrator isn't very good.
     
  7. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    It could also be that 15 years is a very long time and your tastes have changed and/or you could be more discerning now when it comes to certain elements in writing. I know there's certain books that I enjoyed that long ago that I would have a hard time enjoying nowadays.
     
  8. Khale

    Khale Registered User

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    Great to hear your books are making it to audiobook format. I am currently reading Theft of Swords on my kindle and would love to continue the series on audiobook. (I read my kindle on weekends and listen to audiobooks during the week while driving and at the gym).

    So far I am really enjoying Theft of Swords!
     
  9. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    I don't like them at all. I think it makes them worse. I want to read stories at my own pace, a much faster natural pace than an audio book, and I want to see the prose and feel the book in my hands.
     
  10. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    But aren't the voice and the ear the very soul of storytelling? After all, there was an oral tradition for thousands of years before writing was ever invented. IMVHO you dig down into the essence of a tale by hearing it read aloud.
     
  11. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    I'm finding as I listen to more audiobooks that I like them both pretty much equally. When I have a chance to sit quietly and read for at least 30 minutes, I prefer a book, but with 2 small children, finding quiet time to read is a challenge. Although I probably read about twice as fast as an audiobooks pace, I'm finding I still get more 'reading' done on audio.

    In the summer when it's light out later and I can sit outside with a cigar, I do get more time for regular books.
     
  12. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    Tradition doesn't shape itself to my personal preferences. We used horses before we ever drove cars. Doesn't mean I want to ride a horse.
     
  13. MattNY

    MattNY Registered User

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    Well put..but he was stating his own personal preference, not debating the original form of telling a story.
     
  14. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Oh sure. And as I've discussed previously with other folks, some people take in information easier through the ears, and some people take it in better through the eyes. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that oral storytelling is much more primal.....more evolutionarily and emotionally significant, than reading. Otherwise, humans would have invented writing before speech.

    And as others have mentioned, there are also the practical considerations. I can listen to books while I drive, garden, feed the animals, clean the house, exercise, whatever. So in essence I get twice as much good out of my time. When you read, you can't do much of anything else while you're sitting there reading. It seems like a waste.
     
  15. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    Yes and no. Since I can read twice as fast as I can listen, I actually feel like I'm wasting time if I listen to an audiobook when I can be reading. If I could listen as fast as I could read though, I'd probably never read a book.
     
  16. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    But since you can always do something else while you're listening, you're never "wasting" that time. It's always being used to some purpose -- listening is just a bonus to that time, no matter how fast or how slow. Nothing is stopping you from reading when you have the luxury of sitting down, and then ALSO listening when you need to be getting other things done.
     
  17. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    Oh I agree and that is exactly what I do. I just meant that if I have the time to sit down and do nothing else, and I was just going to sit in a chair for an hour with a book, I would pick reading over listening simply because I can read twice as fast.
     
  18. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Righto. And I switch between listening and reading, myself. Oddly enough, I usually pick books that I think are going to be BAD books to read -- since I can get through them faster. If I think it's going to be a GOOD book, I usually prefer to listen.
     
  19. Mekrath

    Mekrath Registered User

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    I tend to go for shorter and/or simpler books in audio, and longer and more complex books to read. A 40 hour listen is more daunting than a 20 hour read :) Also, the accent of the narrator makes a difference to me. I don't have a great attention span, and if I have to focus too hard on the narrator to understand their accent, or if there are too many characters with unfamiliar names, I have much more trouble following the audiobook.
     
  20. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    I feel the same, especially when it comes to an epic fantasy series. If I had tried listening to the audiobooks of Malazan or Song of Ice and Fire before reading them I would have had trouble following them because the scope is so huge.

    Sort of related to this, I started listening to Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham and it was confusing for me at first because there was a secondary character in the first chapter named Dossen and a few chapters later there was a POV character named Dawson. When read by the narrator both names sound the same and it was causing so much frustration for me. I had to look at a physical copy of the book to figure out what the hell was going on.