Audiobook Week Discussion: So You Want to Review Audiobooks

Audiobook Week is an annual event hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books. If you love audiobooks or want some audio recommendations be sure to follow all the Audiobook Week discussion posts this week!

Today’s topic is reviewing audiobooks. Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

Since this is only my second year listening and reviewing audiobooks, there are many more experienced bloggers better equipped to address this topic. But, there are some things I look for in audiobook reviews to help me make a decision whether to listen or not, and I strive to hit these points in my reviews as well.  I’ve listened to about 50 audiobooks so far and am getting a feel for what works for me with audiobooks and with that experience I’m starting to get a little more comfortable with my reviews. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s opinion on this topic and hopefully will come out of it a better reviewer.

Just a few things I look for in audiobook reviews:

1. The Basics – Name of the title, author, and narrator, and running time. A short summary about the book is helpful too. I try to write my own book summary and keep the spoilers to a minimum.

2. The Narrator – This is honestly what I want to read about most in audiobook reviews. Is the audiobook multi-voiced or does it have a single narrator, does the narrator use different voices for each character, and is the voice appropriate to the character and style of the book? How is the narrator’s reading pace, are there any awkward pauses or anything else that stands out with the narration?  Sometimes I find there’s not much to comment on regarding the narration, so even a short sentence or two is fine.

3. Book vs. Audio – Why seek out this book in audio format – what special quality can you get from the audio vs. the book? Did this audiobook make you want to go out of your way to keep listening? (Do more housework/gardening/drive the long way home) Or was the audiobook a struggle to get through? Even though I love audiobooks, sometimes the audiobook doesn’t do the book any favors, so you may suggest picking up the book instead.

4. Personality – Like reviewing a book, share your experience with the audiobook and what worked and didn’t work for you personally in your own style.

5. Sound Quality & Special Effects – Are there any special effects or music in the audiobook – did they enhance or detract from the book? Any technical issues stand out for you?

What do you look for in audiobook reviews?

Audiobook week happenings for today at The Reading Date:

Audiobook review: Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Audiobook Giveaway of two best selling thrillers: Stolen Prey and The Storm. Giveaway ends June 28th.

Ornament

21 thoughts on “Audiobook Week Discussion: So You Want to Review Audiobooks

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    The narrator is definitely a must since they make or break the book on audio.

  2. Candice says:

    I love audiobooks, but they definitely have to be a good fit for me in order to enjoy them. I’ve come across a couple that have had really bad narrators, but I loved the book.

  3. theoddiophile says:

    I like #4. I’m always amazed at how widely opinions differ on whether a narration works or not. It seems like we can listen to the same audiobook but hear totally different things which is just how it goes but knowing what a reviewer’s listening personality and preferences are and how they relate to a specific narration helps me so much when I’m making a decision on whether to pick up an audiobook.

    1. Lucy says:

      I totally agree with you. Knowing a reviewers preferences definitely helps gives context to a review.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    For me, I like to know about the way a story is told, too, particularly in terms of multiple POVs and flashbacks. I am absolutely terrible at following an audiobook that jumps from the present to the past and back again.

    I’ve been on an audiobook break these last few weeks and I need to get back into it. Look forward to seeing some of the recommendations from Audiobook Week!!

    1. Lucy says:

      Yes, Elizabeth- time jumps are so tricky with audiobooks! Audiobooks may not be the best choice for complicated storytelling.
      Hope you pick out some good audiobooks to listen to soon!

  5. fishgirl182 says:

    these are all good points. the main reason for an audiobook is the narrator so i definitely want to hear about that. sometimes a narrator totally kills it for me but sometimes they make it. and yes, sound effects and music! i do remember one audiobook that had terrible musical transitions that i just hated.

    1. Lucy says:

      You’re right, Thuy- sometimes the musical transitions are so cheesy. It’s a fine line!

  6. Kristin T. says:

    You bring up a lot of good points. While I’ve been listening to audio books for about a year and a half, I still struggle with my audio reviews. I like the idea of including the length of the audio, and maybe some thoughts on the narrator.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your helpful suggestions.
    Kristin @ Always With a Book

  7. It seems that a LOT of people like to know running time, but I’m still conflicted on this, because I don’t do page numbers, either…

    1. Lucy says:

      I like to know running time for reference because I don’t usually listen to very long audiobooks. But, since you don’t list page numbers it probably doesn’t make sense to add running time. And the information is available if readers are curious 🙂

  8. Jeff says:

    Good job! I like all of the things you mention. I also like running time so I know how long I’ll have to commit to a particular audiobook; I know my attention span. If it is roughly 15 hours or less, that’s fine. If it is 25 hours, it ain’t going to happen. Another basic in my view is to list the publisher of the audiobook (often not the same as the print publisher). The audiobook publishers are the foundation of this industry. Many provide review copies for bloggers and provide giveaways.

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks for your comments, Jeff! I’m with you about staying clear of 25 hour audiobooks. And I agree that the publisher info is essential, and I’m thinking of adding print publisher info in addition to the audio publisher in my reviews.

  9. This is a useful article is from AudioFile Magazine that offers “words” to describe how narration sounds.
    http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/features/fea1007.html#_lex008

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks, Jeff – that’s an awesome resource for all of us new to reviewing audiobooks 🙂

  10. Kristilyn says:

    I like your point about book vs. audio … some books are just BETTER in audio — and it’s great to let readers know why. I definitely have to start including a running time for my audiobook reviews!

  11. Laurie C says:

    I don’t think much about the running time, and only include it on the reviews that I’m doing because I received a review copy and the publisher has asked for that information to be included, along with ISBN, pub date etc., but it makes sense to start including it more often. Getting lots of ideas this week!

  12. Xe Sands says:

    Really liking what you’ve got here – especially 3 and 4, which I don’t think I’d thought of quite that way. Thank you – good food for thought when reading reviews.

  13. Excellent points. I feel ya too. I sometimes don’t have too much to say about narrators I love. When they rock they rock. Great post. BTW, LOVE your header.

  14. That is a great list. Sometimes I don’t know what to say about the audio, but I try to include everything I think is relevant.

  15. jmchshannon says:

    Great list of audiobook review must-haves! Reading pace is an interesting one since so many audiobook players allow a listener to adjust the speed of the narration in case the pace is slower than one might want. (I am a HUGE fan of Audible’s 1.25x speed!) I agree though that sometimes, all it takes is a sentence or two – especially when the narrator is perfect.

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