Friday, April 20, 2012


Listening to Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, in my car makes my commute fun. I have LOLed on several occasions, and actually gained real insights on others.

The book is great, but that picture with the man-hands really creeps me out.

But I've noticed an annoying trend about audiobooks in general, and Fey's book in particular.

An audiobook will change the text whenever the author references the book itself. For example, a sentence like, "As you read this book...", will be changed to, "As you listen to this audiobook..."

Okay, in that context, it might not be appropriate to talk about reading an audiobook, since technically you're not doing that. (Although an argument could be made that an out-loud reading of a book should preserve the text exactly as is, the same way that translators render statements made by other people exactly as they say them. For example, a translator doesn't say, "He says he is hungry." The translator says, "I am hungry" because that's what the president of Gibberland said.)

But sometimes the audiobook people go overboard. I assume that they have a blanket rule to change every reference of "this book" to "this audiobook." And they follow this rule slavishly, even when it doesn't make sense.

For example: In Fey's book, she makes a reference to her book and says, "When I wrote this audiobook..."


She didn't write an audiobook. She wrote a book, and is now reading it for her readers who are too lazy and/or incapacitated (like in a car, like me) to read it themselves.

Please, audiobook producers: stop treating your audiobook as a literary work. It's not it's own art form. The best audiobooks don't draw attention to the fact that I'm listening to an audiobook, they just let me enjoy a good book. In my car. During my commute.

No comments: