Why do they make abridged versions?!

6 Feb

As a warning, this post is being written in a flourish of anger. Be warned.

I just finished listening to a beautiful and haunting story that I loved. Between a long run and a long car ride, I finished the six hours of audio in four days and it was partially because I loved the story and was always anxious to hear what happened next. I had 15 minutes left and decided to sit down and just finish the darn thing. And I did. And the ending was great and the character arc was wonderful and I was floating on cloud nine. Before I could stop it, the credits read and it mentioned the name of the individual who abridged the book.


Are you telling me that I just spent 6 hours listening to PART of a book? A book that won me over completely? What if they took out all the bad parts and the book is actually terrible? How would I ever know? I looked and it seems there is no unabridged version of this book on audio. The famous person who read it must not have been willing to give that much time.

So what am I to do? I feel seriously cheated to be sure. I want to know the whole story because, for once, there is more to a book I enjoyed! I want to know all the details someone didn’t think were worth making it to the end. The parts that seemed rushed will slow down and that excites me.

So, do I wait or read it soon? I own a copy so I could grab it next and read it, looking for the small or large changes. Or I could wait, maybe a few years, until I don’t remember the details and I can be surprised by them again instead of knowing what’s coming for the characters and not being surprised by twists. I’m at a loss. All I know is I feel cheated and I’ve never felt shortchanged by literature before.


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14 Responses to “Why do they make abridged versions?!”

  1. Ana February 6, 2017 at 10:21 AM #

    Understandable, I would feel cheated as well.

    If you find it important to know the differences it would be best to read it as soon as possible. If you don’t mind not knowing you could wait until you don’t remember the story much. No real win-win decision you could make, the way I see it.


    • Sam February 6, 2017 at 10:39 AM #

      Truth. I’m leaning toward sticking it at the end of my TBR. Maybe there will be some surprise to it still if I read it a few years from now. I don’t often reread books because I hate knowing what will happen so I’m really apprehensive about this. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ana February 6, 2017 at 10:40 AM #

        I cannot remember last time I reread a book because I feel exactly the same way. Plus, my TBR pile is so big I feel like it is a waste of precious time.

        Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. beckylindroos February 6, 2017 at 12:34 PM #

    Abridged books used to be far more popular than they are today – back when reading was more important. Folks wanted to generally know the story but not really read it. Condensed versions, which are not the same as abridge but they’re also short, were also popular then.

    Think of Faulkner whose works were very popular either abridged or condensed. The plot is in both – the parts which are not necessary for the plot and basic character development or idea of theme are removed. In condensed versions the narrative is also rewritten to read more easily. People who wanted to know the story of Absalom, Absalom but not work so hard to get it used abridged and condensed versions.

    Today it’s changed and nonreaders simply don’t read lol – readers want the whole thing.

    When Audible started I don’t think they quite knew the audience they were going to appeal to and so many of their books were abridged. But the unabridged sold far better. So they’ve gone to that.

    Fwiw, I only read unabridged but I got an abridged version one time and I was very irritated. lol –


    • Sam February 6, 2017 at 12:46 PM #

      I’m like you, I want the full, unabridged version. I feel like abridged versions are like reading the Cliff Notes but pretending you read the whole book. I can see from a cultural perspective why people want the abridged version, but as a reader, it feels like cheating!! Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma's Library February 6, 2017 at 3:29 PM #

    I can see the upside to having abridged audio books but I personally hate them. I want to listen to the whole story even if it is hours long. To be fair though I usually use audiobooks to help me sleep at night, I rarely choose them over a physical or ebook.


    • Sam February 6, 2017 at 3:46 PM #

      I only use audiobooks for running and driving. I prefer the physical book. I find it odd that you usually see abridged audiobooks and not physical/Ebooks. I guess people who want to see the words want to see ALL of them, haha. Happy reading!


      • Emma's Library February 7, 2017 at 5:23 PM #

        There are abridged books out there though. On my kindle I have the bind up editions of the All Creatures Great and Small series and some of the original books have been abridged so that they can fit together in a certain amount of pages. I think my copy of the Corfu trilogy by Gerald Durrell is the same because it ended rather abruptly, and I read some other tales in a different volume that should have been in the second book but were missing. However you are right in that it doesn’t make sense to have abridged audiobooks and not physical/ebooks.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. faithrivens February 7, 2017 at 8:49 AM #

    I can’t imagine the frustration. I’ve read abridged versions of books knowingly when I was a child and I’ve made strides to read the full versions now in my later younger years ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But I can’t imagine sitting through a reading and then discovering the terrible truth ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    These days I’m cautious before buying any book just in case. I like my books unabridged, thank you very much ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I think waiting a bit might be the best thing to do so that you can turn to it with a fresher mind than you have right now.
    I hope you don’t have any other horrible experiences like this, my dear!


    • Sam February 7, 2017 at 8:52 AM #

      Thank you! It was a more modern book and I rarely see abridged versions of non-classics, even those that are over 1000 pages long!! I remember reading the Great Illustrated Classics as a kid, knowing it was abridged like you say. Finding out at the end was like a kick in the stomach, I wasn’t ready for it. I migrated the book to the end of my TBR for now. It might stay there, it might not. The future will tell. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. charliegirl February 7, 2017 at 10:51 PM #

    I’d feel cheated, especially not knowing when you selected or started the book that it was abridged. I feel like that should only be for classics reworked for children to read (Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, etc.) When my students select an abridged version, it is always difficult finding the quiz for the book because it is often a highly popular book rewritten and abridged by a slew of writers (which I don’t understand how that is possible, but that’s above my pay grade).


    • Sam February 8, 2017 at 6:45 PM #

      I remember reading The Invisible Man as a Great Illustrated Classic (abridged for children version) and completely failing the AR test for it! Granted, this was 1998 on a DOS operating computer so I probably couldn’t have found the abridged quiz, haha. Happy reading!


  6. Lindsay | Bookboodle February 8, 2017 at 1:12 PM #

    Yeah, feel your pain! I remember we were reading Anna Karenina for book club and one of the members bought an unbridged version by mistake. It made for an interesting discussion when she realised quite a lot of the main events were missing!


    • Sam February 8, 2017 at 8:59 PM #

      That’s what I’m afraid of! I didn’t mention the name of the book because I don’t want it to come up and realize I missed something. I enjoyed it so much, too! Happy reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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