Audiobook Week: Special Productions

07 Jun

Audiobook Week 2011Today’s audiobook week topic is special productions of audiobooks:  Those with special effects, those with multiple narrators, full dramatizations, and so on.  Are these distractions from the story or helpful to the experience?

I’ve never listened to a multiple narrator production where it was a problem for me.  On the other hand, when a book switches point of view, I find it very useful to have an easy audio cue– not just when the change happens, but if I stop and pick it up again later, so I have a clue who is speaking.

I think the multiple narrators are part of the appeal of the audiobook version of The Help, and are part of why Thirteen Reasons Why works so well as an audiobook.

I haven’t run into many audiobooks that use special effects.  I think some of the early books I listened to used them, and I vaguely remember being annoyed.  The only book where effects have made an impression recently is Feed by M.T. Anderson.  I really think they were used well there, when they were used in the bits showing the craziness of a Feed (Internet connection) directly into the brain.

What I have had some issues with is the use of music.  Luckily, this isn’t common either.  If it’s at the beginning and end of a chapter or other division within a book, then I usually ignore it.  However, one book I listened to had it randomly scattered, probably at what would have been the CD breaks (sometimes mid-conversation!).  The thing is, I was listening to a version from that did not have breaks at those points!

How about you?  How do these special productions affect your listening?


Posted by on June 7, 2011 in books


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2 responses to “Audiobook Week: Special Productions

  1. Crystal F

    June 8, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I’m not as big on special effects – I often listen in the car and sirens, crashes and the like can be scary and distracting if I wasn’t expecting it.

    I do like multiple narrators where they are warranted. The one that stands out to me was The Time Traveler’s Wife – since it’s written from the two points of view, this worked great. It also worked well for The Swan Thieves, since it was multiple time periods and characters. I think that is the only two I have heard from multiple voices.

    Most narrators do a great job distinguishing voices so books written mainly from one point of view do great with one narrator (the Stephanie Plum books, the In Death books, and the Sookie Stackhouse books are examples that have been great to me).

    I appreciate the music breaks on CDs because I won’t pay attention and the CD will go right back to the first track when it’s done with the last and I’ll be confused, so the music helps me know when to change discs. Now randomly in an Audible book would be strange – I thankfully haven’t come across that.

    Great question – I’m interested to see other answers!

  2. Leslie

    June 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I never noticed sound effects as I listened… so I guess the books I chose didn’t have any. Not sure if I’d like them, I guess it would depend on the story. The only time I’ve noticed music is at the beginning or end of the book.

    I do like the use of multiple narrators. Makes it easier to tell the characters apart rather than having a single narrator do all the voices.


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