Sunday, January 02, 2005

Audio Books

Jim Winter just posted a story over on his blog about his most recent experience with an audio book of Stephen King's Everything's Eventual that illustrates what I see as a problem with how short story collections and anthologies are distributed in audio form. The "book" was an abridgement that contained only five of the 14 stories in the print version. The marketing department for the book's publisher (I imagine) chose the stories to be included and chose them (I'll bet) on the basis that the stories fit into the genre King is most noted for, not necessarily the best stories. I can understand this. They want to get the stories out there that will sell the most copies for a price that won't have the customers fainting dead away. (Makes it hard for the other customers to get around, stepping over all those bodies.) Some of those unabridged editions can set you back significant money.

While Jim said he enjoyed three of the five stories and thought that his money was well spent, he missed what I consider some of the best stories in the volume (as well as a couple of stinkers.)

What I would like to see more of is the entire collection or anthology put out in multiple volumes of four or five stories each. I will admit that I have seen this from some publishers, though not in brick-and-mortar stores. I believe King's collection, Gray Matter, was published on audio in three volumes, but I saw this (and purchased one of the volumes) on
Audible. (I tried to get over there to check it out and research other anthologies, but they were down for maintenance.) I don't ever remember seeing this sort of thing in Barnes & Noble or Borders.

Jim also mentioned a good market for audio books: pizza delivery drivers. I'll bet most of those guys these days have MP3 players. We could set up electronic kiosks in every pizza joint in the country where the drivers could download new stories to their players between every run. We'd be rolling in dough!

I'll crawl back under my rock and be quiet now.