Why is it that there are a plethora of audiobooks available in an abridged version, but it’s extremely rare to find a paper book in an abridged version?
Obviously, the publishers believe that there is a market for abridged audiobooks, and they are correct. While most people prefer unabridged fiction, many publishers have found that the majority of people prefer abridged versions when it comes to non-fiction books on subjects such as business and politics for example. So you’d think that publishers would try to reach those people with paper books too.
I, for one, prefer unabridged versions of most of the time. But, I know I would really appreciate abridged paper versions of very long, wordy novels.
Charles Dickens and J. R. R. Tolkien come to mind… (I can’t be the only one who feels that The Lord of the Rings was too wordy…can I? 🙂 ) I realize that my sentiments about these authors are not shared by everyone, but I do believe I am representative of a good part of the population who would be interested in abridged paper books.
Abridged Tolkien!? An outrage!
On a serious note, I think that most good authors are economical in their work. And when they are not, they are busy developing complex characters and settings that are wholly worthwhile and rewarding to the patient reader. Though, there are certainly exceptions…
Being somewhat of a purist about most forms of media, any alteration to the author’s original work and intent just upsets me. I could never listen to an abridged book without wondering, “What am I missing?”
Its an interesting debate, but one which does ultimately come down to personal preference.
I have saved my most important point for last: the secret to ending all of life’s troubles is [editor’s note: this post has been abridged for your reading convenience.]
I never really thought about it, but I rarely read every word of a book (the way I hear every word in an audiobook). In a sense, most people do their own “abridgment” of print books by skimming the story and only focusing on sections that really interest them.
I do it all the time– and have even gone so far as to only read some storylines (when there are multiple subplots) in pulp fiction-type books.
Second the above… if I feel that a book is too wordy, and don’t feel the need to absorb every single word, then I’ll skim it. I *much* prefer to be the one who decides what I read and what I skip than some anonymous abridger.
Someone might argue that in the case of audio books, it’s harder to “skim”; but even then would I prefer to use a high-speed mode, fast-forward, or simply zone out and think about other things during the dull parts. The label “abridged” has always leant a book a certain stigma in my eyes.
Reading abridged work is giving up control. In an age wherein so much is out of our control and that which is IN our control is so often beyond our grasp …. it seems to me that abridgment is censorship. And who actually MAKES the decisions about what should and should not be presented?
Let the reader make the decision about what words have value and act accordingly. I find the idea of abridged books abhorrent. Now frankly, we could easily abridge and remove much of the insanity that assaults us on television and be none the worse for the brevity.
End of rant