Audiobook Week, Day Two: Reviewing audiobooks


Welcome to day two of Audiobook Week! I hope you’ve been able to visit some posts and read some reviews. I had fun yesterday clicking through to as many of the participants as I had time for, and I’m looking forward to visiting even more today.

Today’s topic is on reviewing audiobooks. I have to admit that I still feel like a novice in this area. I’ve been listening to audiobooks for years, and have always reviewed them along with the print books I read, but it is only lately that I’ve tried to look at reviewing audiobooks as a different thing. So far, the only thing I’ve thought to do is to add a little note at the bottom reviewing the book from an audio perspective.

When I read other people’s audiobook reviews, though, they seem to be better able to weave the audio aspects naturally into the review. What I mainly am looking for is some indication of whether or not the book works well on audio, and I especially want to know if the book is better that way than it would be in print. I also want to know if the narrator isn’t very good, if he or she has any vocal tics that might be distracting, or if he or she reads very slowly.

What about you? What do you look for in an audiobook review?

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18 Responses to Audiobook Week, Day Two: Reviewing audiobooks

  1. Kim says:

    All good points!! I am definitely starting to realize that all narrators are not created equal so that is probably the thing I want to know the most…how good is the narrator? I have turned off my fair share of books after realizing the narrator gets on my nerves! :)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kim – oh, me, too – I have definitely quit audiobooks because of the narrator. If I’m going to listen to a book rather than read it in print, the person reading it better be doing a good job and have a voice I can stand to listen to.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I think the most important thing is to get a feel for the narrator. You can have the best story, but if it doesn’t come through the narrator’s voice, it flops. I sometimes will mention other little quirky things about the production if it bothers me (like background noise or sound effects). I’ve never put length of audio or number of pages, but I’ve seen others do this so I think I’ll start doing that.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I have thought about adding the number of pages/length of audio to my review header – maybe I should do that. Problem is, when I think of something to add, then I feel like I need to go back and add it to every. single. review. Sigh.

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    Knowing the narrator is important – they can make or break a book.

  4. Great points. When you listen to audiobooks more and more certain things become important to you. But talking a little about the narration is a must. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & happy listening!

  5. Arti
    Twitter: Arti_Ripples
    says:

    Yes, agree with you about the simple point whether it works as an audiobook in contrast to the written text. For today’s discussion, I’ve actually posted a review of an excellent title delivered by a veteran actor. I think it’s a good example of what works.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Arti – I’m off to check out your review, because I loved that book on audio!

  6. I know I’ve forgotten to mention the narrator before and what I thought – but I do think it’s important – even just 1 sentence to mention that they did an excellent job and help me get lost in the book. I also like when, if the book is better/ worse/ just as good on audio is mentioned.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tanya – I agree – there are certain books that are MADE to be experienced on audio, and especially when the narrator/book are a perfect match.

  7. Patti Smith
    Twitter: PattiRSmith
    says:

    I agree wholeheartedly about the narrator…he/she can make or break the best or even the worst writing. When I first started listening to audiobooks, I thought the author of the book as narrator made the difference…but I proved myself wrong with a couple of books later. The narrator has to be somewhat of a storyteller/actor as well…even though he/she is reading aloud, it’s imperative that he/she takes on the feel of the story through intonations, accents whenever necessary, etc.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Patti – I agree. There are only a few authors who should read their own work – Neil Gaiman and Joshilyn Jackson immediately come to mind – and some that definitely shouldn’t. There’s a certain author whose books I enjoy that I will not listen to on audio because she insists on reading her own books, and I find her voice grating.

  8. I actually purposefully DON’T weave the pieces together. You can’t totally separate how you feel about the story from how the audio production is, but I try to do so as best as I can, because I think it gives a better indication of whether the book might be better in print or audio.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jen – I never thought about it that way! Maybe it doesn’t matter that I separate the sections of my review, then. Especially since I know I enjoy your audiobook reviews and the way you format them.

  9. Trish
    Twitter: TriniCapini
    says:

    Honestly I think your point about just including a note/paragraph about the narrator is enough. I do want to know how the book worked on audio but I don’t think the entire review needs to be about the production itself. It’s been interesting and fun to see everyone’s thoughts today!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Trish – thanks for your thoughts – I’m glad what I’ve been doing is okay. :)