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Old 04-04-2017, 12:28 PM   #1
sun surfer
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Unabridged v Abridged Uncertainties

Does anyone else ever wonder if the 'unabridged' version is actually so? I had this experience with Dune recently where I found that indeed the 'unabridged' version had very small snippets deleted.

That didn't matter too much, but sometimes I see unabridged versions on Audible whose length seems too short to encompass the page count and I wonder, especially if after sampling it the narrator doesn't speak especially fast.

For instance, does anyone have an opinion on this 'unabridged' version of Mary Poppins: http://www.audible.com/pd/Classics/M...1322946&sr=1-1

It's less than four hours yet the book is around 200 pages. I suppose children's books go by faster but still it seems short, especially considering this 'abridged' versions (albeit in another language, but still) is 3 1/2 hours long: http://www.audible.com/pd/Kids/Mary-...1322946&sr=1-8

And considering more adult books, I find the same thing sometimes, especially when there's a few choices and different unabridged versions can have very different lengths and it makes one wonder at the shorter one.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:14 PM   #2
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If Mary Poppins is really only the 38,085 words this page says it is then 4ish hours doesn't seem off. Hard to go by page count, especially with a children's book, due to variations in font and margin sizes, illustrations, etc.



I've not questioned books too often, but do remember one book that was missing stuff. That one though was an actual error where a chapter cut off a few paragraphs early and was later fixed when reported. I've also run into at least one where the reading doesn't match the book text in spots. It turns out that the publisher sent an earlier version, before final edits were done, to the audiobook producer and that earlier version is what ended up in the audiobook.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:27 PM   #3
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That would be annoying, on both counts. At least the first was corrected.

I can't think of the other books I've wondered about off the top of my head now, but I know there's been a good amount and if any others come to me I'll post them.

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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
If Mary Poppins is really only the 38,085 words this page says it is then 4ish hours doesn't seem off. Hard to go by page count, especially with a children's book, due to variations in font and margin sizes, illustrations, etc.
Word counts would be good to go by for consistency but I'm not sure if there's a site that lists that for every book? What I've been doing for consistency the last few years is going to Goodreads, looking at the 'Editions' of a book and looking at the various page counts listed to get a general idea to account for as you say the variations. For instance here's the page for editions of Mary Poppins: https://www.goodreads.com/work/editi...8-mary-poppins

209 pages, 210 pages, 192 pages, 207 pages, 195 pages and so on in different editions, so I just generalised to around 200 pages.
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Old 04-04-2017, 02:28 PM   #4
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Goodreads is a pain in the ass when it comes to page numbers. They just don't get it. They have strict rules on where page numbers have to come from and sometimes that can be wrong. Heck, I can even send them a photo of the real page number and since it's not from one of their allowed sources, it won't count.
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Old 04-04-2017, 03:15 PM   #5
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One possibility is that the German-language Mary Poppins might actually be a one-volume compilation of stories taken from several books in the series.
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Old 04-05-2017, 05:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
Does anyone else ever wonder if the 'unabridged' version is actually so? I had this experience with Dune recently where I found that indeed the 'unabridged' version had very small snippets deleted.
Compared to what? I have noticed small differences between two copies of the same book that had been published by different publishers.
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Goodreads is a pain in the ass when it comes to page numbers. They just don't get it. They have strict rules on where page numbers have to come from and sometimes that can be wrong. Heck, I can even send them a photo of the real page number and since it's not from one of their allowed sources, it won't count.
Maybe, but it's the best place I've come across to easily and consistently generalise page counts for most all books.

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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
One possibility is that the German-language Mary Poppins might actually be a one-volume compilation of stories taken from several books in the series.
Thanks; that makes more sense than an abridged audio of the first book that's about as long as the unabridged audio.

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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
Compared to what? I have noticed small differences between two copies of the same book that had been published by different publishers.
Do you mean Dune specifically? It's a very odd audiobook. There is a narrator who does more than half of the book, but inexplicably some various dialogue sections are done by a full cast of narrators. The dialogue sections that the narrator does alone, he always includes things like 'he said with anger' or 'she said and laughed' and such. Whenever it switches to the full cast, all the sudden any non-dialogue snippets related to the dialogue like that vanish for the most part, and it's jarring. It becomes more like a dramatised version in those sections, even though the audiobook is 'unabridged'. I spoke about Dune's audiobook in more length in the 'Worst Audiobook Narrations Ever' thread and also in my review of it on Goodreads, but on perusing both of those it seems I didn't specify this point of it not really being fully unabridged (I thought I had somewhere, but it seems not... there are larger problems with that audiobook than this). Not that it matters all that much when a voice actor coughs instead of/along with the narrator reading 'she coughed' or a voice actor speaks happily instead of/along with the narrator reading 'he said with happiness in his voice' and such... but I wouldn't call that truly unabridged.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:15 AM   #8
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Do you mean Dune specifically?
No, paper books and ebooks. There are some books I read in paper form and later in electronic form. And then put them side to side to find some small differences.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
No, paper books and ebooks. There are some books I read in paper form and later in electronic form. And then put them side to side to find some small differences.
Ah, I see. With Dune I meant compared to any written form of it and though I don't have any written copy I compared it with parts of the ebook preview online. Also, I've had success with googling parts of a book to check and finding it in I think it is Google Books? It's the index that scans in and saves so many books but you can't actually read those books, and searching them will only bring up a specific section of a book to look at to confirm your search... so if you can search precisely enough (especially if there are differences as we're discussing) and if it brings up the relevant book passage then you can compare.

Though I'm not too fussed about small differences such as what you've found or with Dune (I only mentioned that one because the however minor abridging of an 'unabridged' book was obvious there, to prove it does indeed happen). It's when I see an audiobook that seems to be abnormally short though 'unabridged', that if something is amiss with it it would have to be on a large enough scale to cause a reduction in size that's noticeable in the audio length. And when you listen, you wouldn't necessarily realise it's been abridged if it had, and it would be difficult to check. I know some people have had worries about ebooks missing chunks of a book too, but I'm not worried about that as I generally trust the publishers or if it's free I often go with a more trusted uploader if I can. I suppose I should just trust Audible too but, especially with knowing that abridging is popular in audiobooks, I can't help but wonder with some of these lengths!
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