Abridged vs. Unabridged

Have you ever been browsing our library and wondered, “Why is the exact same book – same author, same narrator, same publisher, and same cover art – available twice?” Usually if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that they actually have different lengths. One will be the full-length version, while the other will be shortened, or “abridged”.

For all the benefits audiobooks provide, there is one trade-off: we read with our eyes faster than anyone can read to us with their voice. Some may feel like a novel is taking a while when it otherwise wouldn’t. To abate this, many publishers will offer an abridged version of the audiobook, where the story line remains intact but certain sections are cut to shave a few hours off the recording. The majority of our listeners opt for the full version but others feel that an abridged audiobook is easier to handle. This is especially the case with lengthy classics, which were written back when our patience and attention span were a little longer.

There are certainly pros and cons, and I’m often guilty of finding myself in the middle of a classic waiting for the plot to progress. However, I still prefer the unabridged version; if I’m going to enjoy an author’s work, I want to listen to the whole production!

Plus, with Audiobooks.com’s variable speed narration tool, it’s easy to change your listening from 1.0 to 1.25, 1.5 or even 1.75 times normal speed. To access this feature, tap the “1x” text at the bottom left corner of the audio player screen in the app.

Are you an abridged or unabridged listener? Tell us your thoughts!