Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Abridged v. Unabridged

a-bridged v. un-a-bridged

Since I've been book blogging, I've received quite a few questions that revolve around the topic of abridged books.

  • What are abridged books? 
  • Are they better than unabridged? 
  • Should I buy abridged?
  • Should I listen to abridged audiobooks?

To define it simply:


Any book that has been shortened. Any book that has omitted material but retains the basic content. The gist of the book is still intact.


Not abridged. The book is in it's complete entirety, just as the author wrote it. Stealing from the dictionary... unabridged books are in their, "entire, complete, uncut, uncondensed" formats.


Should you buy abridged books and audiobooks? Yikes! I would say "NO!" but, it really is a personal decision. For me, why buy a book if you don't want to read all of it? It's like school all over again. We run out and buy the movie instead of reading the book; or, buying cliff-notes and study guides instead of reading the books. 

If we need to read the condensed versions, we need to stop and evaluate if we need to read the books at all. I buy books because I want to read/listen to them cover-to-cover. I would feel so cheated and guilty if I bought a shortened version. What a slap in the face to the author. "I liked the important parts of your book... just not the rest of it!"

If I see a book or audiobook that is abridged, I skip over it. The only good thing about abridged books are they're cheaper.

Abridged books are always less money; however, they're also less in content and greatness.


I've read some great articles about abridged classics for kids, so I wanted to touch on that quickly. Sometimes I feel like it's great to give a lighter version of a classic to kids. Why shouldn't kids be introduced to the classics? However, one argument against this shifted my opinion. If the material of the classic book is not appropriate for young kids, why not wait until they're a little older?

It doesn't make sense to push Classic Literature on kids when they are not able to understand and appreciate the material. Wait until the kids are older! They'll like the books better... and the books will stay in their original format.

To conclude, I say NO to abridged books. What do you say?


  1. Ooh - I agree 100%. I'll take the whole book, thanks!

  2. Nope. I insist on reading (or listening to) what the author wrote. What the book was intended to be. I think some people might just want to know the story and be able to read more books -- and that's OK, but not me. Good question.

  3. Hey - just wanted to let you know I linked this post in my "Friday Five" this week over at Kate's Library!

  4. absolutely not...no abridged...I feel weird about messing with the author's original work...especially with the classics bc you know the abridgers didn't ask them how they felt about it :/

  5. I'm all for the full version of a book or audio book. I listed to one abridged audio book once because I couldn't get ahold of the full version and while the gist of the book was there I still got the sense something was missing. Since then I haven't touched an abridged audio. If I can't get eh full version then I just find something else to listen to in my car.

  6. I think I am going to use this for my Friday Five this week :o)


Thank you for taking the time to leave this post a comment! Ask any questions or share your love of books. I'd be happy to reply back to any/all questions!